Books Worth a Look

  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave - This book is a must read. Better than anything else I've read, it takes you vividly into the life of a person in the 3rd world who has no choice but to escape. It is brilliantly written & works well as an audio book. Often I've sent info about the wonderful refugees I've met in Europe. We know only so much of their plight as it is painful for them to recall much less live through again by recounting it. But over time it is clear what they've lived through. This book is excellent as you discover the horrors of their world. Somewhat how to me, it is like being in Europe near a Concentration Camp. One has an obligation to visit it. 'Never to Forget.' In this case, to have our eyes opened.
  • Garbage King by Eliz Laird - The book is set on the streets on Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia and here lives Mamo and his sister Tiggist. When Mamo's "uncle" offers a job, he soon sets out on a bus to work. Little does he know that he is actually being sold into slavery...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Manuel Antonio &

I thought that there would be little if anything to report as the trip and my studies are almost over. Not so!

Very early Saturday morning, I boarded a bus to Manuel Antonio which is a beautiful national park on the beach on the Pacific Ocean. It's pretty cheap to get there as long as you are willing to ride four hours in a bus which does not cater to tall Americanos! I got to sit next to a "Tico," the term the Costa Ricans use for themselves. He was very informative.

As the bus approaches the Pacific, it gets noticeably warmer. The best is yet to come! In Costa Rica now it is the end of winter so I did not expect 95% humidity. The first day it was awful!!!

Hiking in the Rainforest.

Adam, the young Coast Guard person, I went to Vocano Poas the previous weekend and Florian, a German gentleman who is Jay's age, greeted me warmly - so to speak! After lunch, we decided to go the the parque. We first did a hike into the forest. Sweating profusely, it was still magnificant. and, amazingly, I was able to keep up with them. At one point, it was necessary to take off our shoes & socks to wade across a small stream. Adam and I decided to continue barefoot as most of the trail was wet dirt or mud. So that's why people pay $$ for mud treatments!! We reached the waterfall & rested.

To the beach without a bathing suit!

After our hike we walked toward the private park beach. As it was winter, I did not pack my bathing suit. My friends got in the water; both are excellent swimmers. Adam kept telling me it was ok to come in - in my boxer shorts. I'm thinking: I'm not so sure. What are the laws? The other people here? Some others in the water, were saying, yeah come on in, no problem. I decided to watch and wade. BUT after about 25 minutes of that nonsense (!), I decided to give it a try.

I told the guys swimming that my mother would be pleased because when I was a kid she always said: "Never go out with holes in your underwear and socks." The elastic on the shorts worked well! (You might be wondering: Why not swim in my hiking shorts & then let them dry out.
The problem is: Nothing dries out in that humidity!!!

The rest of the trip

We had dinner and went to a night spot - pretty dead. The busy season begins in January.
The owner of our hotel was from Korea and quite lively and outspoken. She also made meals to order - quite good and not expensive.

The ride back was tough as the Ticos think it's cold when we think it's mild. So with windows closed as we proceeded it was not fun!

ALL is all, it was a good weekend & my companions were fun to be with. Adam is particularly thoughtful.

This week is mostly classes. Arturo and I are taking his mom, my host, to lunch Wednesday as it is her birthday.


For awhile I assumed people were just being nice, but it seems for a beginner my Spanish is coming along nicely. Though basic, I can spoeak paresnt, past and some future tenses. This week in particular, I have an excellent teacher. Were it possible I would stay longer as next week, I would move into the intermediate level.

I will be happy to see Laura, Jason and my friends again. Plus time to substitute for the next trip. Unlike Europe, the dollar is stronger here, of ocurse. In three weeks I have had to withdraw little money as there are about 560 colones to $ 1.

Last Post

Unless something unexpected happens, my last post will probably be when I am home. I would like to share some interesting aspects about Costa Rica I have learned and encountered. One is very busy with studies here that getting to the computer is possible, but there is little time.

Ok all, have a very Happy Thanksgiving - well at least to those who are in the states. To my friends in Europe and Latin America, have a great week.


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Thoughts on the amazing people I get to meet.

Rich, my 19 year old friend, soon to be Franciscan and recent community member at Haley House in Boston. An article he wrote.