Day 10 Stranded in Paradise (Montezuma)

121 [Desktop Resolution]The loud rambling racket of dump trucks traveling along the dirt road beside Hotel Lucy woke us up around 10 am. We had decided to sleep in and skip breakfast with our new friends in lieu of our previous night’s activities; however the sounds of the seaside town just beyond our open window motivated us to get moving. The conditions of the rooms we had rented in Jaco and now, in Montezuma, had caused Lauren’s right eye to develop a mild case of conjunctivitis (small bugs and dirty bed linens infesting your r.e.m. cycles will do that I guess) thus a decision was made between the both of us to get the hell out of there.  We packed our belongings and quite literally hiked into town becoming sweatier and more haggard looking with each step we took.

Our intention was to purchase tickets for the next boat taxi out of Montezuma149 [Desktop Resolution] and then grab something to eat while we waited for it to come to shore so you can imagine our dismal dismay when the friendly amigo across the counter of the taxi kiosk informed us that the taxi for that day had already left at 9am. So glad we “slept” in. Faced with the proposition of sticking it out in Montezuma for another night, which after all wasn’t a bad village to hang out in so it wasn’t a bad proposition, we trudged down the main road keeping an eye out for an upgraded hotel to post up in. A sign advertising falafel enticed us to patronize an organic foods/vegan restaurant where the drinks and the air-conditioning were without a doubt the best things on the menu. Lauren ordered some kind of blackberry concoction while I opted for a lemonade with cilantro in it (hers was better ugh). We tried the veggie burgers at this place but they didn’t have ish on the ones we ferociously devoured in Monteverde. Though the food wasn’t really all that satisfactory the décor of the restaurant was so Lauren and I sat for about half an hour letting our meal digest while quietly conversing. We both agreed that the Costa Rican practice of employing the natural world’s beauty as decoration enough was supreme above the American mass-produced doo dads that hang on the walls of establishments such as Crapplebees and Ruby Doucheday. Some people just know what’s up and local flowers and artwork ARE what’s up. The time came for us to make moves, at least to our next destination: the Ylang-Ylang resort.

126 [Desktop Resolution]The walk was easy as we were hella motivated by the remembered images of the ocean front oasis that we’d seen the previous day on walkabout.  As we approached paradise our steps quickened, the acceleration having something to do with the overloaded and mucho heavy packs we had straddling our backs and the central -American sunbeams beating down overhead. By this point Lauren was as good as broke so I foot the bill for a night of relaxation and restoration in one of the resorts bungalows which were “tent like” outdoor dwellings each with two twin beds or one king-size bed, running water, electricity, a fan, a mini-fridge, a porch, and a lighted pathway. There were well-kept community bathrooms for the bungalows which were as close to an outhouse as I’d ever prefer to get. After paying for the room we were told by the most gracious clerk that our tent had to be given a good once over by the housekeepers and that we could wait at the pool or in the hotel restaurant if we so chose. I was burning up and Lauren was rapidly melting into a pool of sweat on the ground so we dashed on over to the cool crystal waters hidden124 [Desktop Resolution] in an alcove to the right of the reception desk. Two hammocks, an invigorating swim, and a bat in the bath”cave” err room. Later our room was ready and we were definitely ready for it. We got down to business immediately, i.e. we napped out for about two or three hours then woke up and toyed with the free Wi-Fi for a while. Lauren sat on the porch and made a pseudo-effort at reading for her summer school course but gave up quickly and opted to shower instead (the better of the two I think).

176 [Desktop Resolution]The girls we met the day before kept talking about a waterfall about 20 or so minutes in the jungle out past the Hotel Lucy and with a couple of hours to kill before dinner would be served at the restaurant  I thought it’d make an interesting trip. Lauren got herself together as did I and we took off with a burst of energy onto the beach, through the town, and into the jungle. We walked for about ten or fifteen minutes before reaching the first of two waterfalls, the second of which the girls must have been referring to. We clamored up the large rocks making up the fall and dipped our hands in the water the whole time enjoying the rushing sound of the cataract in motion. Lauren and I each chose a rock to perch on for a few moments while we took in the scene around us. Neither of us could help the feeling of euphoria beginning to wash over us. It was a culmination of having spent nearly two weeks in Costa Rica and being part of, if only temporarily, such a serene and primitive environment. I took some pictures and as it was beginning to get dark we both decided it would be best to forgo the second waterfall and head back to the resort for dinner. The walk back was peaceful and slow, both of us taking the time to really see, hear, and feel what was all around us. A mural was painted on the side of a sports enclosure, one of the late Michael Jackson’s songs was blaring from inside a bar, and people were riding ATV’s up and down the dirt roads weaving in and out of the throngs of pedestrians and occasional stray dogs.

We stopped at a convenient store in the middle of town and picked up some 193 [Desktop Resolution]essentials: bottled water and chewing gum. I don’t know, when you’re hanging out unexpectedly in Montezuma all day and night what would you consider essential? Then, we sat. We picked out a stoop in front of a closed post office (I think, that detail is kinda fuzzy) and just sat there watching trucks and cars drive past on the main road of the town and people-watching. We talked off and on about this or that, but mostly we just observed. There were drunks with dogs and drunks with trucks and drunks with bracelets and earrings to sell but more so there were just people, same as us, hanging out not causing any harm. We damn near missed dinner because of all this looking and sitting, and because walking around in the heat and dirt will make you lose your appetite. We heaved ourselves up off the corner though and made our way back to the resort’s restaurant. And there we were seated at a white-clothed table, drinking wine, and covered in dirt sweat and sand. Nice. Lauren ordered a dish called the “Mermaid’s Purse” which consisted of a thin crepe filled with shrimp, potatoes, and beets all sautéed in a savory red wine sauce and tied up 186 [Desktop Resolution]with some kind of sea grass so it looked like a little pouch. I had a seafood linguine of shrimp, scallops, and other various sea creatures served in a buttery sauce. We took down the wine and some of our food but were enjoying the atmosphere too much to worry about our hunger pangs. So, we asked the waiter if we could have our meals packed up as leftovers then took the food back to our bungalow and stored it there in the mini fridge.

After brainstorming for a little while about what our next (and last) activity of the day should be we came to the conclusion that it would be best to walk down on the beach and light a fire, not a big one relax. Lauren grabbed her I-pod and portable speakers and I rolled up a small fleece blanket and tucked it under my arm and then we were off. Shoes were unnecessary. Our soles felt pebbles, and dried palm fronds, and the cool sinking of the pressure of human bodies upon amassed sand grains. We were shadows drifting down an abandoned beach lit purely by celestial light. Eventually, we slowed to a stop amidst a small grove of trees we deemed a suitable place to build a fire. I put the blanket down flat upon a portion of the clearing close to a fallen tree trunk then gathered some firewood. Lauren sat cross-legged on the blanket 194 [Desktop Resolution]tinkering with her iPod before choosing to play Iron and Wine.  After a few unsuccessful solo attempts at brandishing a beach bonfire (humidified driftwood is NOT easily susceptible to flame) Lauren pitched in and some more brainstorming went down and, ta-da, just like that man made fire. <-woman too, duh-> Lauren returned to her spot on the patch of fleece and I joined her. Though the lifespan of the fire was short both of us continued to lie on the blanket, our eyes fixed on the tree branches and leaves hanging directly over us and the navy blue sky beyond. The rich green leaves grouped together in bunches began to take on different shapes in both of our minds and we discussed them as children discuss the possibilities of existence in passing clouds. We might have hung out on the darkened beach for an hour or so before growing tired, putting out the glowing embers of the fire, and packing up our things for the trek back. Along the way we paused and looked out over the churning onyx ocean contrasted only by the white crests and caps of the waves. It had all been a surreal lullaby which nudged us along back to our tent and, along with the nocturnal chatter of insects, sung us to sleep.

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