Monday, January 5, 2009

Pamela Chelin - freelance journalist in Los Angeles who has worked with Access Magazine, Globe and Mail, LA Times, German Glamour, etc.

By: Pamela Chelin (California, USA) 2008
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"I had an amazing time in Costa Rica and I developed a real fondness for the laid back and 'carpe diem' Costa Rican culture. Further, I discovered an adventurous side which I didn't even know that I had to the degree that I do have and, now, indulge freely! Between the wonderful fish and plantain desserts I feasted upon, the amazing time white water rafting and overnight camping along the Pacuare, the incredibly informative experience I had at CATIE learning about the flora, the wonderful Costa Rican people I met during my travels and the beautiful scenery from the volcanoes to simply gorgeous waterfalls, I have a love affair with Costa Rica. I am eager to return to this wonderful, laid back and inspiring country."

Pamela Chelin is a freelance journalist in Los Angeles who has worked with Access Magazine, Globe and Mail, LA Times, German Glamour, etc.

Blog By Nooria - Costa Rica Trip

By: Nooria (Maryland, USA) 2007
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To see Nooria's full blog with pictures, click here

The last time I visited Costa Rica, I went to a small beach town just at the tip of the Nicoya peninsula called Montezuma. It was the very beginning of the off season, so I had just missed all of the crowds.. This may sound boring to some of you, but for me it was perfect!

I had no idea how amazing the next few weeks were going to be for me, especially since I knew next to nothing about this Cozy little beach town. My friend was doing an internship at Ylang Ylang beach resort, which is about a ten minute walk down the beach from the edge of town. There is no other way there. It is like an Oasis among the seaside trees.. I found Ylang Ylang to be kind of expensive, after all I was staying for almost a month, so I found a room at El Jardin, which is at the top of the hill in Montezuma next to the beach where the fisherman have their boats, a fishy beach, not really good for swimming..

In the first week, I got to know some of the locals which was pretty much all that was there because it was off season, and that created a very personal very close encounter with the CR natives and their lifestyle and culture there.. I found most of my days were wandering around while my friend was working.. (which she did a LOT). But it was cool because I had a lot of time to myself and was free to do whatever I wanted. One of the people I got to know well was Trixy, an Ayurvedic practitioner that was working at Ylang Ylang at the time. I had many treatments from her. There was one where we walked out onto the rocks at low tide and I sat in a pool of water and meditated.. It was after this treatment that I almost felt reborn.. like I had new eyes and we sat on the rocks for a while and watched the people on shore, the fisherman and the last tour from Tortuga island returning for the day. I felt completely content and I was sure something VERY special had just happened to me. I knew I felt a little tired, but I realized I had felt much more than tired, almost jaded and now I felt better than I had in years..

One day, I stopped in one of the shops to buy a sarong, since no one uses towels here, and forgive me I don't remember what they call them in Costa Rica. And it was in the shop where the man told me I should go to Playa las Manchas. And so I did. I walked along the winding road, past the fisherman's beach up hills and across a bridge, when I started questioning what the man had told me.. maybe he had lied? Maybe it was much farther than he said, but as soon as I asked someone I was just about there. There was a little house on the right with rooms for rent, and I'm pretty sure it was called Manchas hotel or something similar and directly across the street was Playa las manchas, a beautiful little spot with nice soft white sand and crystal clear waters. The water was a little rough that day so I didn't end up really swimming. But I lay in the sun and watched some other very nice looking visitors without their shirts on play football..

Needless to say I enjoyed myself..
During the nights we would have dinner in one of the many restaurants in Montezuma. Our favorites were Allegr de something rather and Cocolores.. Allegr was an italian restaurant and they had the most amazing food. The gnocchi was my favorite. Cocolores had the most amazing gorgonzola steaks that were usually served pretty rare, no matter how you ordered them. But it turned out to be great!
After dinner, my old and new friends would go to Chicos.. the bar/nightclub there. We salsa danced and played pool and foosball, or just people watched.. and one night the bartender fed me a wonderful 35 year old Guatamalan rum, which instead of sitting on a barstool made me feel like I was floating on a nice fluffly little cloud. It was amazing! I spent a lot of time on the Ylang Ylang resort, talking to my friend and the other workers there. The environment was extremely mellow, and since it was the low season and no one was staying there, I was able to use the Yoga studio and the pool and lounge in the hammocks on the beach. One day, I was lying in a hammock when I suddenly felt like I was being watched.. I looked up to find five for six squirrel monkeys staring down at me from the tree tops.. they must have been attracted to the sparkles on my tank top. I didn't stick around to find out.

I had waited almost the whole three weeks I was there for my friend to become available to go on the four wheeling trip with me and we finally got to go. We drove up the road into the forest stopping at Santa Theresa and a little bar in the middle of nowhere, along the route we were taking.. it was (once again) amazing! We had the teeniest little margaritas we had ever seen in our lives but that was a good thing because I was driving the four wheeler. We passed a few houses and some open fields and one Tico sitting on the side of the road and when he looked up at us he had the most crystal clear blue eyes ever..(these features are typical among most of the ticos). I yelled to my friend sitting behind me "did you see his eyes??". *sigh*

The four wheeling trip was a lot of fun, even though I almost lost control of the thing a few times, in REALLY bad places like.. on a small natural bridge with a drop off next to it of who knows how many feet.. I would feel the atv lose it's grip and suddenly at the last minute it would catch on the nasty terrain again. I never told my friend about this.. She still has no idea! But hey, it's called living on the edge.. whoo ...
Anyway I guess I should wrap this up.. Through the lazy days that I wandered, most of them were sunny, so I was surprised to find that it was on a cloudy day that I found complete contentment for the second time .. It came when I least expected it..

Other things I did: Vistited a waterfall.. Made out with the most attractive guy in the town on the moonlit beach.. Went to Santa Theresa for a surfing competion, which we missed because we had false information about a connecting bus. But we sat and had margaritas and caught up instead, which was nice. The food was just amazing and it blew my mind that I would have an exceptionally good food and wine pairing in CR, but it happened a few times in Montezuma and then on my last night, in San Jose I wandered out to this restaurant with one of the guys that was staying at the hotel with me. We had traveled from Montezuma to San Jose together and became friends. It was at this restaurant where we listened to a guy sing love songs with his guitar and had really tastey filet mignon with really good red wine! It was so nice, and that night I went back to my hotel and lay in a hammock in the courtyard. There weres some older women there that were clearly having a reunion. I listened to them talk and laugh and felt my last and most lovely moment of contentment that I was ever so grateful for... *sigh and smile*
To see more pictures of her blog, click here

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