Tamarindo, Costa Rica
First I just want to congratulate Meredith on winning the Blue Nile Giveaway!!
Here is a little glimpse of my trip down Costa Rica. over Christmas break. Boy was it warm and beautiful. We backpacked to a beach in Tamarindo and stayed in a hostel for a few nights. We surfed, slack lined and played in the waves. I was pleased with the beach but I was not pleased with the prices in Tamarindo it was rather pricy and there were loads of tourists! Not only that, but Tamarindo is a seven hour bus ride (with no air conditioning) from the airport in San Jose. If I am being completely honest it was not realistic, but it was an experience and adventure. Being stranded for 3 days longer than planned in Costa Rica because of cancelled flights may have put a sour taste in month as well. Probably the highlight of my trip was meeting some new friends. We met a girl from Germany named Sophia who we got to know quite well and a girl from France named Morgane who wants to come and stay with us in the states in February. I have life long friends from traveling and staying in hostels. It is something you need to try at least once in your lifetime.
Sometimes I feel like I have a conflicted personality. I love love clothes and fashion and beauty but on the other hand I love adventure. I seek it out. I love the feeling. I always wanted to be doing what my brothers were doing growing up. Anything they did I had to do as well. But the two don’t mesh well together. In fact it seems to confuse people. So if you are surprised that I backpacked in Central America, dressed like a hippie, slept in hostels, surfed and slack lined just know it is part of my split personality.
Yes that is my brother and yes we are travel buddies because both of us remain single at this point in time! This is us traveling at our finest in the big country of CHINA. I did not realize how big China was! We barely made a dent in exploring over there.
First thing learned.Great Wall of China. What I did not realize about the Great Wall is that you need to be in the best shape of your life to venture on the Great Wall. The steps are steep and very long! In some spots I had to crawl up because I was too short to simply walk up the steps. You may want to run a marathon before hand.
Second thing learned. The toilets are different. Squatters are what they are referred as. This made me very grateful for my sit down toilet at home. Also we took a train and the toilets on the trains were of course squatters, but the sewage is directly leaked onto the tracks.
Third thing learned. China is not the place for photo shoots on train tracks.
Fourth thing learned. China was surprisingly dirty. Every night when I went to bed and washed my face a film of dirt came off.
Fifth thing learned. You can order pig brain soup and people don’t look at you weird. Yes there was a mini brain floating in my soup. It was actually really good! Some other weird things I ate was pig heart, tree bark, robin eggs and basically anything and everything under water. At the Chinese market we bought star fruit and dragon fruit—that was also very delicious!
Sixth thing learned. Church is run a little bit different. I was able to attend an LDS branch with other Americans living in China on visas. There is a government official present every week. Before they start church they have to read through this document ensuring that they will not violate certain laws. The American branch or other foreign branches are not able to meet up with locals at all.
Seventh thing learned. Ni hoa means hello or hi in Chinese. I thought I did not understand Spanish, until I went to China. I understand Spanish, I DO NOT understand Chinese!
Yep we backpacked Guatemala and it was a true adventure. We ventured to several locations and rode many chicken buses. If you do not know what a chicken bus you are in for a treat. It is an American school bus painted every color known to man. They fit about a million people, chickens, cats per bus. They use their space efficiently by having passengers ride on windshields, on top of the bus, and out the windows and doors. Average speed being about 99 miles per hour (no give for turns.best jello game of your life). Has a variety of chicken smells and cramped human smells. Festive horns and lights to attract passengers. On top of that, you may risk being robbed of everything you have with you while enjoying your ride. I really loved every second of it; competes with rides at Disneyland.
My brother and I went into the jungle and visited Semuc Champey; the most beautiful place I have ever been. We decided to take local buses (actually vans) instead of the tour buses thinking we could save a buck or two. That plan back fired as we got stranded in a near by town and had to hitch a ride with a local who spoke mostly a Mayan dialectic instead of Spanish. An hour later when we reached Semuc Champey. We hiked in the jungle and swam in the beautiful pools. We had run out of money by that time and had no way of getting home; our ride had abandoned us. Luckily we had made friends with some Israelis and they generously lent us lent us some quetzals. The tour guide also generously let us hitch a ride back down in their tour bus. If you go to Guatemala make time for Semuc Champey but take a tour bus.