Photo: runway in Panama City, Panama
My ‘vintage Panama’ outfit and I boarded a plane for Costa Rica to visit my college roommate Mariana in her homeland exactly one year ago today. Passport Diaries did not quite exist in a tangible form, so the only thing I posted about my trip was how I almost got deported. Fortunately, I was permitted to stay and meet up with Jessy and Mariana to have lots of fun and send a bunch of postcards.
Above photo: Landing for a Panama City, Panama connection to San Jose, Costa Rica
Above Photo: Florida’s Atlantic Coast, specifically the port in Fort Lauderdale that Chris and I sailed out of on our way to the Bahamas when we got engaged.
Above Photo: Clouds obscure the mountains that contain San Jose while Fire Trees adorn it. Above Photo: Costa Rica’s Pacific Coastline
We passed through Orotina on our way from San Jose to the Pacific coast. My friend Mariana pointed out a bridge where people watch alligators. Eight months later I was watching Super Croc, a documentary about crocodiles that my brother, Luke, and his son, Titus watch together. Titus wanted to skip forward to show his auntie-grandma entourage his favorite part, and various scenes flipped by as the DVD searched. “Hey, that bridge looks like the one near Mariana’s beach house in Costa Rica,” I remarked to my mom and sister as a frame flashed by. We watched Titus’ scene and he went to bed before we started over at the beginning to learn about giant crocodiles. When we got to that scene, ta-da! It WAS the same bridge!! For a moment I felt well-traveled. That’s only happened one other time. I was studying at Sweet Eugene’s coffee shop in College Station, Texas when I saw a text book across the room. I was so surprised I got up to look at it. “Sorry,” I said to the guy studying some kind of history or something. “The cover of your book looks exactly like the view from the citadel in Cairo.” He kind of looked at me, then we checked the photo credits and IT WAS! (I don’t have a photo of the book cover, but the inset photo is one I took of the mosque I recognized on it).
Above Photo: The first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean coming through the mountainsAbove Photos: Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline.
We watched a film crew shoot a commercial in the surf while macaws swirled in pairs on the edges of the rain forest. Mariana’s aunt explained to me that macaws mate for life and always fly in pairs until one of them dies. Every morning the pair flies into the rain forest to forage for food and every evening around 5 p.m. the pair returns to the coast, just in time for the sunset. I sent Chris a postcard of a macaw.
Above Photo: Where’s Mari?
I hid under these elephant ears until something scrambled in the brush near my feet. Someone had just warned us about poisonous snakes, so I jumped to the path shrieking. A couple of composed French tourists hand-mimed to us that it was a humming bird. So…not so poisonous or scary.
The path to the crater in Parque Nacional Volcan Poas is misted over most of the year, providing enough moisture for a unique Cloud Forrest ecosystem.
We got to see primary rain forest on the Pacific coast and Cloud Forest up in the mountains, plus a bit of fun and culture in San Jose itself. I did miss the 2008 Super Bowl in order to visit Costa Rica at its most pleasant time of year…totally worth it! Above Photo: Stone muse at the Teatro NacionalAbove Photo: Partying all night in San Jose, Costa Rica