Friday, February 20, 2009

Caribbean Crusin' with My Parents

This may seem weird, but after the drive home from the beach on Sunday, we actually needed Monday in San Jose to recoup. This was mostly for my dad. His driving skills are really being tested here in Costa Rica. On the way to the beach we were run off the road by a semi and have been driving windey roads through mountains in the dark. To my Dad’s dismay, there are no “shortcuts” to be taken when you hit traffic. You just have to wait! Monday evening, I invited Maureen, Lauren and Kate over for a pasta dinner. I wanted my parents to meet the girls who are constantly starring in my blog. I also wanted them to taste the Italian Gelato that we are all addicted to, so after dinner, we piled into 2 cars and drove over to Plaza Itskazu.
We left feeling very satisfied (ie stuffed).
Tuesday morning our goal was to be out of the house by 7am! With Ernesto? HA! My parents waited patiently on our extremely uncomfortable couch (the apt came furnished)

By the looks of our trunk we were leaving for a month. My dad even threw in the coffee pot.

At about 8am we started driving east. I wanted to show my parents the other side of Costa Rica, which really has a different vibe than the west. You could mistake the little town of Puerto Viejo for an island in the Caribbean. Everyone is on bikes riding the bumpy dirt roads in beach attire, carrying surfboards or lazily hanging out at one of the cute open-air eateries. There are no “proper” hotels here. The last time I visited, we stayed in the “hammock hotel” but I didn’t think my parents would be into that. I picked a place recommended in Lonely Planet called ItaIta’s Cabinas, and they were really cute 2 bedrooms with kitchen and covered front porch in a lovely jungle setting. It was just out of town on Punta Uva, a long fluffy white sand beach. Well, it used to be. Two weeks ago there was a horrible storm that hit, and when we walked out to the beach, I couldn’t believe it. The beach was exposed rocks and fallen trees. ok, plan B. I remembered that Kate recommended a place called Casa Verde and although it wasn't right on the beach, it was a lush tropical paradise

with great bird watching

a beautiful pool

and the rooms were large, clean and had porches with hammocks. Perfect!

Once we checked in, we spent the rest of the day hanging at the pool and walked over to Lydias Place for dinner, its a great open-air restaurant that has a different flavor than San Jose. Caribbean curried chicken and coconut rice.

Getting fresh seafood was no problem here either. You must try the cold ginger-lime drink that they make. So deliciously refreshing!

The locals were hanging at our table to see if they get lucky.

We went to bed after a game of Oh Hell and woke up early to see the sun rise. (I was still in my pj's)

It was so pretty.

My mom and I found a great spot on the beach piles of seashells had been washed up, and picked out some beauties! I plan to add mine to my sand collection. (Its growing exponentially by the way)

A local boy came around to our room early with what he called "papusas" that his mother made. They were still warm. Fluffy bread with cheese and sugar. $1

The morning hours we spent at the pool, damn Im getting a great tan!

My dad gave me a great book by James Patterson, I really like his writing (and the main character Alex Cross) and I had a lot of time to relax and read it. At about 1pm we rented bikes and headed south out of town. We wanted to take my parents to Maxi’s in Manzanillo. It’s an awesome seafood restaurant right on the beach. It was about an hour bike ride.

Ernesto would go ahead and stop at every little store along the way and would be standing there with beers for us when we caught up.
I love that Ernesto and my dad are such good buddies.

They talk so much shit to each other, Ernesto loves to say and DO things to my parents just to get their reaction. What would your reaction be?

Who would do that to their in-laws? They always laugh at him. My mom did a great job on the bike ride, although she got some blisters on her thumbs from gripping the handlebars so tight. pobresita! It wasn't exactly an easy ride. BUT, everyone agreed that the food was so worth it. My dad got a whole red snapper grilled I got marlin, ernesto and my mom got ribs, which they are also known for. I love the huge wood plates.

See the little pair of cat ears? I may have slipped that mare mare some of my food, she was so cute, patiently waiting. With all the open-aired restaurants, there are always cats and dogs sitting and starring at me.

We spent a leisurely 2 hours in the restaurant and then at 5pm started to book it home. Before we left I had to do a pic in front of this gorgeous green wall. It looks great with my yellow suit. I love the bright colors that they paint the buildings/houses here. Anything goes.

We almost made it before dark. We had about 2 miles to go, luckily cars were shedding their light on the road, but at times it was tough with the huge pot holes and no street lights. We were popped when we got back to the cabin. We immediately changed into our bathing suits and went into the pool. We laughed about how nice it was that we could stand be with each other for such a long period of time.

The next day we were checking out of our hotel, but didn't want to drive back to San Jose in the hot sun, so we drove north to the little beach town Cahuita and went into Cahuita National Park.

It is a beautiful beach and has well maintained sand trails where you are almost guaranteed to see wildlife...and we did. White-faced monkeys and the howler monkeys pictured here

We also saw this monkey
Before starting our drive from HELL back to SJ, we bought watermelon and mango from a fruit stand.
It really was a scary ride home. Driving through Brauillo Carrillo Park we were in the mountains and up in the clouds...clouds so thick that we had to stop the car a couple times. Its not like we could pull over either, there were no shoulders, only cliffs off the mountain. Yikes! Semis whizzed by us, obviously they had fog lights, but our rental was not equipped. My dad was doing the best he could and we may have given a few too many suggestions. The tension was as thick as the clouds. My mom pulled out her rosary and in the end, we did not die.
My parents left at 7am Saturday morning. We went with them to the airport. I really enjoyed having them here with us. My dad said, "Its always an adventure with Cindy"  Thats what I like to hear!  Anyone else want to come here for an adventure?

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