I still have yet to find a place in this tiny little village where you can upload pictures. The internet out here is a relatively new thing and it is very expensive to use and not very fast. But, I will make it my goal for the week to get some of these great pictures I have from Puerto Viejo up on the net.
This place is pretty wonderful, the pace of life is so amazingly relaxed. They really live the Pura Vida out here. People are generally nice, the scenery is amazing and everyone feels happy for the most part. There is some pretty terrible poverty as well and a lot of petty crime, but for the most part, people here tend to be pretty happy with life and the world in general.
I have been spending my free time with some fantastic people and we have been snorkeling on the reef here, sharing stories from our home countries and putting in a lot of beach time. We have also been having potlucks at night which have been great fun. Every person or couple cooks something from their home country and then we all share. We have been calling them family dinners and it has been really nice to sit down to a big, well cooked meal with all kinds of foods we would not normally eat. We also all went cliff diving which was great fun. We swam out to a little island, climbed up it and jumped off of various cliffs into the water below. It is something I have always loved to do, but I never fail to get a kick out of the fear and then thrill of overcoming that fear people get when doing it for the first time. Some of the jumps were pretty big too, as high as 40 or more feet.
After dinner we usually head down to a bar that is not really a bar but a collection of plastic tables and chairs on the beach for some beers where locals put on fire shows for tips and regae music sets the mood, or we hang out at the hostel we are staying at called Rocking J´s which is a really interesting place. Essentially it is a collection of hammocks, tents, treehouses and bunkbeds right on the beach with a little bar and restaurant attached to it. The entire thing is covered in mosaics and paintings from the various guests that have stayed there, which really gives the place a cool, unique look.
I also started volunteering to work with the local Bri Bri kids, which has turned out to be a pretty eye opening experience for me. I wanted to volunteer in Africa, but it costs an insane amount of money, the cheapest I found was 3 grand for a month. Here it is free to volunteer and you get a bowel of soup every day as well which suits me fine! I have just started this week so I am still getting adjusted to everything, but so far it has really been a good thing for me. The Bri Bri live in what we would call extreme poverty, less than 1 US dollar a day for the household income. They walk as much as 4 hours through the jungle to get to the center (which is really just a super nice older American couple´s home) to get food and schooling for the kids as well as get small loans to help give them a leg up out of poverty.
The kids and their families are extremely nice, hard working and friendly. I think this will be a great experience for me and I hope I will be able to help some people and bring some greater amount of happiness to their lives as well. I have heard some pretty terrible stories about things that go on in some of the Bri Bri homes, but I will wait until I get some more info before I report anything that may not be true.
So, all is well out her eon the road, and I am very happy and unbelievably relaxed and stress free right now. Until next time!