A Travellerspoint blog

Learning Through Others

Boquete, a lovers' quarrel, and bbq time

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One of my main goals on this journey is to learn about myself and be honest with who I really am. My reflection on Costa Rica was not me as an outsider of the US, but from my perspective of life and culture in my country and life. Just having the distance helps achieve that, as well as seeing other cultures and interractions of people from around the world.

I headed out of David yesterday on an old school bus for an hour trip to the town of Boquete. Along the way, we stopped and picked up kids that traveled on these busses to get to the various schools on the route. You can always recognize them as they all wear uniforms. From what I've seen, most of the schools have one classroom per grade and are pretty small. I ate outside one in David and observed them interacting and socializing much as we do at home. The facilities were pretty basic and they didn't have a water fountain so they huddled around the outside faucet. Oh, I did also see a girl on a cell phone, haha.

Arrived in the mountain town of Bouqete, at the base of an inactive volcano, and instantly liked it. Apparently, the town was featured in a magazine as a great place to retire so there are a large number of ranches and gated communities here but it still maintains a very local feel.

I checked into the Mamallena Hostel (picked it because they have free pancakes) and headed to the place across the street to eat. The ladies serving the food laughed at me as I tried just about everything they had. Afterwards I took a nice stroll through town to check it out. I was very impressed that even though there was obvious signs that it was developing, the were not re-developing everything, just integrating into the existing infrastructure.

I headed to the patio to do some reading and couldn't help but to over hear a couple having a bit of a spat. From what I could tell, he was upset because she called him selfish and he didn't like being labeled that, even thoug he admitted to doing selfish things. Two things crossed my mind: how could you have a bad day in a beautiful place like this and why is it so hard to be honest about who you are?

I reflected on the few low moments I've had on this journey and realized that we cannot control the low moments we have from time to time, but we are in complete control over letting that emotion spill into the next moment. For every moment of despair, there is a subsequent moment of redemption that is always there if we chose to seize it..or you can allow a moment to ruin a day, or life. Lesson learned!

Secondly, I realized that the honest words and advice that we get from others hurts the most when they are the truth. The important thing to realize, as told to me by one of my mentors, is that it is important to make sure those people are the ones who truley love you and have your best interests at heart. He explained we can only achieve so much through introspection as we will always tend to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. With this advice in mind, I am striving to get as far as I can as far as being brutally honest about who I am on this journey.

One of my best tools so far is looking at the relationships I have with the people close to me and make sure that my actions and words are in line with my inner feelings and intentions. I have always been great at 'toug love' but am realizing that genuine love is much more pure. I show that love in a variety of ways, with the best intentions, but find myself in a defensive posture or always making sure that it is a two-way street. But I'm starting to realize that giving without expectation is something that I (we?) seek everyday. I expect people to respect me first, so that I may respect but where does that leave me in the end? Sorry but there is no easy or cute fix I've found yet but I seek to find a better way!

The hostel was throwing a BBQ for $5 so I signed up, as there was 30people already in and it sounded fun. I had my dorm room to myself but came back to meet my 2 new dormmates, sisters from connectcuit who were traveling together. I headed out to the BBQ and found a seat between a French Canadian and 2 medical students from England (one was polish and the other Iranian.) Dinner was amazing! A fresh salas with lots of green and red peppers, pasta salad, bread, chicken and 2 kinds of pork! A good taste of home with a Panamanian touch.

I skipped the after party and called it a night. Had some great pancakes and coffee this morning. Still looking to take a hike but need a little sleep as the partiers kept me up.

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Posted by DondeNathan 09:47 Archived in Panama Tagged boquete learning quarrel introspection Comments (8)

Costa Rica, a Reflection

La Gente, Respeto, and a new Voyage

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After leaving Costa Rica, I've been thinking a lot about my experiences there with the people (la gente), the cultue and the economic climate. 8 years ago, I spent 2 weeks there and had the time of my life. The culture was rich, people were nice, and food/accomadations.
The people and culture: Con much respeto. That's a good way to summarize the Ticos. They have a lot of pride and hold themselves to a high standard. I stayed at hostels with a hundred people sharing bathrooms and showers and never saw a filthy or almost filthy toilet or shower. It's not like a hotel where people clean because it's their job or because they have to, the Ticos do it because that's their way of life. I saw people outside shacks, sweeping their broken concrete. Yes there are bugs buts it's due to the climate and what's important to them. They don't have screens, the windows have glass slats and inevitably in a tropic climate bugs will some in. But they don't mind because that money they would spend to get screens installed would come out of the food in their mouths so who needs it?
I can't say that I ever saw a child who was crying hysterically, hitting, being rude, or acting out. They are raised here to be respectful and do what it takes. Whether thst means, sitting on a bus for 6 hours without bribes of candy and toys, dvds, electronics, the kids sat quetly and behaved. It's so reassuring that in the world we live in, there are still places where kids are satisfied with getting only what they need in life and are raised to show and have respect.
Even as crazy as they drive here, people are just focused on getting where they need to go. When someone is slowing you down on the PanAmerican highway and you pass them, the are no dirty looks, middle fingers or road rage, just respect for other drivers. Even in towns with litttle or no traffic control, in what seems to be chaos, there are no wrecks because people will slow down (not stop), to let someone cut in front or cross a packed street.
The economy: this is not the Rica I came to 8 years ago. Tourism has definitely taken over this once hidden oasis. Last time I came, I paid no more that $8 for a room and $5 for a meal (and I'm talking at the high end.) Case-in-point, La Fortuna; it was, by far, my favorite city during my last visit. The people were genuine, atmosphere very laid back and a Pura Vida town to the heart! We played soccer with the locals in a field, stayed at La Choza Inn for $5 and learned Central American checkers with some locals in the lobby. Now I hear you can't get off the bus without being pulled to one of the many hotel...oh and they have a Burger King! I looked up La Choza and they now have a website and charge $34 dollars for a room. That is all and fine for the tourists, but what about the locals?? How are the Ticos supposed to maintain a quality of life with so much economic change? My fear is that this new found 'wealth' and capitalism will only lead to separating economic classes and, inevitably, poverty. Even sadder is that the people who are profiting the most are westerners and europeans who own the properties and running the tours. It's important to look around and see the backlash from the money we 'work' for and the lives we live. I've said enough.

Decided to stick around in David another day today. There's not much to see or do here but I'm trying to save some $ so it's a good place to chill and relax. Got some laundry done today, what a relief!! You will never understand unless you have been on the road, living out of your backpack, with no great way to keep dirty and clean seprate, not knowing the next time you can wash them. $3 was well worth it!

Tomorrow I'm headed to Boquette, apparently a mountain town with some coffee plantations, hot springs, and some other things to do. I haven't been doing much as far as excursions as Costa Rica was expensive and I need to watch my means ($) to keep this journey going but am going to start looking to do more.

Oh yeah, had the 'filete' again and was not disappointed!

Until the next moment my friends...

Posted by DondeNathan 18:41 Archived in Panama Tagged culture reflection filete ticos boquette Comments (4)

Finding my limits...and moving them *fish update*

Good bye Costa Rica, bribery, and new places

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Had a great bowl of black bean soup last night at the hotel restaurant, over looking the busy Sunday night crowd of locals a la plaza central. Had to follow it up with some trec leches, muy rico!

Decided to take a shower and was happy to see that they had a handle for hot water, this is promising! I was looking for a place to put my stuff and found that I was not alone. There were a couple bugs joining me, quite un-nerving! I hurried through my shower with no warm water, trying to avoid my new friends, only to find at the end that I didn't turn the nozel far enough too get warm water, boo! Regardless, I felt refreshed and got situated in my room. There had been some ants in my room that I was evading all day so I did a quick scan to make sure they hadn't found my stuff when I saw the biggest cockroach of my life chillin on my backpack!! After the massacre I had my first "I need my momma moment" :( Did a thorough check of the room and finally coaxed myself to sleep.

I read about the Trapuco bus dirctly to David, so I got up early to secure a ticket for the noon bus. The guy informed me that they didn't have a bus to David and told me I couldn't buy a ticket to la frontera (boarder) until 8, not really knowing what time I was leaving. I didn't have enough vocab to argue so I went back to the hotel, packed up and headed back. Paid $8 for a ticket and found out I was leaving in 15min. Grabbed a hearty Snickers for breakfast and was on my way. Long gone are the days of relaxing on the bus as I never know when and where to get off so I have to keep my eyes and ears open always.

I'd heard to expect a 2-3 hour process. I made my way into the customs office to a room full of people, and a lady calling off names, semingly random. After being assured I was in the right place, she noticed me and handed me the customs form. The room cleared and I was the only one there. We started chatting a bit in spanish as she helped me fill out my form. Next was the bag inspection. I popped open my backpack and shevpulled out the Starburst Jellybeans I brought from home. After some questioning, she asked to try them and I obliged. The smile on her face was priceless as she shared with the other agents. That secured my passage through customs! I forgot to get my exit stamp from Costa Rica so I went back to ask her and said she'd only do it for some more :) Walked and talked through the rest and was through in less than 30minutes!

Jumped a small bus to David for $3 (back to US$ again). Got a cab to the Bambu hostel. Was welcomed at the gate and got situated. A nice place in a good part of town for $8.80. Hadn't eaten all day and it was getting late so I went to the seafood place directly across the street, you would miss it if it weren't for the 'Panama' (name of the beer in panama) sign out front.

I ordered a beer and asked for a menu, only to find out they only served fish fillet, not a big fish fan at all but I was starving. While I waited I took a minute to take it all in once again. Small place that most likely doubles as their house, locals, sun setting, plam trees outside, the smell and sound of fresh food cooking with spanish news on. **UPDATE** Best fish I've had in my life!!! It was breaded and fried with some kind of sauce and fresh cucumbers. I savored every bite! It was only $3 and .60 for a beer. Already planning on eating it again tomorrow!

Cockroaches and all, this is what this journey is about for me. I came here to see new things, taste new food, meet people and find out what I'm made of...and I've done that every day. I have had moments where I was ready to turn around and go home, and I would feel accomplished if I did, but this is what I came for and I need the lows to help me remember that! Looking forward to the next moment, only after I enjoy this one! Todo bien amgos!

Over 2,000 hits and counting. Your support keeps me going and inspires me to push harder. Our deams can become reality if we dare to live them!

Posted by DondeNathan 17:46 Archived in Panama Tagged fish dream david lows cockroach trapuco momma Comments (8)

Finding my Way

Doing what I do, just in another country

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(title inspired/stolen from a comment)The california girls finally woke up and said they were headed to La Fortuna, my favorite town the last time I was here but I've heard it has been overrun by tourism. I got on the internet for a while looking for where to go next but was pretty tired...nap time! Slept for an hour or so and hit the internet again, looking for a town to go to that wasn't full of backpackers and was a little more laid back.

I've always wanted to go to Buenos Aires so Buenos Aires Costa Rica sounded great! I had a hard time finding any hostels there as all my google results kept coming up for Argentina. Still tired, so I took another nap.

I had been wanting to send a few things home to lighten the load so I unpacked everything and decided I didn't need a fleece sweateer, sweats, my Chuck Taylors, and a few other things. Next task was finding out how to send them. Looked at ups and fedex and they were charging more than my stuff was worth so I did some research on the post office.

It was too late to get there so I headed out to the bank and to find something to eat. The bank was closed, next to eat?! Decided to go for something new and try El Churches Chicken on the corner (yes, the same one.) I hadn't eaten all day so it was good to put down some all american calories...and the root beer was a great bonus!

Later, I chatted up the tour coordinator/consierge type guy and he said buenos aires was a small native town with little or no accomidations but recommended San Isidro as a good option. He also tolf me where to find the post office and that it was opened on Saturday. I checked the bus schedule and there were busses leaving regularly all day.

Hung out for a while at the hostel, met David, a south korean from france who was a cpa and just traveled while working. Talked a little Tour de France with an Australian and headed to bed early.

Woke up and headed out to the correo postal (post office). Got a little lost out of the gate but found my bearings and headed in the right direction. Got a little lucky as the post office was right next to the tallest building in San Jose. I felt at home walking downtown and didn't stick out so much since I didn't have my backpack.

Got to the post office and they didn't have any boxes for sale, damn! I did what I would do at home, I walked around, scoping out the stores and vendors fo an empty box. I eventually found one and headed back. When I got there, the guy who was helping me before said it was too big and went to the back. He appeared a few seconds later with a perfect box, haha. Filled the forms and paid $40, should get there in 2weeks to a month, if at all. Was looking for somewhere to eat and ran into a Swiss guy who was doing the same, so we found somewhere and ate together. Had the gallo ponto total and a cup of coffee that was so strong, I couldn't finish it!

Packed up and got a taxi. Was a litte worried if I was at the right place as there were zero backpackers at the station and some cities have the same name. Got a ticket and waited 2 hours for the bus. Just like at home, I observed the pattern of when people would line up in relation to departure as there was no announcement.

Got on the bus, hopefully headed to where I intended to go. Was relieved when we got in and I recognized the name of a town that was nearby when I looked on the map. Got off the bus and now needed somewhere to stay. I asked one of the 5 cabbies who wanted to give me a ride fo a hostel and was directed down the street. After finding only hotels, I slipped into an internet cafe. I didn't find anything so I decided to go back to the last hotel and get whatever they had. Found a room with shared banos for 7000 colones ($14) which was what I was paying before. Was so happy to see that I had my own room, with a fan, tv and cable!!

This is exactly the kind of place I was looking for. A small town, with almost zero tourists. There is a great plaza outside with a big church where people hang out. Haven't heard any english or seen any backpackers except for 2 girls on my floor.

I haven't talked much about hostel life so far so I'll shed a little light. The cheapest way is dorms, where you are given a pillow case, sheets, a blanket and a small locker for valuables. The last one I was at had 8 beds. People are generally pretty respectful but they are coming and going all nite and day so there is zero privacy and had to sleep through the night. All facilities are shared. I do have to say that the bathrooms and facilities are always clean.

You may or may not know, but you can't flush your toilet paper here, as the septic system can't support it. Something to get used to but not too bad after awhile. Also, a warm (not hot) shower is a rarity. I did notice that you are more likely to get a little warm water at night. It's not too bad in this climate but a warm shower is always nice.

Treated myself to a grilled steak dinner and a beer for $9. Took a stroll throug the main plaza after dinner and headed back to the room to watch some movies through the archos on my TV.

I just finished breakfast and will probably stay here another day. The plan is to head to David Panama tomorrow as long as I can get a bus ticket. Not sure when, if ever on this trip I'll have my own room so going to enjoy it.

The emails ans comments keep me going when I'm feeling lost so keep them coming!
Happy Sunday and Pura Vida my friends!!

Posted by DondeNathan 08:27 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged san way la david isidro gente Comments (6)

Where the wind blows (update)

New friends, new direction


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After a long day and a lot of emotion, I threw my blanket on my dorm bed and headed to the computer to write to you all and upload some pics. A girl sat next to me and I started talking to her. Lisa is Japanese and lives in New York. I told her she was the first Asian i've seen on my travels.

The lady next to me asked to use my pen and I let her. She got up to get a beer and offered to get me one as it was happy hour. I picked up the next round.

Finally got off the computer and was chilling and started talking to some California girls who had been here for a week.

Gave some advise to some girls from Denmark about how to do La Fortuna.

The California girls just met Lisa the other day when her friend backed out on coming to CR and she was alone, they have been traveling together for a couple days. They asked me if I wanted to go to Montezuma with them tomorrow...so away I go!

Hope you like the pics I posted. I have more but not the time to upload. Was going to do it in the morning but we're leaving at 430.

Another adventure begins!

---the ladies slept so we´re still here. They are headed to la fortuna, not sure if i want to go there. Going to check my options and figure it out. Would like to send some stuff home today to lighten the load

Uploaded all the pics i have, check em out and comment!

Posted by DondeNathan 19:12 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged new fun montezuma wind blown Comments (4)

Jump, Jump

Memories, parting, vandalized, going broke...REDEMPTION!

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Tuesday night Phillip and I were hanging out at the hostel and talking to Andy, a local and his Argentine girlfriend. He offered to take us out on the bay in his boat so we got in with a couple others and headed out. The sky was clean and it was awesome being out there looking a la isla de Colon, main island in Bocas. We decided to head to one of the clubs that was about a block away from the hostel...by boat! we pulled up in the back and I walked off of the boat directly into the club, what an entrance!! Earlier Andy offered to take us snorkeling and spear fishing the next day for $15 if we could get some more people to come with us. We met a girl from California who was interested and found a few others.

I was standing there and recognized some girls who we rode into Bocas with that morning. The didn´t talk much on the ride and we were going to sit with them at lunch but they were reading. At the moment I saw them at the club, one came up to me and said ´i know you probably think we were being not friendly this morning and now we´re drunk and acting crazy´ (actually EXACTLY what I was thinking). She went on to explain that they had a bad experience in Puerto Viejo and were having a bad day but decided to move on and have a good time. Good reminder that I need to stay on top of it at all times!

Me and Philip were standing there and he said something to the effect of ´´ Wow man, we are in the Carribean, in Panama, on and island. The moon is shining on the water. This is amazing!´ I told him ´That is what i´m here for, to be able to be able to be in the moment and take everything in at all times!´ Since I met him, I hadn´t really shared too much about my journey as he was now a part of it and it wasn´t important to talk about. A day or so ealier I showed him my blog and he started to read it so he was beginning to understand a little more about this American who he´d been traveling with.

The next day we got up to meet Andy and the others at 9am. I had a couple handfulls of chex mix for breakfast and headed downstairs. Philip came down and told me that we´d been vandalized!! The ants had penetrated our peanut butter and we had to throw it away :( We later discovered that the honey didn´t make it either! Guess I better start using the ziplocks i brought!

We waited and no one showed. The couple who were in our dorm, de Chili, told Philip they were going dolphin watching and invited us to go, and we did. It was the best $15 i´ve spent so far! We saw a couple of dolphins, but nothing like when i lived in Mexico when I was younger...but still cool. We then went to do some snorkeling in ´God´s aquarium,´ went to the beach on a different island, and did some more snorkeling (i got some good underwater pics).

Philip had been in contact with Johann from Germany, whom we met at Rockin J´s, and decided to stick around in Bocas and check out scuba diving. We met Johan and Sonia, his german friend who had just arrived, for a good cheap ($4) meal of arroz con beans, platacones y pollo. Muy rico, as I was starving! We took care of our ride, grabbed some beers and chilled on the second-floor balcony of our hostel. Not sure why but there were at least 3 different sets of people who stopped to check us out and take pics!

The party was supposed to be at the Aqua Lounge on a different island so we took a water taxi with a bunch of people about 1/4 mile across the bay. I could get used to arriving by boat! The place was cool, they had 2 ´pools´cut out and of course it didn´t take long for some crazy california girls to jump in.

Whenever I´ve traveled before, i have always been disappointed that I only hear american music but am starting to realize that everyone listens to it and it is truely global. As a result, everywhere I go, i hear mainly the songs that I hear at home and they always bring back memeories of my ¨old life¨ but at the same time they connect me to where i´m at now. Old memories of what used to be and now new memories of where i am, physically and mentally. I Want To Dance with Somebody by Whitney Houston came on and me and Sonia told me that it reminded her of when she was 13 and had a boyfriend and they kissed to the song...and now she had a new memory of Bocas Del Torro.

¨Jump, Jump. The daddy mack will make you Jump, jump.¨Back in San Jose, when philip and I were waiting for our bus, we somehow started talking music and Kriss Kross came up and we talked about how rediculous they were but so popular. Ironically that song came on in the club and Philip says ´Wow, our travels started talking about this song and now it´s playing as it ends.´

We danced and had a great time at Aqua, until the club got rained out (it was outside mainly), first time that had ever happened to me! We jumped into a water taxi and headed back across to the next spot. I had an early bus to catch and Philip was going to say so we parted with a handshake of solidarity and a Sammy Sosa chest bump. During this trip, and already, i´ve met so many people that have become a part of my journey. Some I will only know for only a minute, Sandeep, some for a day or an hour and some will become life long friends. I´ve decided that I will not be sad when we depart as I need to appreciate the time i´ve had with them and know that sadness is an emotion that clouds the great things that these people have and will give me. (Nicole, i hope you are not crying)

Got a few hours of sleep and woke up at 7. I packed yesterday and it was the most effortless time i´ve had so far! Starting to figure out how to stay organized and keep things simple. I scoped out a panaderia (bakery) the day before so I headed down and picked up a fresh pastry. It was similar to a coffee cake but totally different at the same time. I tried to savor every bite of this new treat as I walked down the main road back to the hostel, looking around with a feeling of complete freedom. After some debate, i decided that it would be a good idea to get some lunch to take with me so I wouldn´t have to take it with me earlier. I had 20 minutes, so plenty of time. I walked into the store next to us and ordered a jamon y queso sandwich. As she prepared it, I went over and checked out of the hostel. I went back and she was still working on it. Coffee sounded good so I ordered una Cofe. Very long story short, i barely made it to the bus as things take a lot longer here. My sandwich took the whole 20 minutes to prepare and it took at least 5 minutes for her to make my coffee!! Well my friends, it was worth the wait. I was expecting black coffee but got a coffee that was made with milk and two packets of sugar. Best coffee i´ve ever had!

After some confusion, I got on the next boat and sipped my coffee as we rode through the Carribean headed North towards the boarder. I was thinking about going directly to San Jose instead of going to Puerto Viejo first so I was a bit frazzeled when I got in. A cabbie came up to me before i got out of the boat and I started talking to him in spanish about a bus to san jose. I was about to get in his cab when I realized that I left my main backpack in the bus! Thankfully it was waiting for me when I got there.

After an good ride for about 45 minutes, driving again through some awesome Panamanian landscape, having a normal conversation in spanish with the driver and understanding a lot of what they were saying on the radio, i got back to the Costa Rica boarder and made my way back across the sketchy bridge by myself, thankfully finding a place to wait when the fully-loaded semi passed me! As I waited for my bus in the open, empty bus station un viejo (old guy) with brown and blue eyes sat down and started talking to me in spanish for about 10 minutes. He told me that he was 63 and used to be a cowboy but couldn´t work anymore because his back hurt. He told me about his heritage and that he was panamanian and indian and he lived in this town with 2000 people and only about 4 weren´t in poverty. He explained that he had God so he didn´t need much. Then asked for money.

Got on the bus and found myself back in Puerto Viejo picking up people and then back in Limon, I figured out that I hadn´t got the direct bus I was hoping for.

I realized that I only had $11 us and 4000 colones left to my name and started getting a little anxious about my bank card being at the hostel when i got their. I knew it arrived but hadn´t been able to get confirmation that they actually had it. I didn´t have enough money to stay at the hostel if for some reason they didn´t have it so I was looking for a cab who took credit cards. No bueno. I finally found one that would take me for 3000 so I jumped in. We talked for a few minutes before I got here and was almost scared to ask for my package as I didn´t want them to tell me they didn´t have it. I walked up the stairs and was greeted by the same guy who was here when I arrived last week. I told him in spanish that they had a package and he seemed a little lost. I looked behind the counter and noticed a familiar ups letter envelope. ¨I think it is right there?¨ ¨Nathan Morales?¨ Si!! Yes!!! it was here. Next thing is if I could use my old pin and actually get some cash. Headed to the bank down the street and was able to get money!! Sooo relieved.

I paid for a night here at Costa Rica Backpackers and hope to leave town tomorrow, most likely headed South to a different entry point to panama. (oh, when I checked in, i noticed that 2 girls just got in from Denver so i´m hoping to run into them).

I think we´re over 1500 views so thanks again for your interest. Make sure to subscribe, comment and contact me! Pura Vida un mas tiempo!

UPloaded some pics

Posted by DondeNathan 15:26 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged san panama leaving aqua jose lounge bocas boarder parting Comments (2)

Breathing my life into the fire

Last day in Puerto Viejo and finally my first new country!

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We were getting ready to head to the beach and two new bunk mates arrived. I think one´s name was Ally and the other Sandeep. She had a very calm vibe and instantly felt good around her. She is from Canada and has been traveling for 2 1/2 months, heading north from South America. She also quit her job and started her travels solo until 2 weeks ago. Her and Ally were friends from home but hadn´t talked in a while but reconnected and Ally joined her 2 weeks ago in Panama. She had a lot of good things to say about Boca and said Columbia was amazing so it made me excited to go there. I didn´t talk to her much but got her email and hope to stay in touch. Chilled at the beach for a while but the waves were pretty good and the undertow strong.

We got a few beers in town and found a spot at Rockin J´s. Diego and Adrian de Argentina got back from their day in Cahuita national park and joined us. We talked with them for a long time. It was interesting as they don´t speak much spanish so they were helping me but they made Philip talk to them in english and i did some translating here and there. Diego is a big fan of Argentina soccer and has a tatoo on his shoulder of Diego Maradonas signiature on his shoulder. I busted out the archos and we listened to some songs that Adrian liked, he is a guitar player. He told me that he has 7 brothers and sisters and 20 nieces and nephews. He said at home when they eat, they have to eat in two waves. He asked me about the bandanas that i´d been wearing everyday (mainly due to the humidity). Since we were leaving the next day, I gave him on of my favorite ones before I left.

You may notice that my english and typing is a little off. The typing is mainly due to trying to type on the archos as it´s hard to see what you are typing and fix errors (phone is on the fritz at the moment.) The english part is because i´ve been speaking to philip a lot but make sure that I keep my words and sentences simple so he can understand and also because i have started to think my english sentences in spanish structure. I find myself with these spanish words in my head and I am starting to figure them out and apply them when I talk. I had a dream the other night and was thinking in spanish in my dream, lol!

The fire was starting so Philip, Adrian, y yo headed down there. There were a few people around a guitar and some others just talking. We were staring at the fire and Philip says ¨Fire is the TV of nature, you can watch it for hours.¨Very True!!! Rockin J cam down with a group he´d been sitting with. El eres de Nogales Arizona, y son un chicano also. He started adding some wood to the fire and said ´Bruce Lee´(the bandana), come help me´ I obliged and introduced myself and told him soy de Colorado denver. We put a huge log on the fire that was like 8 feet long or more and he kept putting a bunch of palm leaves and kindle on it. I wasn´t sure how it was going to start as it didn´t have much air. He told everyone that he used to be a firefighter for 7 years and loved making fires the most.

I was sitting there bymyself watching to see how this fire was going to start without any air. Ealier, Rockin J was sitting with that group inside and was showing them something where you shake all the bad energy you have off with your hands then make a ball of your energy with your hands and compact it until you can feel it. As I was by the fire, i remembered the Fire Cermemony my cousin showed me back in Portland and put the 2 together. I shook my hands and made my energy ball. After I had a good one, I brought my hands to my mouth and blew my energy into the fire. I was a good 5 feet away and didn´t blow very hard but within a few seconds, a small flame started only on the side I blew on. WOW! I´m not normally one who is into that kind of stuff but i´ve been trying to do whatever feels right, at the moment i feel it.

Woke up this morning and had a peanut butter and honey roll before our bus arrived. We took a bus down for about 45 minutes to the panamanian boarder. It was just one train track over a bridge and was pretty sketchy as I walked over. When I looked-up, i saw a semi that had just crossed the same bridge, crazy! Did the customs and imigration thing and got on the next bus. The views were pretty amazing but in a different way then costa rica. Didn´t take any pics as i tried to sit back and take it in. Arrived in some town and were hearded to a boat where we loaded our stuff and squeezed it, yes they made us wear life vests. It was like a scene from a movie looking at the boats and stores from the water. As we got out of the ´city´ our boat accelerated and it opened up to an awesome landscape of tropical covered hills on the backdrop of the water. Not sure how long the boat ride was but we got to Bocas del Toro and unloaded out bags. We were greated by Snoop Caribean Dog, a local who was pretty friendly. I told him where i was from and that philip was from and they immediately started talking in German. Apparantly his wife was german so he was fluent.

We headed across the street to Gran Kahuna, a hostel that Sandeep recommended. We were greeted by una amiga de Columbia. She was very nice and checked us into our dorm for $10. We headed to town looking for something to eat, even though we had planned to eat our peanut butter sandwiches today as we heard it was a cheap town. We found a good local place at the advice de Snoop. I got the jerk beef and a lemonade. That was the freshest, best tasting lemonade that i´ve ever had so I had 2! the beef was good but not spicy enough. I was happy to see that they brought us some condiments (not common in Costa Rica) and had some habenero sauce. I miss my spicy food! It was good. I told philip that I like how here you eat when you are hungry and are eating for energy, as apposed to a time or schedule for meals. Not sure where the cheap stuff is here as it was 12.50 for lunch! Here they have dolores de panama...which means US dolars.

We came back to the hostel and I took a much needed nap. When I woke up, philip greeted me with a panamanian beer!

I like the town here as we are staying in the middle of everyone else so there are many locals walking the streets and living their normal lives. The houses here are what some would consider poor but as long as you have food and a place to sleep, how can you be poor? They come up to you and chat, a lot are trying to make some cash but they are friendly.

Introspective question of the day mis amigos: If you don´t have time to return a call, email, or text, or to hug a friend, meet a stranger, tell the people in your life that you love them, what are you living for?

Don´t forget to subscribe to this blog and keep the comments coming. I´ve got over 600 page views on this blog so far so i´m hoping to meet some of you that I don´t know yet.

Todo bueno mis amigos!
This

Posted by DondeNathan 17:46 Archived in Panama Tagged life panama fire de los boca j toros breathing rockin Comments (0)

Let the Feet Lead

Pura vida en la playa

sunny
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Woke up yesterday woke up, paid for another dia en la hamicka and headed to the kitchen with my fresh eggs. Un amigo that was cooking his torttillas fritas. I've seen him making then before and it reminded me of home...not sure why because no one makes them para mio. When he was done, he offered me one and I did eat! It was the size of a doughnut and had a little bit of sugar on it, muy RICO! tasted like a sopapilla.

We decided to head to the beach down the road. We walked for about 15minutes and caught a trail toward the beach. It was pretty and kept my eyes making sure I didn't touch anything. We nade made it to the beach but thought we were at the wrong place because it was still dense but I walked to the left and saw miles of beautiful beach as the waves hit them. I was overcome by the moment and just started to laugh! WOW!

"In this great future, u can't forget the past." No Woman, No Cry was on before I left and I found myself singing it as I walked down the beach. We found a spot and jumped in. The weather was nice and the water was great. The waves were pretty good and some people we're surfing. I used the surfboard my momma gave me and did some bodysurfing.

I was laying on the beach and Estephan de France (met him and los dos othros my first night here) popped up from the surf! We went with him to neet his amigos de rugby. First time throwing the rugby ball? But didn't make the mistake of throwing overhand, I got a little more sense then that!

I was chasing the ball down and got the feeling to run, so I ran. Let my feet take me down the beach like it was my first time. That is the way I sieze the moment!

When we were walking back, two amigas de Swiss we met before rode up en los bicicletas. We chatted as we walked back and decided to chill for a bit. One of them had been studying spanish here so we talked mainly in spanish
. Never thought I'd be walking down the street in CR speaking spanish with a Swiss girl!

We were back at the hostel when we met Buck de Boston. He is a skater for Disney on ice and travels the world with them, cool! We made plans to meet them later for dinner.

Had shrimp cocktail, which was good, y un Cuba Libre. Afterwards we headed over to the Lazy Mon bar for some live music. We ran into, christaino who had been here for 3 days but couldn't find us. They were headed out in the morning so we said goodbye. My friend de las tortikkas fritas was next to me and we talked. He is a friend of my braceket making friend Adrian de Argentina and travels with him. The music was great so I found a spot in front, and introduced myself to Stephanie de Canada.

Today we decided to get a good breakfast so we walked into town and had some rediculously good pancakes de pineapple. They were served with fresh pineapple, watermelon, and strawberries with a sidecar of molasses. Es muy rico.

Made plans to take a trip to bocas del toro in Panama tomorrow. Have to head to san jose to get my bank card but ill figure that out later.

Posted by DondeNathan 18:07 Archived in Costa Rica Comments (6)

Rock me, mamma rock me

No tengo mas de este momento

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I'm sitting on a wooden seat watching mi amigo de argentina make me a bracelet. He has been travelijg for eyr 4 months and sells braclelts to support his travels. He is with 3 others de Argentina that he met in Panama. Everyday, they make these bracelets for hours then they go into town and sell them. When he told me it was 8000 Colones ($16) I thought that was a bit much but then he said it takes 3 hours. He had some already made but I asked him to make me un de Argentina.

Yesterday, Philip and I went into town and got a good meal. Casados de pollo caribeno: white rice, some kind of bean (not black), salad and fried plantains. It was a lot of food but very nice to get a substantial meal. We came back to the hostel and headed to the beach. There is a lot of coral but there are a few natural pools where there is a break in the coral and you can touch the sand and dive in. It was the first time I took my camera in the water and got some great pics! (will try to upload when I get to a computer.)

Se llama Ryan Flores. Ryan came out to the natural pool and introduced himself. We did the 'ol where you from thing and he turned out to be from Colorado Springs. He has been studying here for a year. I'm not here to meet americans but he has a great vibe and is very genuine. He invited us to the 'pimp suite' for a jam session later, and we would oblige.

'So what do you do back home?' is a question that usually follows the 'de donde eres (where are you from)' question. The answer is quite simple: this is my life now, I have only what you see in front of you. When I look around, I see my home. The scenery will change but I my home follows me.

We heard the music and headed to the Pimp suite. One hammock, some benches and a couple chairs. I walked in and found a place on the floor. They were in the middle of singing Rock me momma rock me and I joined the chorus. We hung out for quite a while talking, singing and getting to know eachother. There were a bunch of americans, some israelis, and dos chicas de France.

The language has been a little weird as I have to speak to Philip in english and most people speak it as a common language but I'm trying to think a little more en espanol and talk when I can.

We got to see a sunset, apparently a rarity during the rainy season. Later in the night, we headed to the bonfire, where I met Ana. She es uno maestra de espanol, eres de Peru. I only spoke with her briefly but felt like she was una amiga bueno. We headed back to the pimp suite where I learned a drinking game from a french girl. I don't know her name but we call each other 'Bob.' We haven't talked much but out musical paths have been crossing as she was also singing th the fire with me the nigt before. She is shy but has a beautiful voice and can harmonize something amazing. I got some great video that I'm looking forward to sharing with you.

Another night at Rockin J's for $7. Picked up some ham and cheese a la tienda yesterday and some beer for about 10$. Lovin the hammock, been sleeping great.

May swim to an island today and do some cliff diving pero no me importa cause all WE have is this moment.

Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey mis amigos, keep the comments coming!

Posted by DondeNathan 11:20 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged beach living moment Comments (3)

Finding my Rhythm

Let the beat lead


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The full moon party was more party than moon. We went to the beach to find the party but it was cloudy and everyone was still @ Rockin J's so apparently the moon was just the reason for the party and not the focus. After the dance party, everyone headed to the bonfire by the beach. There were some people with drums, guitars and anything else you could use to make a sound. Next thing I knew someone handed me A bongo and I became a part of the band! You could feel the rhythm in the air and it moved right to my hands.

The vibe was so amazing and the beats went on without a stop for hours. Bob Marley says that 'it's a feel' and I was definitely living in the beat. I let the vibe take over me and started a chant that came from somewhere inside I'd never been. Sitting by the fire on the Carribean Sea with people from all over, living the music; definitely what I came here for :)

I'm starting to get adjusted to traveling life now. Managing my stuff is my biggest challenge so far as I find myself re-packing and organizing everytime I need something. I'll probably end up sending some stuff home when I go back to San Jose. A Dutch guy I met was only traveling for 3 months with only a regular sizedbackpack, very jealous. Eating @restaurants is expensive so I've been living off ham sandwiches for a couple days. Yesterday we got some eggs, potatoes, onion and cheese and I made a skillet for everyone, muy rico! They have fresh eggs everyday (i know they are fresh as the chicken coup is right outside my room) for 100 colones, about 20 cents.

I'm still with philip and we're going to stay here another nite. Headed to the beach before it rains. Yesterday it rained for like 5 hours. Pura vida amigos!

I've been making my own food as eating @ restaurants is kind of expensive

Posted by DondeNathan 10:29 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged puerto viejo Comments (2)

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