At Palabra De Vida, there is a tradition of having a staff trip to celebrate the end of another school year. So even though there are still 5 weeks of school left, we headed for the beach!
After leaving the school at 4:45 AM, we stopped for some Comida Típica about an hour into the trip: Gallo Pinto (recipe here), Fried Plantains, and Fried Cheese – Yummo. Two more hours on the bus and we had arrived in the town of Quepos, a small city on the Pacific Coast near the famous Manuel Antonio National Park.
From Quepos we boarded a huge Catamaran to go swimming, snorkeling, and whale watching. Things started out great. We were all loving being in the sun and feeling the breeze.
At this point, things began to not go as planned. It was a choppy day on the coast, and many of our coworkers started turning pale, then green. Savanna and I remained anchored to the front of the boat, needing the wind in our faces to keep our stomachs steady. However, as we started into the deep water in the hopes of seeing a whale or a dolphin the captain came over the intercom announcing that we needed to turn back
to the port in order to attend to two medical emergencies. We’re still not sure who the second emergency was, but the first was our art teacher who had begun to show signs of going into shock. While we were racing to the coast, there was a large commotion as a breaching whale was seen off the stern. But attention was soon diverted back to the front of the boat as we saw a vessel of the Costa Rican Costa Guard racing towards us to drop off a medical team. The art teacher was met at the port by an ambulance and presumably went to the hospital. The group collectively decided that we had had enough time on the ocean that maybe the snorkling and ocean swimming should be left for another day.
The next stop was at a hotel in Manuel Antonio for afternoon coffee and pancitos followed by the option of either heading into the park or relaxing in the pool. However upon our arrival, it was announced that the hotel would not be letting us use the pool. So Sav, myself, the school secretary, and the entire grounds crew headed off for the park, while the rest of our group either went hunting for a pool or spent the afternoon lounging in the hotel.
Just as we crossed the gate to enter the park, the skies opened and we were all reminded that we live in the rainforest. (We got dumped on for about an hour.) Manuel Antonio is known for having white sand, interesting costal islands, illusive three-toed sloths, and a lot of monkeys. The Spanish word for sloths is perezosos (lazies). So when I asked the maintenance crew to help me find them, they joked that they themselves were the perezosos. That joke lasted for about an hour.
After a quick dip in the warm ocean, we did some hiking. The forest was beautiful and the trail would periodically open to beautiful cliff-side vistas of the islands that run along the coast. But as we started to head back down the trail, we heard a strange and threatening noise. I immediately turned to race up the trail, following the dinosaur like calls. Eventually we found the source, a tree full of howler monkeys.
As we got back on the bus to go home, the art teacher who had been taken to the hospital rejoined us (ptL) and we sleepily made our way back to the central valley. Needless to say, it was an adventure.