I had plans to post several times last week while I was away, but the internet access available at my hotels in Costa Rica had other plans. I even had a whole wordless wednesday post of pictures from the national park we went to, carefully selected for me by Mike, but blogger and/or the slow dial-up internet refused to allow me to upload photos. So, hopefully tomorrow I can get those posted. I have lots of other photos, too, and will get some posted as we sort through them and choose the best ones.
The whole week was very relaxing, and the atmosphere was a very friendly and free-spirit kind of vibe. The locals (Ticos) and the gringos mix together as if it's the most natural thing in the world. You run into the same people at the beach, later at the pool and maybe again at the open air restaurant for dinner. Spanish mixes with English as if it's all one language, and pretty soon even if you don't speak any Spanish you start to blend in with it and everybody understands each other somehow.
Nature and conservation is a major concern in Costa Rica, and they take pride in preserving their gorgeous mountains, rainforests, wildlife and coastline. Everything is outdoors, and I mean everything. This might have been my favorite thing about the country. Restaurants, markets, even hotel reception is just outside. Everything is. I think the only times we were indoors, as in behind walls and a door that closes, was when we were in our hotel rooms.
I first got a sense of this, and of how much my brother would have appreciated a place like this, when we arrived to pick up our rental car straight out of the airport. Behind the counter where Mike was signing forms and arguing about the extra car insurance they wanted to sell him, there were two Costa Rica posters on the wall. The images were beautiful rainforest and mountain scenes, and each one had a Costa Rica government tourism logo and one of the statements below.
We'll care for you almost as much as we care for nature.
They both made me smile, about how much Greg would have loved those sentiments, and about the kind of experience we were about to have.