So sorry I have been seemingly MIA for the last week and a half. We didn't have internet for a while there so I was unable to do much in the way of updates. Everything is still going smoothly here. We were even asked to stay a while longer at EcoVida, and we accepted. Our original plan was to stay until the 23rd, and now we have extended it to the 27th when we will catch a bus back to San Jose and continue our adventures from there. During the last 10 days we have spent most of our time at the beach.  And what a wonderful beach we have! The sand, I have learned, is black from volcano ash which I find pretty cool. It is the softest sand you will ever squeeze your toes through, I guarantee that. With no internet we went old school and got books from our little library here at EcoVida to do research on our next stops, as well as some leisure reading. I took myself out to the beach one day and sat for hours, reading my book with no one else in sight. It is such a peculiar feeling to look out and not see one single soul in any direction.

One day Vince and I decided to take boogie boards out into the ocean, and I'm sure we looked like an absolute mess.  Maybe something that resembled a wet cat paddling wildly though the ocean. We had no idea what we were doing and I finally gave up because I was tired of the embarrassment. We decided we better consult ther experts.  Our friends David and Agus, who have showed us the ropes on many things around here, also took the time to teach us how to properly boogie board.  Sure enough the next time we went out, we got the hang of it after a while. Unless you have experienced it, it is hard to explain the euphoria you feel when your body gets carried away on the top of a wave. You feel the power surrounding you and you become one with the ocean for that short period of time as you let it carry you to shore. It makes me want to learn to surf, but then I remind myself I am painfully uncoordinated and that might not be the best idea. 

Vincent is learning how to use my camera. The photos of me in this post were taken by him!

I also FINALLY got a few photos of the macaws- or lapas as the Ticos call them here. It took quite a bit of patience and a bit of luck, but in the end I succeeded! Check out the tye dye underbellies of these guys! How awesome! I learned that they always fly in pairs because they mate for life. Once they find their partner they stay with them for their entire lifespan. If their parter dies, is sold into captivity, or otherwise separated from them, they will never find another partner for as long as they live. I always think of that every time I see them soaring together. I guess they really are love birds.

Another highlight (NOT) of the past week is that I developed an allergic reaction to something that was unknown for quite a while. It started on Monday with bumps around my mouth. I had never had cold sores before, and even though it didn't quite resemble that I made the trek into the city to get some cold sore medicine. 2 hours, 2 pharmacies, and $45 later we return. Now, let's fast forward about 3 days. My lips are still not better and it's beginning to spread to the outside of my cheeks. I decide if I can't get any relief soon I need to make a trip to the doctor.   The next morning I wake up with a horrible poison ivy-like rash all over my body, my left eye is almost swollen shut, and I look about as miserable as I feel. I'll spare you the photos on this one. This pretty much guarantees me a doctor visit. David offered to take me into town on his motor bike since it is so much faster than taking the bus, plus I had someone to help me translate. It was very kind for him to offer and I was so grateful I had his help once we got there! The one good thing about this is that I now get to say I got to ride on the back of a boy's motorcycle through a foreign country- which is every girls secret dream right? Thanks Hilary Duff. 

The doctor thought the rash may have been caused by either the sun, or a mysterious plant I touched. She told me to stay away from the normal foods that cause allergic reaction- milk, nuts, etc. and gave me a cream and some pills, then sent me on my way. A couple more days pass and my swelling is gone and rash is still there. I watch what I eat but continue my normal routine. In conversation, I mentioned my curious dilemma to my dear friend Kate, and she of course takes it upon herself to find out exactly what is wrong with me, because that is just the kind of person she is. Even when it was her birthday, and she had a million other things she could be doing, she and her husband took the time to figure out what they could do to help me. Hours later, in the middle of the night I get a text saying her husband figured out what it was. My precious mangos were the ones making me sick! I had continued eating them while taking my medication which is why I wasn't getting any better. Turns out the skin of a mango has the same chemical in it that poison ivy has in it, called urushiol. I am highly allergic to poison ivy so this all made complete sense. It has been about a week since all of that started and I'm now fully healed! 

Also in the past week I found out my "fee-free" debit card had been frozen, even though I put a travel notice on it. I couldn't call them because we had no wifi and my regular calling costs 20 cents per minute. Luckily I was prepared for that sort of thing and have several different bank accounts and debit/credit cards set up for me incase that happened. Since our wifi got fixed  I have been on the phone with them 4 different times and the card is still not working. Charles Schwab I am not happy with you! 

Needless to say, this week was somewhat challenging for us. I was on edge because I didn't feel good, we had no internet which meant very little to no contact with my family (which is exactly who I want to talk to when I don't feel good), and my bank was- is - being a major pain in my butt. I guess it has just served as a friendly reminder to me that life still happens even when you're off galavanting in a foreign country having the time of your life. 

We did get to end the week on a positive note. We had an asado with David, Agus, our bosses (Shannon and Dave), and got to make some new friends as well. To be honest I'm not totally sure what a typical Costa Rican BBQ would be like, because we always like David to cook his traditional Argentinean way. We put whole vegetables on the grill and also chicken. They did mention that in Argentina it would usually be beef that they cook, but here the beef is not as good so we typically use chicken. They make fun of us for liking skinless, boneless and "tasteless" chicken as they call it. Here we throw whole leg quarters of chicken on the grill and man oh man is it good! They include lots of veggies we wouldn't typically think of barbecuing- potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, and carrots to name a few. The carrots have become one of my favorite veggies off the grill because they have some sweetness to them when the come off.  We played cards against humanity- of course a crowd favorite, and listened to some drunken karoke. A good time was definently had by all!

Vince's iPhone shot of the spread!

It's hard to believe we are leaving Bejuco in 7 days. It has gone by so quickly! I have a couple more blog posts lined up for before we leave so stay tuned! 

Adventure on and Pura Vida!