12.06.2010 - 12.06.2010 82 °F
"I have always loved both the freshness of arriving and the relief of leaving. With/two homes every move would be a homecoming./I am not even considering the weather, hot/or cold, dry or wet: I am talking about hope."
-Gerald Locklin, "Where We Are"
On our last morning in Playa Samara, we eat one final breakfast overlooking the beach and the ocean, knowing that soon we will be back in a cold Midwestern winter. Even though my nausea is long gone and my appetite somewhat back to normal, I still feel a little uncomfortable and lacking energy. I wouldn't have minded spending another day lounging in the shade under our treehouse while I finished recovering, but the long road to the north is calling to us.
We end up getting a significant discount at Samara Treehouse for paying in cash, making our seaside getaway even more sweet. With one last longing look at the waves just beyond the treehouse gate, we drive inland to Nicoya and then headed north up to Santa Cruz and on to Liberia. The drive only takes a couple of hours, which is nothing at all compared to our drive from La Fortuna to the beach. The closer we get to Liberia and the airport, the less we notice the lush green vegetation that we've become used to and the hilly dips that made many of our drives so treacherous. We eventually arrive at the Hilton Garden Inn near the airport, which looks like any other airport hotel in the States.
After checking in and dumping our luggage in our room, we immediately hit the road again and drive west toward the coast, which is only half an hour from our hotel. We stop a little ways inland at a Texas barbeque restaurant where I order a chicken sandwich and Matt orders pulled pork. We drive into Playa del Coco and Playa Hermosa, wondering how these hillsides and coves full of luxury hotels, whitewashed condos and seaside retreats could possibly be part of the same country we have been exploring for the past two weeks. These are the towns of all-inclusive resorts and golf courses, where tourists wear kitten heels and cologne, not hiking boots and DEET. I'm guessing that these coves are filled with the tourists who did not want to make the trek into the heart of the country and did not want to venture outside of the luxuries and conveniences of home. I'd like to ask them what the point of traveling is if they aren't willing to take a risk.
The beaches here are full of exactly what I expected: women in floppy hats, men with fanny packs. Would these people cannonball into a mountain stream or suck in sea water after wiping out during surfing? Would they welcome bats into their hotel rooms to clean out the mosquitoes?
I realize after our brief excursion to the tourist coast that I made all the right decisions in planning our trip to Costa Rica. Our destinations, our hotels, and our activities could not have been more perfect for us. While we enjoyed quaint rustic cabins that in a lot of ways felt luxurious, we also embraced what it meant to spend two weeks in the rainforest--opening ourselves up to leaky roofs, lizards scurrying across the tile floors, bats diving in and out of our windows, and mudslides that lead to obscene detours. It was all worth it.
That said, when we return to the Hilton Garden, we immerse ourselves in luxuries that we hadn't had during the entire trip. I take a total of three baths in five hours--just because I can. We order room service for the first time in either of our lives; I order ricotta-filled cannelloni and Matt orders risotto with scallops. We lay in bed for hours watching a movie on TBS and enjoying our king-sized bed with smooth sheets. Although it was nice to live simply for awhile, it also made us both appreciate our everyday conveniences.
Tomorrow we will fly back north to snow and bitter wind, but we are also returning to our kitty and Christmas. I'm excited to drive on abundant, well-laid-out roads and be able to put the DEET down in the basement for a season or two.
But I know that in just another week or so, I'll be dreaming of Costa Rica again, the clean rain and the sound of palm fronds whispering in the wind. It'll be hard to leave this place behind, and although I am generally against visiting the same country twice, I would love to return someday to drink some more local fragrant coffee, catch some waves at high tide, visit Felico and the Li's, and taste the pura vida once again.