Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Playa Buena Vista and a Birthday Party - Saturday 4-4-2009

All photos in this post are from Juan.
Mid-afternoon, six of us take Clark's rented SUV down a gravel road to Playa Buena Vista, a hidden beach that one of the locals who is friends with Brian takes us to. The road takes us past small houses and ranches. We pass cows standing by the side of the road unattended. Clark’s rented SUV crosses a shallow river with ease. We follow the gravel road through a dark forest, with large trees that block the sunlight. Large potholes and ditches make for a rough ride. Blind corners keep Clark’s attention while he curses about this ridiculous road cutting through the middle of nowhere. After twenty minutes, we reach a dirt parking lot. We walk to the beach. This beach is short, ended on each side by a steep cliff and rocky tide pools, but wide. The beach leads down to the ocean very gradually, where strong waves crash loudly. Small crabs skitter quickly across the sand. There are no people on this beach on this beach but the six of us. There aren’t even the footprints of other people. The local girl who guided us here leads us to the tidepools. We climb gingerly on the sharp rocks. We find starfish, urchins, and small fish that dart from pool to pool. We stop to take pictures.

Stepping off the rocks, I walk with the other five back to the beach where I put my things down and hit the water. Tall, long, dark blue, beautifully symmetrical waves crash around me. The strength of the currents surprises me several times and I stop body surfing, content to wade as deep as my shoulders. The water here is slightly cooler than at Playa Samara. The setting sun, casting its fading golden light, also cools things down.
Later that night, the hostel heads to Las Palmitas, a quarter mile east on the dirt road directly in front of Casa Brian. Tonight, Brian's friend is celebrating his birthday and we are all invited. On the walk over, I talk to Tyler from Boston. He's been in town for several months attending the local massage school and knows Brian and Leonie. The hostel folks combine several small tables into one long table and we all sit together at the restaurant. I talk with Tyler and Clark much of the night. Clark tells me that long-term travel will delay but not solve my problems. Getting away is a good idea, he concedes, but being away from months at a time might not lead to any important revelations. I start thinking about searching for a less demanding job in finance upon my return home instead a of the clean break from my past that I envisioned at the beginning of this trip. For dinner, I order Sopa de Mariscos, a spicy seafood soup with shellfish, fish, and squid for 4,300 colones (about $8.50)
After dinner, the group heads to Barracuda, a large, upscale, modern bar on a small hill at the opposite end of Samara's main street from the ocean. Barracuda is famous. Several years ago, Tracy Chapman played here while Sting was in the audience. The club used to broadcast musical performances by internationally famouse artists on Costa Rican television. Barracuda burned down several years ago under questionable circumstances (the cause was officially recorded as lightning, though Brian implied lightning wasn't the true cause) and then rebuilt. The club's current claim to fame is a mechanical bull that patrons can ride for 1,000 colones ($2). I don't ride it, though several other folks from Casa Brian do. I spend the night watching the bull riders, and talking to the people I know. At 2:00AM, I walk back to the hostel.

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