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Published: August 21st 2010
So after the little jaunt to Aus, I flew straight back through LA and into San Jose, Costa Rica. My plan was to volunteer in a school here to learn a bit of Spanish and time with local kids, so I was met at the airport by Bryan, Cecelia's son. Cecilia and Bryan were to be my San Jose family. Bryan turned out to be pretty, ahem, sociable I'd say, so I spent a lot of time with Cecelia (who speaks no English)... The first few days was one of the lows of my trip - even with lovely Cecelia being super wonderful, the loss of ease of communication made me feel very lonely. In addition, I learned that the schools were actually closed those three weeks and that I would need to chose another project to work at. San Jose was not much comfort as a 'home'. It's pretty dirty, industrial, and I had constant strong warnings about being out on my own - even in the neighbourhood where I was staying. So, I got myself some Spanish lessons for a few mornings and then got myself to work in Tejarcillos, a poor suburb of San Jose where there is
no ambulance, serious water shortages, and a high birth rate - amongst other challenges. I was at a soup kitchen Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and at a women's rehabilitation centre on Tuesdays and Thursdays - and it was hard work, both physically and with Spanish! By the second week I was starting to get into the swing of things, topped perfectly by the arrival of new friend Faye at the house. We went together for a couple of days to the projects, then met up later on the move in Puerto Viejo with a couple of Faye's friends from home. I visited Tortuguero on the north east coast and saw a turtle laying eggs up the beach in the night. Tortuguero is only accessible by water through a long channel of lush rainforest, the trip there alone was an adventure. I then travelled south to meet Faye and friends and then had to leave for Nicaragua. I missed so many of Costa Ricas highlights - volcanoes, Pacific beaches and the mountains in the south - I must return! I spent a bit longer in Nicaragua than expected. The warnings of danger here are, I think, a little overstated. The people
of Nicaragua were super helpful and friendly. The beach, the volcanoes everywhere (I couldn't help getting to the steaming (only with Sulphur) top of one of them), the colonial cities of Granada and Leon all contribute to this being a great destination. There really is so much to do and see. With the extended stay in Nicaragua, I had to shoot through Honduras (with some more new friends) to it's north coast in time to get to Utila and the Iguana Breeding and Research Station for the next volunteer 'gig'. I've been here ever since...
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