Sunday, July 3, 2011

The muddy road.


I'm thinking it makes sense to tell my Costa Rica stories in chronological order...so here goes!

We were so excited to finally get to Costa Rica after months of planning - going in June we knew we would be there in the rainy season. We couldn't wait to get our first glimpses of the country from the air to see the green hills and volcanoes and blue coastline! Our plane descended through clouds, clouds, clouds...and we landed in the pouring rain. Pouring. The airport is not quite as "modern" as ones in the States, so even the big planes empty onto the tarmac and you walk around the building to go through customs - basically a big hangar that is open on either end. We slogged through ankle-deep water (with each of us toting our carry-on suitcases), went through customs, and finally found our driver to take us on the 1.5 hour drive to get to our resort.

Our kids quickly lost patience with the rain, because you couldn't see much along the drive. They nodded off and Kirk and I tried our best to see bits of the countryside - the city Liberia, cattle farms, hills in the distance, and once or twice thinking that maybe we saw a volcano or two. We hit the town La Cruz and ended up on a dirt road - one we had read about as being long, bumpy, and probably 45 minutes worth of our ultimate drive time.

It was at this point that we had a new perspective on the landscape, realizing we hadn't seen anything yet. We were looking out onto misty mountainsides and deep valleys that were absolutely breathtaking.

About 20 minutes into this part of the drive we came to a stop. There were a few cars parked ahead of us, with their occupants out in the rain looking over a ridge. Women and children were walking past us in the opposite direction, many wearing outfits that most definitely were not meant to be worn in the mud (white pants and heels? yeah, not so much). Our driver got out to see what was going on, and as we craned our necks we realized there was a bus that had gotten stuck in the mud further down on the steep hill. It was turned just enough that cars could not get past. Just our luck, right? We are 20 minutes away from our final destination and while we are not exactly stuck, we might as well be!

Kirk made a comment at this point, something to the effect that wouldn't it be great for our resort to send someone else to pick us up on the other side of the bus? I agreed but privately was glad that at least the kids were being quiet and were old enough to handle waiting in a parked car for awhile.

No sooner had Kirk made the comment, however, when from a distance we saw a young, blond guy walking up the hill - Kirk leaned over and said, "Oh, that guy just looks American. I bet he's coming for us,". Sure enough, he soon tapped on our window and leaning in said, "Hi, I'm Mike and if you're willing to get out and walk just a little way, we have a truck waiting on the other end of the bus." He even had 5 umbrellas in his hand. Saved!

We hauled out of our van, grabbed our luggage (so smart of us to pack lightly, thank you very much), and proceeded to navigate our way down the wet hillside. Grace stepped onto a piece of rusty barbed wire (oh-my-goodness-when-was-her-last-tetanus-shot? was running through my mind at this point) but onwards we slogged, out into the muddy road and finally down to the waiting truck. Also smart of us to be wearing our all-terrain wet/dry sandals rather than flip flops!

It took another 20 minutes or so before we were finally pulling into our resort, Recreo. Steep roads (but gravel, not mud!), pretty flowers, and a nice dry villa awaited us. We knew we were signing on for some adventure in planning a trip to Costa Rica - we chalked up our muddy, rainy roadside rescue as just one of the unexpected adventures that we would experience!

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