Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Costa Rica 13

We actually got up earlier the next morning than we had planned. We had no choice. Our room was located right next to the kitchen and Ms. German Efficiency Owner was in there rattling those pots and pans at 6:00am! She was making enough noise to raise the dead. I found it extremely rude but it did not seem to bother B or L that much. As L stuck his head into the kitchen to order us coffee, B and I took our turns with our morning showers.

As we were to discover in most Costa Rican showers, there is no central hot water. It comes from one of those hot water heater shower heads. This is a shower head that is wired to the electricity and the water is instantly heated as it passes through. Great in theory but a pain in the neck in reality. Mostly because they never work properly. They either don’t heat the water enough or scald you. They do have a little do hickey thing on them to adjust the water temperature. Problem with that is, what wants to risk electrocution by touching the thing while you are standing there soaking wet? You can bet as many doughnuts as you can eat on the fact that 9 out 10 of them are not going to be wired properly and certainly not grounded. No thanks. I would not touch one for anything. Well, I actually did touch one about three years ago in Mexico, not knowing any better. I was immediately rewarded with a shock that left my arm numb for what seemed like hours. Lesson learned.

All cleaned up, we consumed the very good coffee that had been made special for us and headed out to breakfast. Breakfast was a strange little affair. I had one of the specials, which included scrambled eggs, bacon, crispy French fries and a delicious homemade bread that was pre-smeared with a homemade pink jelly that was both sweet and hot at the same time. Wish they had sold that stuff. From there we picked up our motor scooters for the day. We had only rented two. L was going to double up with me, thus saving money for later use. Back to the grocery store where we loaded up with stuff for lunch and then back to the hotel to get our gear.

Our first stop for the day was going to be the beach at Punta Uva. This was located 4 miles down the road. At first, the road out of town was in ok condition but it quickly deteriorated into a mess. Potholes everywhere and stretches where the pavement had just eroded away, leaving lots of loose gravel and stones. Fun to negotiate on a little motor scooter! On the way we passed many smaller beaches that looked quite charming.
We did not stop though. These were either no swimming beaches because of the rip tides or they were surfing beaches. Some of the biggest waves on the Caribbean coast are here. The best waves are from December to March and this was July. However, there is a mini season of waves in June and July and we were treated to some rather large looking waves coming in. And there were plenty of surfers around trying to catch them. But on we passed, heading to our own destination of Punta Uva.

I must say, this beach is one of the finest I have ever seen. It even beats out our own Playa Norte in my opinion. If for no other reason than the sheer beauty of it. A wide expanse of white sand stretching along as far as you can see and the jungle coming right up to the sand with no development at all.
The water was semi clear and warm and got deep enough fast enough to allow for swimming. Of course, I never venture very far into the water anyway. Just enough to do a quick duck down and get wet and cool off. Then I run for the safety of shore. You never know what horrors may be awaiting you in the water, and besides, fish poop in it and I never have been fond of that fact.
B and L spent quite a bit of time in the water and I do envy them that. I wish I could get rid of my foolish phobia about the water and getting eaten alive by something. I have tried to conquer this fear many times but have not succeeded. Usually my over active imagination kicks in and I head back to shore in a heart thumping panic, swearing never to go in the water again! (yes, I know I live on an island and it makes no sense!) The only complaint I had about this beach was the sand.

I have gotten used to the sand here on the island. It is often referred to as being air-conditioned. Even on the hottest of hot days in the summer, this sand is always cool and you can always walk on it barefoot. Not so this beach. I had taken my flip flops off and was carrying them as we set foot on the beach to find a suitable spot for our stuff. It only took about six steps before I yelped in pain and put them back on. That sand was hot! It was like walking down a black tar road barefoot in the middle of summer. I really felt like I had burned the bottoms of my feet. And it didn’t stop there.
We had each packed a beach wrap to use at the beaches we visited on this trip. Very lightweight and takes up no space in the backpack. The operative word this day was lightweight. It did very little to insulate the heat coming off the sand. It was almost as hot lying on that sand as it was walking on it. So I was forced to go into the water whether I had planned on it or not. (which I had not!) If for no other reason, then to sooth my burning feet!

Not far from where we had located ourselves, the beach sort of ended in a rocky looking hill that stretched for aways out into the sea. This formed a kind of natural breakwater, which was why the swimming was so good here. This outcropping went on for quite some distance and was covered with jungle and dense looking vegetation. When L had last been here, he had had a “free day”, which means the people in his group are free to pursue their own independent activities and, more importantly, he gets a break from them too! This is how he had discovered this beach while bicycling the road which passes by. He had also discovered something else on this beach.

Being the adventurous type that he is, and being blessed with the energy of youth, he had gone exploring. He cheerfully announced to us that he was going to take us on our first jungle walk! He had discovered a path that led up this outcropping hill and wound its’ way through this jungle covering it, eventually coming out at the end where the waves crashed onto, around and over it. And he had been saving this piece of information as a surprise for us. Being the adventurous types that we are (as long as it is not too strenuous, tiring or involves a lot of effort), we readily agreed to let him lead us along this trail.

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