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Harvey Wallbanger

Costa Rican Vacation

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Life's been hectic this past year or so, and there have been a number of events that I planned to make threads about but never found the time. Probably for the best, since they just would have been lost in the crash anyway… so I now present to you the hopefully-better-late-than-never Costa Rican Vacation.



My friend C called me up and said she needed someone to come to Costa Rica with her for a week. The airfare would be paid for, in exchange for escorting twenty fifteen year olds from the airport in Texas to a school program in Costa Rica. As you can imagine, this was basically a nightmare; but when I finally arrived and dropped off the kids and met up with C, it was all worth it. We had seven days with no itinerary, so we pretty much just hitched rides and explored.





The first night, we headed south, and arrived in Playa Carillo just as it was getting dark. We were both exhausted, so we sat on the beach, split a six pack of Imperial, then went to bed.





It turns out, Costa Rica is really nice. This was literally the view from my door when I woke up in the morning.




It was also really, really hot.











We moved a little further up the road the next day, and found a cheap room overlooking another beach.





This one was basically deserted... in two full days, I think we saw four other people there.













Weird tracks on the beach. My guess is these were made by dogs in the process of evolving into whales or something.




Speaking of dogs, this one lived at the place we were staying, and instantly decided we were best friends. He followed us everywhere for the duration of our stay, including trying to sleep in our bungalow at night. He was rad.




The new place also had a hot tub and pool, which were awesome at night when we were too drunk to go in the ocean.





Pura Vida means "pure life", but is generally used like we would say "cool" or "awesome" or "word" or whatever. The average (young) costa rican will use this expression approximately thirty to forty times a minute, either as a reply to a question, a statement, or for no reason at all if no one else has said anything for a few seconds. It's also apparently what they call soap.

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How was the food, you ask?






Almost every meal I ate was amazing. A plate like this ran about 3 bucks.





These were my in-between-incredible-meals jam. Anyone know where to get salt and lime peanuts in the US? They're fucking great.




The coffee was also excellent down there...





...especially when filled with rum.





These were also not bad in a pinch, though I was disappointed to learn that they were not an acceptable substitute for nursing a baby properly.





For the most part, though, this is what we drank.










We had heard about a pretty amazing "animal sanctuary" near where we were staying, so we decided to check it out. It turned out to basically be a small farm with some interesting animals, and the owners were super cool. They had a small pig who was running around and acting just like a dog, which was awesome, and some crazy animals I'd never heard of. With the exception of the mean looking jungle cat, who I imagine would definitely have killed me if given any opportunity whatsoever, most of these guys seemed to have an open door policy on their cages and were just sort of wandering around.











This policy even applied to the FUCKING ANTEATER!!!












Note the pig, who was friends with the anteater. The woman there actually described the two as friends. At this point, I decided I was moving to Costa Rica to become the third musketeer to this group, where we would hang out and drink beer and paint and drive around in jeeps and hit on girls. It was eventually pointed out that this was not a very practical plan, and that my wife would probably murder me if I didn't come home eventually, so I came up with a backup plan: I would hold the anteater.






This rated approximately a two hundred thousand on the awesome scale. The only reasonable way to follow up an amazing event like this is to drink a dozen beers and try to catch lizards and act like a jackass in the pool all night until someone yelled at us in Spanish. So that’s what we did.

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Once we grew tired of private beaches and playing with anteaters, we decided to move inland and check out a volcano. We hired a van to make the four hour drive along mostly winding dirt mountain roads. The last thing I expected to see in an area like this was a traffic jam, but sure enough, we came to a dead stop somewhere in the middle of a mountain pass. Our driver didn't speak any english, and my spanish is pretty weak, but I eventually determined that we weren't going anywhere for a while when he turned off the car, and the people around us did the same and even began pulling out blankets, folding chairs, etc., and posting up on the roadside. I got out and wandered toward the source of the traffic. The only vehicles moving were the occasional motorcycle, which would zip past the line of stopped cars with no problem. I rounded a sharp curve in the road, and quickly figured out what the holdup was:






When you have a traffic accident in Costa Rica, it is illegal to move either vehicle at all before the cops arrive-- if either driver does, they are automatically assumed to be at fault. And when it happens on a remote mountain pass, it can take three or four hours for a cop to get there, which means everyone who can't fit past the accident is fucked. Oddly enough, nobody in Costa Rica seemed to give a shit about this at all, and everyone just hangs out and bides their time. I did the same by wandering around and taking pictures of the views from our surprisingly scenic stopping point. I guess it wasn't actually all that surprising, since literally everything everywhere was awesome.








See the house in the center of frame? I would totally live there.





Eventually, a cop arrived and took some photos, measurements, etc., and we were on our way.





I saw a lot of animals just hanging out everywhere I went.








This bull was a total dick, and chased me out of his field about a second after I took this picture. I probably shouldn't have ignored the sign...








These guys were just chillin' on the side of the road. I have absolutely no idea what they are, but they were about the size of a cat and walked within a couple of feet of me.























We quickly learned that you are never, ever dry in inland Costa Rica: from about ten AM on, it's so hot and humid that you are instantaneously sweating if you step out of the AC, and any time you get far enough from your raincoat and dry socks, it will inevitably start pouring rain. I was swapping out t-shirts about four times a day, rinsing each in the sink and then hanging it to dry, because I was almost constantly soaked with sweat. This proved especially true when hiking up a loosely defined mountain "trail" at ten o'clock one morning because someone said there was a great viewpoint. This may have been ill advised, but was well worth it. I swung on a vine, Tarzan style, and saw a toucan. There were also a bunch of gnarly lizards. As we neared the top, I spotted this:




While I was taking this picture, we heard a crashing sound in the treetops nearby. It sounded like a branch was falling or something, but then we heard a similar sound a little closer... there were monkeys swinging through the trees towards us! I got really excited for about a second, until I remembered that monkeys are assholes who are known for being super fucking strong and super fucking mean. And they were definitely screeching at us. So we ran. And those fuckers chased us! I was holding my pocketknife in one hand, sprinting through the jungle, and literally preparing to possibly have to fight off a gang of monkeys...







Fortunately, the forest ended abruptly; we suddenly found ourselves running through a field of grass towards this:














These guys were to our right. They were a little startled when we came running out of the woods, but promptly ignored us.




We collapsed under a guava tree, laughing, and had some water. I cracked open a couple of guavas, and we started eating them.




...until I noticed some activity in one of mine...





We rested for a while, took a bunch of volcano pictures, and then opted for a different route down. As we wound our way through the jungle, it instantly went from being 100 degrees and sunny to being about 96 degrees and a torrential fucking downpour. One minute, I was worried about getting a sunburn when I emerged from the shade, and literally fifteen seconds later I was soaked like I had fallen into a pool.




We started running as fast as we could through the undergrowth, but we were running through ferns and tree roots and it got really slippery. We quickly resigned ourselves to the fact that we were already as wet as we could possibly get and slowed our pace, until we heard what sounded like a really, really miserable wildcat of some sort yowling from not as far away as I like to hear that sort of thing.

So we ran a little more.


The jungles of Costa Rica are no joke.

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By the time we got back, it was bright and sunny again, so we drank beer and ate salty lime peanuts while our shoes dried.







Our next destination was the Monteverde (green mountain) rainforest. I wanted to test out some of the features of my new camera, so I shot some foliage and such.














When this got old, we went to a place with these crazy ziplines. You get a harness, then climb up to these platforms built into the treetops. I'm sure that in the US, something like this would be way too safe and over regulated, but in Central America, they just have some teenager clip you in, give you about a minute of instruction in broken English, and push you out of a treehouse. The first one is about ten feet high, and you clip a pulley onto a cable and then sail between all of the branches and leaves to the next tree. By the third platform, you're easily sixty feet above the ground, and traveling up to a quarter mile at a time. After the third, you break out of the canopy into the open air. By the last few (there were a dozen all together) you are about twenty to thirty feet above the tops of the trees, and you can't see the ground through the canopy. It is unbelievable how awesome and terrifying and just like flying this is.






Here I am somewhere between the second and third platform...





They sold these pretty sweet posters at the place with the ziplines.



After a full day of this, we headed back to our hotel and took a nap. I woke up to the sound of a bunch of cows making cow noises, and a very loudly amplified voice speaking very rapidly in Spanish. I looked out the window to discover a cattle auction going on in the lot next to the hotel.






The cows were extremely vocal about their apparent displeasure with being separated, prodded, and paraded in the rain, and the fifty or so Costa Ricans dressed like American cowboys were equally vocal about their apparent enjoyment of the process, so naptime was officially over. I walked down the block to a burrito stand on the side of the road, and was in the process of ordering when I heard someone say "Hey, Harvey!" I turned around to see that J, a very good friend of mine from New York, was sitting in a jeep that he had abruptly stopped in the middle of the road. Now, I knew that J was coincidentally going to be in CR at roughly the same time as me (the first few days of his trip overlapped with the last few of mine), but neither of us had any sort of itinerary and we did not expect to see each other, least of all in a town that consisted of two square blocks and a population of under a thousand. The only logical thing to do at this point was drink a shitload of beer, which we did. I also recommended that J and his lady friend go South the following morning and hold that anteater, which they did.

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We ended our trip in San Juan. It was nice to be back in a city after a week of beaches and jungles. I even saw some hard core graffiti!














I found a pharmacia, and tried to pick out what I thought would be good painkillers for my recently dislocated shoulder. I ended up with retard pills.





Unfortunately, I couldn't take them at this bar.






Instead, I washed them down with one of these. I gave an elderly woman a dollar, and she pulled out a machete, hacked the top off, and stuck a straw in. This was very, very cool.



And then we went home.

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my fear of south america as follows:


1. catch malaria in the first 15 minutes i'm there

2. start feeling a little better, hike into jungle with hot Costa Rican broad

3. get bubbleguts and have to take a dook in the middle of the fucking jungle

4. monkeys see me shitting, decide to start throwing shit AT me

5. covered in shit, crapping my pants, dying from malaria, I run towards the edge of the forest clearing - that's when the jungle cat pounces and tears my throat out


the end.



you have bigger balls than I do jungle man. very nice pics.

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Holy fucking win Batman. Costa Rica looks completely bananas, so fucking jealous of the anteater situation. Intense greens on those pics, that camera served you well to capture the colors.


Also, I believe those lil niggas by the road are called coatis.

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Costa Rica is dope. I went there last year. for a week or so. Went to...


Manuel Antonio






Arenal Volcano












Zip Lines fa show




Gators off a bridge




roads were mad shitty



Pura Vida!

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Intense greens on those pics, that camera served you well to capture the colors.



Canon G9, one of the best purchases I've ever made.


I knew you'd like the anteater story. If you ever make it down there, I'll tell you where to find him.




awesome flicks. did you fuck your friend? :D


Haha, no... this trip occurred six days after returning from my honeymoon. Girl I went on this trip with is like a sister to me.

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It was never high on my list of places to check out, but now that I've been, I would very highly recommend it. Fun as fuck, the people were nice, the girls were gorgeous, and a dollar goes a long way. I'm definitely planning to go back.

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Went 3 times last year. LEGAL PROSTITUTION Tell me you went to del ray.

Also got caught in a rainstorm while doing zipline. Didnt ask how many people died doing it until after. Answer was not 0...

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