It’s supposed to be my summer break but by placing myself back into the school setting over my vacation (I went willingly…), I have found that I still dread Monday’s and I still wait in anticipation for the weekend to grace me with its presence. This week, though, the weekend missed me as much as I missed it and we decided to reunite a little earlier. In reality, “Dia de Guanacaste” was this week and my weekend started on Thursday.
But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.
Wednesday, all the kids got dressed in traditional “wild west”, Spanish cowboy and cowgirl outfits and we ate hand-made tortillas stuffed with queso.
Ok, now back to the weekend.
I went to Manuel Antonio with some volunteers from my program and we stayed at Sol y Mar Hotel (good option if you are on a budget because Manuel Antonio has some of the most expensive hotels in Costa Rica). Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio is the smallest national park in the country but just so happens to be the most visited (I guess this is where I say something corny, like “good things come in small packages”). Admission into the park costs $10 and after a very laid-back walk (about 15 minutes) you can choose between four beaches: Manuel Antonio, Espadilla Sur, Teloro, and Playita. My philosophy being, “why choose at all,” led us to try each of the beaches. I can’t say I recommend one over the other because it’s essentially all sand and salt water but beware of the coral in the shallow parts of the water when you are entering the ocean.
There was virtually no sun in sight, so we lay on the beach, sipped juice out of coconuts and made sand castles. There were people on jet skis and horses and yachts but I had no urge to do anything. Partly because I was enjoying lazying around in the Pacific and partly because I had recently discovered that life is expensive. So unbelievably expensive. Learning this lesson first-hand is probably why I can’t give any restaurant recommendations for Manuel Antonio. But, I can say that the 50 cent packs of spaghetti that they sell at their supermarkets work as a wonderful breakfast, lunch and dinner.
It rained all day, everyday, which did keep our list of activities at a minimum, but it was warm, summer rain and it gave us an excuse to go to the local bazaars and stock up on post cards and string bracelets. As we were returning back to to our host homes on Sunday, we all fell into a deep discussion about how it felt like we were returning home from a long vacation. Living in Barrio Jesus for a couple of weeks made it feel familiar and we were shocked at how comfortable we felt with the area.
Being in Manuel Antonio for four days, I had worked up an appetite for the butter and jam sandwiches that my host mother makes and the rooster that is always perched outside my window. I had missed the creeking floor and my bedroom door (that only opens if you lift then push). It’s crazy how easy it is to adapt to new surroundings when there are good people around you. That’s actually a lesson that I was more than happy to learn first-hand.