Monday, September 25, 2006

lj-music: Arvo Part - Fratres

We are now in the tiny town of Cahuita, on the Caribbean coast. We arrived this morning from Puerto Viejo, a slightly larger and far more happinin' city about 30 minutes south along the coast. The bus ride from Monteverde was about nine excruciating hours, with a brief (heavy sarcasm on next word) respite in San Jose, where two lunatics working a heavily sketchy and transparent gaff tried to steal our bags. I really thought the one was about to put his hands in his pockets and whistle when I caught him, for God's sake.

Puerto Viejo is a great city for people who want to be constantly stoned and surfing. We stayed in a truly gargantuan and elaborate hostel called Rockin' J's, about a kilometer outside the city proper. When we got off the bus, a maniac unloaded our bags, demanded some coins, and then spent half an hour trying to sell us drugs before we escaped. In our infinite wisdom, we decided to walk to the hostel rather than call a cab, since every taxi driver in the city seems to belong to some vaguely forceful drug cartel. It was the longest walk of my life - I have never, ever felt so vulnerable and exposed. It was like those dreams where you show up to an exam completely unprepared and nude, except there was no test and we were fully clothed. Other than that, EXACTLY like those dreams. Every one we passed tried to sell us weed, or crack, or a dubious bed in their basement.

Rockin Js is a sprawling conglomerate of corrugated iron roofed out-buildings, completely and artistically tiled on the inside, adorned with polished two- tone wood and ceramic statues with protruding tongues. The rooms come with high powered fans, creepy kiln fired faces, dozens of embedded mirrors, and bedbugs. We both look like we have frigging small pox.

However, the hostel gates opened right on a beautiful beach, all the employees were super nice, and the food was really, really good. On Saturday we took a Kayaking trip down a river, and saw a sloth, which was dumb, and a bunch of lizards, which were cool, and a highly poisonous spider which our guide prodded with an oar until it moved, at which point he shrieked and began to paddle furiously.
We took the Kayaks out onto the Carribian, and pulled up on a beach to go snorkeling. The sea, until then a paragon of tranquility, was a total bitch and it was really hard to see anything. Then I bit it hardcore in the middle of the ocean trying to out paddle a massive, threatening wave. When that wave is caught and goes to prison, NOBODY will mess with it. It was lucky I wasn´t carrying a wallet. That wave had a hundred tattoos, and a handmade shank.

Cahuita is almost like a ghost town in comparison - there's no one to get drunk with, and even the insects seem to have social phobia. We went today to Playa Negra, a long stretch of beach with black sand. It was really beautiful in a haunting, creepy way. A hoard of skeletonic wild horses lurched along a sand strip flanked with stagnant water, and vultures roamed the beach, gnawing at crab husks and flicking disembodied claws at us. The jungle invaded the shore, and the trees looked like carcasses. It was overcast, and the other swimmers resembled starving theives and vagabonds. The water, in stark contrast, was clear and warm, and the birds that were not vultures were almost painfully colorful.

The food here is amazing, and our hotel is cheap and really comfortable. Tomorrow we plan to hike through the national park to the waterfalls, and rent snorkling gear at the coral reefs on the park beach. It's wonderful here, but at the same time, we're happy to be heading home at the end of the week. More details as they surface from the cards.

- E

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