Wow, where to start. I have a lot of pictures to post but first things first. We will not be going to China to teach English. As a result of our physicals for the application, I found out that I have breast cancer and there is not enough time to complete the treatments before Sept. We are hoping that they will accept us again next year.
Next, what came first, Costa Rica or the Kitchen Remodel? I am thinking Costa Rica so I am posting some of the pictures from our trip. A lot of them were taken with my camera (which is not the best) and so do not do justice to what we saw. The country was very diverse. Some of it was dry and not so pretty but the rainforest and other areas were beautiful. We had a great time.
|This animal is a Coati. I had seen quite a few when I was in Costa Rica before but this was the only one on this trip.|
|I never saw a monkey but we did see lots of different kinds of birds.|
From Liberia we headed for Montiverde. There were 10 of us in two mini-vans. You can see the van in front of us through the dust. We had a two hour ride on dirt roads to get to our destination. It made for a fun ride.
|Half way to Montiverde, the driver pulled into a driveway up in the hills. It looked like someones house but turned out to be a gas station. We thought we were back in Micronesia. They filled the tank one gallon jug at a time.|
This was an important notice that we found in several of the bathrooms of our hotels. You do not put toilet paper in any of the toilets in Latin American countries. They all have a trash can next to the toilet to drop your paper in. A very hard habit to break!! And actually kind of a yucky thing to do.
|This was our room at the Poco A Poco - Little by Little. Small but comfortable and good AC. No good place to gather and play cards though so we had to try and rig some lighting and play on a small table on the balcony just outside the rooms.|
No matter where we go, we will always find the good ice cream shops!!
ZIP LINING IN MONTIVERDE
From Montiverde we had another two hour ride in the mini-vans on dirt roads again. At the end of the road, literally, we came to a lake where we carted all our luggage down to a boat, loaded it on and then had about a half hour ride across the lake.
On the other side we had to haul all our luggage off the boat and then carry it up an embankment to a waiting bus - at least we were all in one vehicle now and it was a paved road.
We were now in Arenal. This was our first view of the Arenal Volcano. It is usually shrouded in clouds. I was there with Jonathan and Margo several years ago. The one thing we wanted to see was the top of the volcano. We were there for several days and I think we saw most of it for about 5 minutes.
This was our bungalow room at the resort we stayed in in Arenal. It was very spacious, clean and COOL. Loved the air conditioning.
|There was a very nice dining area where we had buffet breakfast every morning.|
One new experience we had was white water rafting. This was probably the highlight of Arenal. We had signed up for a tour that would have taken only a few hours but the water on the rivers is released from a dam and they were not releasing water that day for the river we were scheduled for. The tour company switched us to another river that was several hours away. It turned out to be a much
better ride than we would have had. We were on the river for several hours. It rained here and there but did not matter because we were already soaking wet. On the way back to town, we stopped at a restaurant and had a wonderful buffet dinner. All in all, a fantastic day.
CLOUD FOREST BRIDGE TOUR
Nice pathways through the forest.
|Quite a variety of bridge types.|
After the Bridge Tour, we headed for the little town of Arenal. Wayne and I had seen enough after an hour or so but everyone else wanted to stay and have dinner. We hopped a taxi and headed back to the hotel where we explored the seven different levels of the hot springs. The highest level was the hottest. I skipped that one and waited for Wayne in the next level down. I thought it was hot enough. We gradually worked our way down the seven levels. Each was progressively cooler and cleaner. You end up in a shallow pool that gives the effect of a beach. Very nice and we enjoyed talking to all the "old" people we shared the pools with. There was a tour group of really senior citizens!
After our Arenal experience we headed for the West Coast of Costa Rica. It was another long bus trip but this time we were all together and it was paved roads. Along the way we made a stop at a waterfall that was obviously very popular. We could not believe how many people were there. To get to the falls you have to go down a somewhat steep, rocky, dirt path. People were sailing down the path with ice chests, bikes, you name it. We took about a 5 minute look and then headed up the hill again. Definitely too crowded to enjoy.
We hired a boat for a three hour tour. No pier so it was fun trying to get out to the boat and then in it while it was rocking with the waves.
|We stopped at an island that was supposed to have monkeys on it. Surprise! We did not see any.|
|We did see a termite nest though.|
The first thing Wayne did was to tear out the sofits and install canned lighting. It opened the kitchen up and gave it a lot better lighting. He took off all the doors and drawers, sanded and painted the cabinets white. We had new doors and drawers custom made. Above the stove, we raised the cabinet and took it all the way to the ceiling. Below the stove Wayne put in drawers instead of the doors. The bottom one is very deep and holds large pots and pans. He also did a shallow drawer just beneath the cooktop which holds all the utensils. It was just wasted space before.
The remodel took several months but it was well worth it. Wayne did a fantastic job and I am so happy with everything.