It's funny because in a way Costa Rica seems like a distant memory. But if I think really hard, I can remember it. And let me tell you what; it was an amazing experience. I've never taken a trip like that by myself and it was transformative. The journey there was a long one but it was well worth the hours and the exhaustion. I stayed in Malpais which is a tiny town in the south west part of the country. I flew to Miami and then to San Jose which is the capital of Costa Rica from there I switched to a small regional airline called Sensa. The Sensa airport was nothing more than a waiting room with a TV playing Law & Order and about twenty plastic chairs. As I sat there for my two hour layover I stared at each of my fellow waiters wondering who might also be on my trip. I knew, at this point, there were only three other people coming so I scanned the crowd for ladies about my age who looked like they might be the surfing type. I had a few contenders picked out and this at least filled the time before my flight was called.
In my head I was picturing a thirty seater plane, no big deal. Well. It was much smaller than that, my friends. In total, the plane held 14 people. And wouldn't you know it, I ended up in the front row RIGHT behind the pilots. I could see all of the navigational tools and maps and it was truly terrifying. (see visual reference)
Once I got over the initial fear of plummeting to my watery grave in this tiny death trap of a plane, I relaxed and decided it was probably okay to go ahead and look out the window. Good thing I did because the view was quite spectacular.
The tiniest airplane ever flew for about forty minutes taking us from San Jose (the capitol) to Tambor. We landed on what was just a dirt road in the middle of a big clearing (once I spotted the dirt-road-runway from the air I definitely saw my life flash before me eyes). But we landed and I was (shockingly) still alive. Hooray. The airport on the other side consisted of two long benches and a coke machine.
There was a man with a Pura Vida Adventures (the name of the company hosting my trip) sign so I stepped forward and greeted him. One of the girls I had pegged as a fellow surf learner followed me. But then, I saw a couple step forward and they had a kid a with them. Um. What? I was immediately confused and I figured I had the wrong trip name. But I confirmed and I did not. In a surprise twist that no one saw coming not only was one half of the trip a couple. But they also had brought their toddler in tow.
Oh goodness this was not at all what I had pictured.
So we all climbed in the taxi for the 1 hour ride to Malpais and I silently freaked out about how awful this entire trip would be. And I prayed to the surf camp gods that I got along well with the lone other single traveler or else this was going to be a very, very long week. And can you believe that all this was before we even got there. Stay tuned for more tomorrow.