Monday, October 6, 2008

Well trip to Costa Rica turned into an adventure and one of the most fun weekends I’ve had since I’ve moved overseas. It was a quick trip- I left Honduras Friday morning and came back on Sunday night. I went there to renew my Honduran tourist visa, and chose to go to Costa Rica because I have friends living there. My good friend Jodi from Texas A&M moved down to Heredia, which is close to San Jose, to teach English to adults. I also have Costa Rican friends living in Heredia and San Jose that I met on a missions trip in January of 2007. Jodi picked me up from the airport on Friday and we took a bus to Heredia. Immediately I felt a huge difference between the Honduran and Costa Rican cultures. In Honduras I never take buses. They are dangerous and totally off limits for us to ride on. The guards, police, and military that are found on every street, guarding stores, the mall, restaurants, etc, are nowhere to be found in Costa Rica. It was incredible how safe I felt. I felt so free climbing onto the bus, and walking throughout the streets. It was a big reality check in how un-safe Honduras is.

Once in Heredia, Jodi and I went to the host family’s house where she is currently living. She gave me a tour of her city and it was just so incredible to walk around like we did. We walked down town and saw the central park, and there we waited for our friends Diego and Isaac who are Costa Ricans that live in San Jose. They are currently going through the YWAM missionary program (Youth With A Mission). We waited awhile, because as you know, Latin time runs a little slower than American time. I couldn’t believe how cold it was there compared to San Pedro, and how rainy it was!!! It rained and rained and rained, and apparently it’s like that all the time. We went to the YWAM base in Heredia and were there most of the night. I was able to see other friends from the 2007 mission’s trip who are now in the missionary program, so it was fun to be there. However the way I introduced myself to everyone was not so fun. Diego was giving me a tour of the base and upstairs they have a really cool prayer room. The stairs are hanging stairs, the kind where there is no wall on either side, just really open planks of wood that lead to the next floor. Remember that I had been in the rain getting on and off the bus, and so my shoes were really wet. As I followed Diego up the stairs right foot went first, then my left. Both my flip flops had fallen off, and I was the next to go. I was flat on my stomach on the stairs and I felt myself rolling off the edge. There was nothing but the floor below me to catch me, but I was determined to stay on. With absolutely no help, and a room full of laughter, I was able to swing my legs to the other side of the stairs to balance myself better as I death-gripped the side of the stairs with my arm. I’m glad to say that I did not fall to the ground, but I have some pretty sweet bruises to show for my great fall.

Jodi and I had decided that on Saturday we wanted to go to the Volcano Poas. It is about an hour and a half to two hours outside of Heredia. There is a bus that goes there but it leaves at 8:30 in the morning, and if you don’t get to the volcano before 10, it is so cloudy that you can’t see it. So, we decided to go in a taxi. Our taxi driver picked us up at 6:30 in the morning and we started on our way. We had been driving for about 40 minutes when Jodi said, “Karen look! The clouds are coming into the car! Cool!” It didn’t take us long to realize that it wasn’t a cloud, but smoke from the hood of our car. The taxi pulled over to the side of the mountain and popped the hood. He then unscrewed the top to something that keeps water in it, and taking of the top created the biggest fountain spray you’ve ever seen. He just stood there and then got soaking wet when the fountain came back down. He was completely soaked. He then told us he needed more water for the car, and went to a little stream on the side of the road and started filling his bucket. He filled it about 3 times before he screwed the top back in and told us that we were good to go. But we really weren’t’ good to go. 15 minutes later down the road we heard POP! POP! And the entire car filled with smoke. The taxi driver got out of the car, saying a few choice words, and popped the hood again. He showed us that a tube was ripped and that we would have to walk the rest of the way. We were still not within walking distance, but it was our only choice. We started hiking up the mountain, laughing because it was just such an adventure, when a passing car came to a stop. They backed up a little bit and then 2 people got out. “Hey! You look American! What are you doing?” When we told the people we were going to the volcano but our taxi broke down, they were more than happy to give is a ride to the volcano…they were on their way too. We found out that they were a couple from Michigan on their honeymoon. It all worked out because when we got to the entrance of the park, they realized that they didn’t have enough cash to get in, since they didn’t take credit cards. We were more than happy to pay for them since they had been so nice to us. They felt bad, but we felt like it was the least we could have done!!

The volcano was awesome. When we got there the clouds rolled back so that we could see it. It’s the kind of volcano in a crater, and its one of the most studied volcanoes because of its pH. As you know, the pH scale goes from 0-14, where 0 is acidic, 7 is neutral, and 14 is basic. The pH of the water in the volcano is 0.5, which is almost pure acid. I’ve included a couple pictures here, but if you go to you can see all of the pictures I took!! It was really really incredible. To get to it you have to hike through the jungle. There is a path paved through it because it’s a huge tourist attraction, so when you walk through it, you feel like you’re walking through Narnia. On our way out of the park, the honeymooners were also leaving. Since we didn’t have our taxi to take us to the next attraction, we were ecstatic when then asked us where we were going to next. We had plans to go to the waterfalls, but if they had been going back to the city, we would have gone. When we told them we were going to the waterfalls they said “No way!!! We are too!!! Come on in, we’ll take you there!!!” They told us they felt guilty for having the teacher and the missionary pay for them to get into the park, so they were more than happy to let us tag along with them. Jodi and I were just as happy. The waterfalls were just as incredible as the volcano. You can’t tell from the pictures, but there are 5 waterfalls stacked on top of each other, and 1st feeds into the 2nd, into the 3rd, etc. The pictures I took are of the last one, and the bottom of the chain. It was really really cool. If you ever go to Costa Rica, I recommend seeing both the volcanoes and the waterfalls. They both just shout the glory of God here on the earth. From the waterfalls we were able to take a bus back to Heredia. We were both exhausted but we had such a good time on our adventure.

That night we went to meet Diego in San Jose and got to see the YWAM base. I learned that they have a school there for people wanting to work with at risk children. You take are trained in working with orphans, kids on the street, abused children, etc. The training is done through classroom teaching, and field work, the majority being done in the field. I’m really interested in this program and am going to be looking more into it, and praying about it for the future. I left on Sunday afternoon, and was very sad to go. It was so good spending time with Jodi and just doing something different. When I got back to Honduras, they stamped 90 days, the maximum you can stay, in my passport. It’s a blessing because if they stamp 30 days, you have to go to the consulate and pay to get it extended to the 90. My next trip out will being going home in December. :)

1 comment:

MKull said...

Oh Karen, my acrobatic friend! I just laughed so hard at your fall, I can totally imagine it! But at least you got some sweet war wounds ! :)