Well, here we are in Costa Rica and I feel like I ma in a dream. I sat next to a French speaking couple and it reminded me that I need to brush up on my French vocabulary! They were very sweet.
I flew over the Florida Keys and Cuba, though Cuba was mostly obscured due to the clouds. It seemed a bit like an omen. :) The color of the blues and the greens in the water in the Keys was breathtaking. We flew by Jamaica and Haiti, and I would like to travel there some day. We'll see!
We were super lucky at the Newark Airport. There had been a security breech a few days ago and it has delayed flights ever since. We got the last three seats on our flight because so many people had been bumped from their flights. A group of German tourists had waited one day due to a missed connection (related to the breech) and were told they'd have to wait another day to make it to Costa Rica. So unfair for them.
The mountains were so green and lush and imposing as we touched down in San Jose. This place has incredible beauty. After our friend, Charles, picked us up we took a half-hour drive to Ciudad Colon to the University for Peace, where we'll stay for a couple of days. We hiked up a 1,000 meter (3,000 foot) mountain with a group of grad students who are studying sustainable agriculture and international affairs through American University in Washington, D.C. One of the guys found a monkey skull and he showed us a bouganvillea bush as well as a Chai plant, known as the Sensitive plant in the U.S. because the leaves fold up when you touch it. So cool.
At the top of the mountain we saw a rainbow and a waterfall in the distance. We were so high up we could see part of San Jose, which was a half hour away by car! We also saw two volcanoes, Poas and Barva. A volcano erupted here recently, but nothing major. We do have to watch out for earthquakes. Since it's the dry season we won't have to worry about mudslides, though Charles did show us a number of places where roads were blocked or even washed out due to severe rain and mud. The drop offs, with no guard rails, put your heart in your throat! Even on our hike I was shocked by how tremendously steep it was off the path.
Something else we need to watch out for is scorpions. We have to shake out our shoes in the morning since one of the cabins had them. I told Antonio we should stuff the shoes with socks to keep them out!