Saturday, April 3, 1999

Greetings from South America! (barely)

As I am now on the opposite side of the Panama Canal (the
body of water separating N and S America) I guess I can say
that I took a bus all the way to South America! It is a
slight perversion of a dream that my friend Craig and I had
when we first learned to drive; We wanted to do a road trip
to South America, and guess what?
I finally did it!
When I last left you, SGK´s mom was swinging through the
treetops like Georgina of the jungle, and we were headed to
the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica for some diving. Well, we
never made it to the Caribbean, but we did do quite a lot
After the Monteverde Cloud forest, we bounced down the dry
riverbeds that pass for roads in Costa Rica to the foot of
Volcan Arenal where Helen and Andy sprung for a few nights
for us to stay at The Tabacon Hot Springs resort. We had a
view of hot lava pouring down the side of the mountain as we
sipped frosties on the back porch of our bungalow. Andy
then coerced Helen on to the back of a horse for a ride UP
the volcano.
These horses were in much better shape than the ones we
rented in Honduras. Mine needed constant minding; if he
sensed that I was getting lax, he wanted to take off and
gallop through the woods. After Arenal, we decided to spend
a couple of nights in the coffee growing area of Orosi. It
was not nearly as nice as we had expected it to be, so after
a private tour of a coffee coop, we headed to the coast.
The Pacific coast. Jaco.
Jaco is Costa Rica´s attempt on Cancun. It doesn’t make
it though, as all of the crappiness of Cancun is missing.
After a couple of nights there, we were off to the Nicoya
Peninsula and a town called Montezuma.
Montezuma was cute. Nestled between the Pacific and the
rain forest, we were lulled to sleep at night by the waves,
and woken up in the morning by howler monkeys at our
doorstep. A troop of at least 14 of them. Way cool. The
hotel that we stayed in even had a tame Owl living there
that liked to sit on your hand or shoulder. We then headed
back to San Jose to bid goodbye to Helen and Andy, and while
they said that they wanted to stay longer (and even go to
Panama too) I know that they REALLY just wanted to get back
and see Christina and Alex.
After seeing them off, The whole country of Costa Rica
shut down for Easter Week. Nothing was open. No stores, no
restaurants, even the Casino’s were closed, so we climbed on
the Bus and headed south.
Panama City is an interesting place; We are staying in
the old part of town that the Spanish built after Henry
Morgan burnt the place down.
The architecture is very reminiscent of New Orleans’
French quarter; no surprise, the Spanish built that too and
about the same time period as well.
This whole country exists only for the canal. It was a
part of Columbia before the construction of the canal, so
that if the canal had not been built then it is unlikely
that Panama would even have its sovereignty.

Where do we go from here?
Well, we are looking to sign on as crew on a yacht heading
through the canal. The regs here call for there to be 5
crew members to make a canal passage, and many of the people
that we have talked to have simply showed up at the Balboa
Yacht club and been recruited for a free three day cruise on
the canal. After that, we are headed to the Continent
proper - where and how we don´t know yet. As all the travel
agents are closed for the easter holiday, we can´t even
begin to look into it until Monday.

Take care all!

No comments:

All content including images copyright 1999-2014 © SaraGrace Keenan and/or Michael Alessio Permission to use only granted with permission