Costa Rica Arrival and Botanical Gardens

p1000418.JPGPhillip is fasting in Costa Rica, at Dr. Douglas Graham’s fasting retreat, and I am serving as an intern. We arrived in Costa Rica yesterday, tired of travel by the time we reached the hotel, and went to bed early. It took two plane rides (2 hours and 5 hours apiece) to make it here. We flew from San Jose, California to Phoenix, and from Phoenix to San Jose, Costa Rica.

We got up at 5:45am in Santa Cruz to get ready for this yesterday, and Stuart kindly took us over the hill to the airport. Once checked in for our flight, Phillip and I rested for a few minutes before going through security and consumed our orange juice breakfast (which heaven forbid they should allow us to take through, that could be some explosive OJ!) 84 oz. of shared OJ held us for hours, until the second flight, when we pulled out our bananas, dates, lettuce, and celery and munched down. People around us ate $7 sandwiches or $5 snack boxes, and there were no more small, expensive salads by the time they got back to us anyway.

p1000403.JPGThis morning we awoke refreshed at our hotel and enjoyed papaya, pineapple, watermelon, and bananas for breakfast with a few other early arrivals. Well, Phillip doesn’t enjoy papaya, claims it smells like baby throw up, but I enjoy it. A lot. We we each ate copious amounts of the fruit we like and were grateful for it. The papaya is sooooo good here. Did I mention I like papaya already? A lot? I thought not.

p1000420.JPGSince we arrived early, Phillip, Rachel, Victoria, Jan, and I decided to take a van-sized taxi over to the Else Kientzler Botanical Garden this morning and have a look. The taxi driver didn’t speak English, but the friendly hotel staff helped us explain to him where we wanted to go (sadly, no one in this little group of 5 is all that good with Spanish). Along the way (a 40 minute drive) he stopped a couple of times to ask for directions. Apparently that’s the way it’s done here, the street signage is somewhat scarce.

p1000410.JPGThe gardens were beautiful (you may click on these smaller images for a larger version of each). I got to feed my inner monkey, by crossing some rope bridges we found in the back of the gardens. Don’t tell my mother, but those bridges were 30 feet in the air which made it all the more exciting. Oh wait, hi Mom, um, I was in no danger at any time, kind of like tree climbing when I was a kid, and you knew all about that, right? (Hugs!)

p1000415.JPGWhile we were in the gardens, Jan had gone walking down the hill to look for interesting town-like things instead. He was thinking about lunch and came across a lovely orange orchard where he met the owner, who gave him a big bag of oranges for free. It made a great lunch for him, sitting in the sun and he brought us some too, a welcome and refreshing snack after an hour-long hike in the gardens.

p1000406.JPGTonight’s dinner at the hotel included everyone that has arrived so far (mostly interns, as most of the fasters arrive tomorrow). Papaya, pineapple, and a huge salad of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocado slices. It was Phillip’s last meal for a while, as he’ll fast tomorrow, on the start of the New Year. Tonight we’ll be falling asleep to the sound of Costa Ricans setting off many noisy fireworks in celebration of the occasion. Good luck Phillip!

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