Monday, June 3, 2013

Perfect Puppy Patty

by Scott

We met Patty as we walked down the beach in Esterillos Oeste, Costa Rica. She was super sweet and followed us everywhere for the next few days. She'd try to come in the truck with us when we went to bed. She'd sleep under the truck so that she could greet us first thing in the morning. We'd go for a run on the beach, and she'd follow, lead, go off on a tangent, and return for more. She went nutty when we came across a family of white-faced monkeys. Her "barking" sounded more like a plea for the monkeys to come down and play. When I paddled out to surf, she'd try to swim after me. While I was in the water, she'd play soccer with the local boys--crouching low to defend her goal and using her nose to header the ball back. She was clearly someone's pet. She was healthy, spayed, and had a collar. What was the deal?

Patty would close her eyes and go into a trance when I rubbed her throat.

Well, the deal was that Patty's owner had recently gone to jail. He might even get deported. Patty was clearly looking for a new pack, and thought she found one with us. We worried about leaving her, but Brett (see previous post) assured us that there would be a waiting list to adopt her if her owner didn't return. Still, it was hard. When we left, Patty followed us for 2 pot-holed miles out to the highway. When I opened the door to give her a last pat on the head, she jumped up on my lap. She soooo wanted to be our dog. And despite Heather's allergies, our tight living quarters, increased border crossing hassles, and general aversion to responsibility of any kind, we were seriously talking about how we could make it work.

Finally, on the verge of tears, I put her back down, waited for traffic to clear, and gunned it down the highway. I knew she'd follow for a bit, but I thought she'd give up quickly. She didn't. As she faded from view in the mirror, she was sprinting down the middle of the highway. It was one of those images I'll never forget. It's amazing the bond we formed in such a short time.

Bad picture, but look how happy she was to finally make it inside the truck.

I was shook up for the rest of the day, kicking myself for not taking her back to Brett's and tying her up until we were gone. What if she'd been hit by a car? We immediately emailed Brett to ask if he would let us know as soon as she made it back. The following day, we were relieved to hear that she was safe and sound. We hope her owner gets deported so that she can upgrade owners--hopefully in the same town so we can see her when we return. However, if she's still homeless, we just might have to succumb to fate.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Costa Rica

Contrary to what we expected, the Costa Rican border was not especially easy. The lack of organization and haphazard placement of buildings made for our longest border crossing yet. Come on Costa Rica, get your act together!

As we worked our way south, through the upper half of Costa Rica, the verdant, green landscape took hold.  Everything is so green and, for lack of a better word, pretty. Our first stop was a random, mountain town called Zarcero. We went there to enjoy some cooler weather and the hilarious hedge art. The heat and humidity of the past month had really taken it out of us. As we climbed to about 7000 feet, the cool air blew through the windows, and I exclaimed, "My brain is back!" Heat and humidity has a tendency to make us dazed, lazy, and irritable.

My brain has returned!  And I'm wearing pants - yeehaw.

Zarcero hedge art

Costa Rica has a much higher standard of living than the previous 4 Central American countries we drove through. The animals are healthy, most people have sturdy homes, and the transportation infrastructure is good in comparison (lots of street signs!). The cost of food and drink is easily double what we experienced in Nicaragua, sometimes even surpassing what it would cost in the USA. But, the pineapples are plentiful, insanely delicious, and cheap (less than a buck for a big 'un). The higher cost of food/drink is mitigated by the fact that we feel safe camping (for free) on any beach or public street.

In Costa Rica, you don't even need 2 trees for your hammock 

We'd anticipated the rainy season to start in May. On the evening of May 8th, I said, "so where is all this rain we're supposed to see?"  Sure enough, the next day it poured.. and the next, and the next. We are officially in the rainy season, but it's all good. Usually, there are a few hours of the day that are dry, and likely even sunny. The rain keeps the temperatures down to a reasonable, sleepable level. We might like it better than the dry season!

We made a bee line for the famous surf spot known as Pavones, near the Panamanian border. Friends had raved about it. Unfortunately, the waves weren't great, but it is a gorgeous spot, with spider monkeys and a resident flock of 10 Scarlett Macaws. We surfed, we sweated, and we met some cool people. Oh, also it was my birthday, so we ate a huge pizza.

Sweaty and dirty, but still blissfully happy to eat a delicious birthday pizza in Pavones!

Since the swell wasn't cooperating in Pavones, we headed north to Domincal. Jamie and Kelly from Tranquilo Adventures had just arrived in Pavones, and told us the surfing had been good up there. Unfortunately, we mostly struck out there too, other than one so-so day on the SUP's.

This picture makes it look much better than it was.

We explored a couple more beaches before ending up at Esterillos Oeste. Thanks to the conversation starter that is El Tigre (our truck), we met Brett, from "Brett's Board Rentals and Surf Lessons". He invited us to his hostel for dinner one night, and we ended up parked outside his place for 5 nights and almost adopting a dog (see next post)!

Group dinner in Esterillos with new friends Brett, Scott, Troy, Rich, and Jim (not pictured). The power went out while we were cooking dinner so we ate by candlelight. Classy and oh so romantic.