Hi, me again, it’s been a while since I’ve contributed. As loquacious as I am, this is a long one. Buckle in.
Two weeks into this expedition and things are going very well. Nosara was exactly what we needed and Arenal was spectacular. Manuel Antonio was a bit anti-climactic following all we experienced to this point. The national park was nice and we did see some unique wildlife - the capuchins, sloths and squirrel monkeys were all very cool - but the moment you step out of the reserve you’re inundated by the something closer to Mexico than Costa Rica. Not exactly the experience we were after.
Jody, the wit, termed it “M’eh-well Antonio”. We will definitely return to Costa Rica, but likely not there…
Overall, things are going very well, everyone is learning to relax and just go with whatever experience we’re having at the time.
We’ve had a few big car days in the last week. Jody and I love road trips - there is so much freedom and flexibility you get from having your own set of wheels. Over 20 years we have got our approach down. We’re also instilling this in the girls who are pretty good at being in the car for an extended period of time (5.5 hours being the outer limit before someone loses their mind).
Being from Canada, long road-trips covering massive distances are not a big deal. However, Costa Rica has had us totally reevaluate our notions of distance and travel speed. Dirt roads and impenetrable jungle add to the allure but do absolutely nothing for our ability to judge time in the car. We may have inadvertently discovered peak mind-losing on the first leg of our trip.
I like to think I’m a fairly good driver and Jody is excellent at reading the map/google/waze and swamping to our destinations. However, they’ve got two really great games here in Costa Rica that stymied our approach. The first is called find-the-sign and the other is where’s-the-turn; one following the other in due course. Consistency seems to be an issue here…
Unscrupulous divorce lawyers might consider advertising in the maps rental companies provide along with the car keys. They’d make a killing.
Don’t worry about us though, we’re still good. Once destinations are achieved and nerves duly lubricated, we have reflected on these drives and believe that something might be lost in Costa Rica if all of the roads were paved from the airport to journey’s end. It’s part of what makes Costa Rica unique.
Time is passed in the car with the consistent and regular distribution of water, road snacks, games and music. We’ve listened to a fair amount of latin pop over the past two weeks and some favourite songs are emerging for the girls. Avery and I are creating a playlist of ‘all-the-best-songs’ (a one-sided description) on Costa Rican radio. Siri is a big help at the end of each day.
We’re also listening to Spotify having downloaded a few playlists of our favourite artists/songs. As part of our approach to travel, we love collecting Lonely Planet guidebooks as trophies of all the places we’ve visited - kind of the same way Donald Jr collects elephant tails but way more ethical and far less appalling. I digress. On Spotify I found the Lonely Planet channel which has over 52 playlists based on locations or journey themes. We’re particularly enjoying Your Travel Tunes (link) both on the road and in our room at the end of each day (you may need Spotify to access the link) — it’s well worth the listen. I’ve got The Road (link) by Frank Turner on repeat at the moment as it is it’s emblematic of our journey and, perhaps, my chronic wanderlust.
Lastly, I wanted to share a bit of our exposure to Costa Rican culture. Ticos are quite proud of their nation. Hard-working and friendly, everyone we met wanted to talk about their country and our experiences here. They’ve also introduced us to the notion of Pura Vida (Pure Life). It is similar to the Hawaiian idea of Aloha which is more a way of life than a greeting.
Not scared to strike up a conversation, I learned about Pura Vida and expanded our spanglish vocabulary at the same time.
In most countries where espanol is spoken, the response to gracias is ‘de nada’ (meaning not at all or no need). Ticos consider this almost dismissive or rude, so instead they say con mucho gusto which means ‘with pleasure’ - in their mind an entirely more respectful way of responding.
For us, that entirely sums up our time in Costa Rica - con much gusto!
We're the Danchuks - follow our explorations and family adventures in a wide world (2018).