Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A White Christmas

Ok so this is confusing the chronology of this blog but it seemed fitting given that we got off the plane in Vancouver to find the city blanketed in snow! From San Jose and 30 degrees in the morning to Vancouver at night, freezing and snowing! Quite a shock to the system - anyway, these photos are from Christmas night and our first ever white Christmas. Pretty exciting really. Irene one of my work pals invited Andrea and I over to have a meal with her family on Christmas night, knowing that Andrea and I are orphans around these parts. It started snowing as we first got on the bus and it was really coming down by the time we got to Irene's.

Cool Stuff at LAX

We must have passed through the terminal in Los Angeles a dozen times or more now over the last 3 or 4 years and almost every time we have walked down this cool long corridor to get to baggage claim and then on to our connecting flights. This last time was surely the best however, in that we had the place completely to ourselves for some reason and we had the presence of mind to keep our camera handy. This long hallway, probably some 80 metres long or so has this fantastic 2001: A Space Odyssey tiling and lighting - very cool! A great way to end the trip too.

San Jose, Costa Rica

We only saw one small part of San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, on the first and last days of our trip but it certainly seemed very beautiful. The whole country really was gorgeous; very easy to travel through and the people were very friendly. Certainly the parts of the country we saw seemed very specifically organised to make life as easy as possible for western visitors - this took all of the hassle out of travelling there but also some of the romance and mystery too. Now I should also mention my developing penchant for photographing churches when Andrea and I travel - much to Andrea's dismay I might add. Still being a very Latin and Catholic nation, San Jose seemed to have a church on every second corner, and some monument to a great sage or church leader on every other corner. I couldn't get enough of this grand architecture though Andrea threatened to take the camera off me on numerous occasions - I'll let you decide who was right and who was wrong in this little drama!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Our Favorite Food Spot

Andrea found this cafe online for us before we left and sure enough it lived up to all of its cyber-space boosters! Pure local organic produce, made fresh everyday by fellow food lovin' vegetarian hippies! Hooray! One thing you can say for sure about hippies - they really get vegie soul-food. Happy days - also for your viewing pleasure these photos of the local sand-man express. This truck pulled in every couple of days to replenish the super-market. We never did spot the driver - he was probably off scanning the coastline for the perfect "turns into a sexy lady" point break! Well he was/is evidently the local wolf-man (lycanthrope for the scrabulous in our midst) bad-ways evil doer or some-such.

Montezuma Beaches and Village

Montezuma is basically your classical tropical paradise - it takes five hours by bus to get there, through the mountains and then via ferry before you arrive at the most luscious forests and beaches. The village is all of three streets, 10 or so restaurants and a handful of bars and hostels. Perfect for the relaxation of all city/work/life stresses. Naturally Andrea and I spent a certain number of hours every day trying to work out how we could quit the city and become beach bums, painting (Andrea) teaching yoga (me) and writing books (both) or some such nonsense. Something about salt water just brings a man to new perspectives on things - now for the perfect plan! I'm still working on it thanks for asking...

Hotel Los Mangos - Montezuma, Costa Rica

The place we stayed at was just perfect - on site yoga studio, beach views, pool and 10 or 12 stand alone bungalows nestled in amid the trees and gardens, all banking on to the fringe of the National Park. It really was the most beautiful spot, very relaxing. As I mentioned, we were visited most days by one species or another of local wildlife - here we have the local iguanas if you look hard enough!

Hippie Art Festival on the Beach

On one of the last days of our stay some locals organised an art festival/exhibition in a clearing on one of the beaches close to the village of Montezuma where we were staying. Our yoga teacher Dagmar gave us the tip and it was pretty amazing - we walked for about 30 minutes up the beach into the National Park to find this perfect clearing just in from the beach where locals had set up food stalls and artists had installed their own creations - pretty amazing!

Monkeys Make Me This Happy!!

So after having taken more than enough photos of these little fellas at the waterfall - and then racing back to grab Andrea so she could come and see them - I was amazed to find that the whole troupe was making its way back up into the forested hills behind the waterfall right past our bungalow!! Scarcely able to help myself I found some corn chips to offer to the stragglers to ensure more photographic evidence - presented forthwith!

More Monkeys!!

As I said, we both became very fond of the monkeys - seemingly like all western travellers to this part of the world. Probably my highlight of the whole trip occured chasing a small troupe of monkeys through the most beautiful tropical forest as I broke off the path of the Monetezuma waterfall in an attempt to photograph these monkeys after I had disturbed them drinking from the creek. Just amazing! The little buggers would always break off at the last minute just as I was about to snap the most perfect photograph - then of course than would stop just out of range and clamber up a tree and screech at me! Later, long after having given up on this fool's errand, I came across the full troupe at the entrance to the waterfall trail, being fed by a local for the amusement of all assembled (mostly tourists!). So I had the last laugh taking upwards of 100 photos as the full troupe scrambled about all over the place begging for bananas and nuts! What an amazing day!!

Costa Rica Celebrations

As usual, it has taken me some time to come down from the holiday high to begin to document said adventures in this fair archive. Costa Rica was simply beautiful as these photos will attest - a magic mix of far north queensland tropical wonders; Byron Bay hippie wierdness and central American novelty. The locals were fantastically friendly though of course we seemed to end up meeting more travellers and ex-pats at the beach we stayed at. Still we did yoga everyday at the on-site studio; we ate the most fantastic local organic vegetarian food; we swam, read books and generally lazed around. Apart from a couple of longish walks and the yoga, we did little to disturb our lazy summertime vibe across the whole ten days. A more relaxing, restorative and mojo-enhancing holiday I can scarcely remember! So much fun, though as usual I'll let the pix speak for themselves. Let's start with my record of the local menagerie of tropical beasts both fair and feral! We saw plenty of mad, feral monkeys in India but the local Costa Rica variety are another proposition again! We both loved them on their nightly visits through the forests right outside our bungalow, that is until the little bastards broke into our room one afternoon whilst we were at the beach and made off with a king's ransom of granola bars!