Published: September 3rd 2012September 3rd 2012
This may be a long one. I apologize for not writing more, but I didn' want to be one of those and-today-I-crossed the-street-and-it-was-fun-kind-of-blogs.
Yesterday, my class took a field trip to Volcan Poaz. It was a beautiful trip, that encapsulated the natural side of Costa Rica. We drove on a long and winding road, upwards and upwards, often facing a sheer dropoff on the side. The view was worth the danger. At any point you can see a city nestled in the ring of mountains and volcanoes that is the San Jose valley. My ears popped more times than I could count during the 8,885 ft climb. We arrived at the summit around 10am and ventured the last half a mile on foot. As soon as I stepped out of the van, the strong smell of sulfur percolated through my nostrils. Between that and the thin air, it's a miracle you can breathe up there.
We reached the crater and well - I'll let the view speak for itself. Apparently it's only clear enough to see the crater two times a month, and yesterday was one of them. It harkened back to an ancient time and an untamed earth.
Smoke constantly rose from the lake like a teapot that led one of my more gullible companions to ask if it was erupting. The clouds began to to pour into the crater like sand does in your hand. Poaz was near the epicenter of an Earthquake in 2009 that killed 40 people. It is one of Costa Rica's seven active volcanoes among their 140 dormant ones. In a country as big as West Virginia, that's hard for this Delawarean to fathom.
After the crater, we began an arduos hike up to Lago Botos, a lagoon created by the volcanoe. It's an acidic lake that barely any microorganisms can live in. The view however, was precious. It's apparently named after an indigenous tribed called Botos that lived there some time ago.
After the Volcan Poaz, we trekked over to a local eatery for casados. Casado is a word I have trouble translating - it's a meal you can find everywhere here that has rice, beans, meat, potatoes, fried plantains and etc. It's delicious - and for about three dollars you can feed a small army.
Afterwards, we headed to Parque La Paz, a veritable Shangri-la. Costa Rica has
hundreds of national parks and this one did not disappoint. My classmate Sofia and I perused around the paths at leisure imbibing all it had to offer. The only sad part was that it was half zoo/half nature. I don't really care to see locked up animals, especially in a country so lush and green. The highlight of La Paz, were the cataratas that cascaded through the mountain's river. They were immense sights to see.
School is going very well, but it's very intensive. More work than I expected, but I also forgot what it felt like to learn something you're genuinely interested in. It's encouraging to be somewhere and doing something that people have a passion for. I could see myself being very happy traveling and teaching around the world.
I started my day by heading into San Jose. I arrived much earlier than I anticipated. The bus system here is great, but for a foreigner it can sometimes be confusing. However, I figured it out. It was eery walking around the city and being the only white person there. It really gave me perspective. No one was mean, nor did I get an angry glance, but
it was so different.
I eventually headed up San Isidro de Heredia to meet up with fellow couchsurfer Caleb. Caleb welcomed me into his home and served me a delicious lunch. It was a great Costa Rican experience. I spoke Spanish the whole day and I was able to get (most of) my points across! Caleb then took me on a walk around his town and the naturaleza. He lives in spitting distance from the mountains and it was quite an enjoyable day with nature.
That's it for now I think. Thanks for reading. I'm uploading a bunch of pictures. Scroll down for all of em!
There are more photos below