Thursday, May 8, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I'M COMING HOME! We arrive in Miami tomorrow! It's a little more bittersweet than I thought it would be...I really am going to miss this ship and some of the people on it. It will be nice to be home, but overall it's been a wonderful, amazing semester. If any of you are interested, I would love to talk nonstop about it and show you all of my pictures, so just ask.
I wonder whether I'll experience any reverse culture shock? Probably, a little. Being able to understand what I'm ordering off the menu, knowing what the ingredients and nutrition facts on food are, not being the only blonde person in a sea of black hair and dark skin, people understanding what I'm saying/asking of should be quite interesting.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Costa Rica- Going Out with a Bang!

Costa Rica!
I woke up to see the beautiful sunrise in Costa Rica at about 5am. I still hadn’t done much research about the place, but Christine had done a little. We spent the rest of the morning reading Lonely Planet trying to figure out something to do. There’s not much to do in Puntarenas, where we docked, but there was a nearby ferry that went over to the peninsula across the way. We found that there was a cute hippie town called Montezuma about an hour away from the ferry ride (which was also an hour long endeavor). Christine and Tea wanted to go there and stay for the night, and I was a little hesitant—with the travel time, and only having two days in Costa Rica, I was worried about making it back on time to get to the ship; even if we got back on time, I was worried we wouldn’t have any time to hang out in the actual town because we would have spent so much time in transit. I knew if I didn’t want to go, I could walk around Puntarenas with Meghan and Amanda, and then go out in the evening to a “party area” called Jaco, which was an hour further in coast. I was going to hang out with them until I heard that everyone and their mom was going to Jaco, and SAS had found some way to throw a HUGE party there (complete with flyers some idiot girl had spent all night making). That was enough for me to decide to just go for it and head out with Christine and Tea. Even more to my luck, Nicki and Mal decided to join us. While I LOVE Christine and Tea, I’ve already explained how the two of them like to do their own thing. Nicki and Mal much prefer to do more of my type of things. Getting there wasn’t difficult at all. It started out a little rough because we just missed the 10am ferry and the next one wasn’t until 12:30, so we had to stick around Puntarenas for an extra hour and a half. It turned out being fine, however, because we hit up a delicious Mexican bakery, had to wait in a long line to get the tickets and were able to load up on the ferry early enough to get good seats outside with a breeze. As soon as we walked off the ferry, we found a taxi driver who would take us to Montezuma at a good rate. He also said he had a friend with a hotel room for five people that we would be able to stay at. It worked out perfectly…well, almost perfectly. The “hotel” was a room behind a souvenir shop, but it was pretty nice. It had a kitchen, dining room with a futon, bedroom with two queen-sized beds and a nice bathroom, and right outside our door was the beach. So what made it almost perfect? It was very centrally located, on the one main street of the little town, but that also meant we were right next door to the local bar, which we heard the music for ALL night long. We also had some neighbors living in the room with us…crabs. They weren’t terribly big but still big enough to have me jump on top of the chair. Big crawling thing that can bite me? Not my cup of tea. Nicki was brave enough to escort the first crab we found outside. In the middle of the night when only Mal and I were up and we found another one, however, we were not brave enough to do anything except jump on top of the chairs. We couldn’t find where it had crawled to at one point and just ran back to our bed and kept the cell phone light on and ready to keep an eye out for the crab. Between the crab and the music, it wasn’t the greatest night of sleep, but I still wouldn’t have changed a thing about it. Right after we got to Montezuma, we decided to walk around the town. We checked out a few of the shops, took a nice walk on the beach, and ate a late lunch at an Organic restaurant. I had the most delicious Fiesta Taco salad and banana-milk juice. It was pretty much a milkshake, and it was soooooo good. We hit up the local grocery store for snack food and a bit of alcohol. We had a few drinks and then sat out on the beach. Around 8, we decided to go for pizza at a nearby restaurant called the Pizza Connection. It was pretty good pizza. Afterwards, everyone was ready for bed. It was only 9:30ish, but it had been a long day. Mal and I decided to walk off a bit of dinner, so we took a nice long walk along the beach first. It was when we came back that we found our second neighbor…Mr. Crabs. We woke up at 5am to see the sunrise, and it was so worth it. It was beautiful. Mal and Tea decided to go for a run afterwards, so Christine, Nicki and I headed to a bakery cafĂ© for breakfast. I got a yummy strawberry coconut milkshake and fresh fruit. After breakfast, Tea and Christine decided to go on a long hike while Nicki, Mal and I spent the rest of the morning on the beach. We made nachos for lunch and walked around the town a little more before our taxi driver picked us back up at around 1:30 to make it onto the 3pm ferry ride. I met the most adorable 2 year old named Byron and we became good buddies on the ferry. His dad had lived in Tennessee for a year, so he was able to translate for the two of us. Byron was very excited to be on a boat, and I was able to piece together enough Spanish (with the help of Mal) to ask him a few questions. We walked back to the ship after the ride and it was nice to be able to take a clean shower and get ALL of the sand off me. It was a great way to spend the last port. We all had a lot of fun, made it back to the ship in plenty of time, and only have a few more days before we all head home. I’m really glad I got to spend it with some of my favorite people. It will be nice to get back home and lose a little weight though; I thought I would lose weight on this trip, boy was I wrong. Sure I’m really active in port and get tons of exercise, but I also ate so much in every port. I mean, you’re only there for a few days so you want to make sure to enjoy the best food they have to offer, and it usually wasn’t terribly good for you despite how delicious it was. Then, on the ship the extent of my exercise was walking up and down stairs. While the food wasn’t very good on board, it still didn’t deter me from eating it. I probably ended up eating more than I should have at each meal because I was never really satisfied. Once I get home and back on a normal routine, I should be back to normal. I don’t think I’ve gained too much weight either, it’s not a repeat of Idyllwild (at least I hope not, anyways…I guess my mom could be the judge of that when I get off the ship in Miami). Oh well, I’ve got a whole summer to get back in shape for dancing away my senior year at Bucknell. I’m officially a senior now! That’s so crazy! Oh my god. I’m old.


So, I am the only person I know that actually had four final exams, in addition to the global studies final. Most people on the ship had one or two tests, maybe a paper- so unfair, but I’m over it because it’s all over now, and I think I did pretty well on all of them. I finished my last final at 1:30pm, sold back all my books, and went to lay out. It was wonderful! I thought selling books back at Bucknell was a rip-off, but SAS totally tops the cake. For handing back 12 books, I got 18 bucks. And that’s doing pretty well from what I’ve heard other kids got back. It’s pretty ridiculous, but oh well. There’s no way I would have taken any of those books back with me…I have enough stuff to pack as it is. We will be in Costa Rica tomorrow! Yay! Although, I have NO idea what I’m going to do there. I didn’t want to think about it until I finished all of my finals, and I still haven’t researched anything. I’ll find people to walk around with though, I always do. It will be nice to get off the ship and get some real exercise; walking up and down the stairs and from one end of the ship to the other is not nearly enough exercise for me. The gym here is crap, so that’s not an option. I try to “work out/stretch” in my room, but it’s really not big enough to do anything too strenuous. I think I would be totally fine just walking around the city for the entire day tomorrow—anything to exert some energy.
There’s only one week left, and then I’m home. Craziness. Absolute craziness.