new year in the osa
Tonight, at 11:59, despite my flu-like symptoms over the past two days, I will be taking off in a plane bound for San Jose, Costa Rica. Then we will drive a beautiful, banana-tree flooded drive through the mountains and to the coast, to the Osa Peninsula where we will spend three weeks in an open-air hut in the middle of the jungle, on the beach, an hour away from the nearest town.
Best New Year’s ever.
On account of my flu-ish-ness and needing to pack, still, and clean and a bunch of other to-do-list items that I don’t want to think about, I’m just going to reminisce about Costa Rica, so you’ll know what I’ll be doing while I’m gone. Hopefully, I’ll be able to update my blog now and then, otherwise I’ll be back at the end of January and will miss you!
All right, on with the memories:
Arriving after the horribly crammed flight and feeling the morning breeze sweeping in from the mountains; it was like being on the wings of an enormous scarlet macaw.
Flying on the single-engine charter plane down to Puerto Jiminez; the plane seeming to skim the water, engines off, and then over the fence and on the ground in an instant, slowing next to the graveyard; children next to their huts, waving at us.
Zooming across the water in a speedboat, not noticing how the sun was beating so hard onto me that I would have hideous sunburn for the rest of my stay.
Attending a wedding on a private island; large domestic pigs threatened to interrupt it and had to be chased off while the guests spoke loud Spanish throughout the entire ceremony.
Driving back to town after the wedding with the pastor, who may or may not have ever driven a car before in his life. He wildly dodged back and forth on the road, barely missing bikers and dogs and other cars. By the time we reached his house, he had overheated the engine, and the car was useless.
Hitchhiking from underneath the enormous mango tree, where a spiked iguana kept creeping around in the branches above us.
Getting a ride, after about an hour, from Farmer Bob, a rich American cowboy land-owner who lived near Matapalo, where we needed to go. He brought us past his farm, all the way to Martina’s bar, the only public location in Matapalo.
Martina’s bar has no walls, just sprawling couches and dining tables. I had a glass of wine while Boyfriend caught up with the bartenders. It was dark by this point, and I was sunburnt and tipsy, trying to pay attention to Farmer Bob talk about his wife, a Columbian beauty. When he spoke of her, his eyes stopped seeing me.
Finally, we were home, to the little blue house that I was introduced to in the light of our headlamps. Upstairs and under the mosquito netting into our bed, where his arms finally found me. How long had it been since I had seen him? Two months? I devoured his body and he held me tightly; and there was only me and him and the sound of the guitar-bug (yes, I named it thus) strumming through the waving leaves.
Over the next weeks we ran around rock outcroppings on the beach, trying to beat the tide, which relentlessly chased after us, threatening to drown our backpacks.
We swam out into the wilds of the water, laughing as waves crashed onto our heads, or crashed us to the beach, stones whispering against each other. Once, I got too close to a whirlpool, close enough to feel real fear, too tired to swim out of it any longer, but Boyfriend yelled at me to swim sideways instead of straight for the shore and I arrived, trembling and dripping on the flat sand.
We stood in the shade on the beach, looking out over the powerful, the muscular ocean, as it weaved its way around giant boulders and onto the shore. ”Thank you for bringing me here,” I said to him, my lips pressed against his chest. ”Thank you for coming,” he said huskily, his voice combining with the scraping of enormous leaves.
Aside from swimming, what we do is lounge in our hammocks and smear aloe plants all over ourselves instead of sunscreen. It is slimy and tastes disgusting, but works like a charm. My skin has never been more healthy.
We cook, we eat pineapple for breakfast, we sit in total darkness, watching the stars peek out through the trees, listening to the sounds of the jungle. We awake to the sound of howler monkeys. Have you ever heard one? It sounds like an enormous Jungle Monster that is most definitely going to eat you up. But you get used to them, and you miss them once you are gone.
The monkeys swing right through the trees outside our hut, and I sit in the miniature pool out front, next to the outdoor shower, and the tree with the pink and white flowers is rustled by the wind, sending a fluttering of petals that smell like sugar and incense down through the air and I think this might be exactly what heaven is like.