Sunday, December 24, 2006

Trip to La Paz Waterfall Gardens

Saturday morning. Gorgeous day to go out for a field trip. A friend of mine had been to this park half a year ago, with his wife and kids, and they thought it'd be really nice for me to visit.

They have a butterfly farm, frog rooms, snake rooms, a hummingbird area, a trout pool, and plenty of hiking through the tropical rain forest to some waterfalls... Pretty place. Steep entrance price, definitely geared towards foreign visitors, but the $25 were kinda worth it.

We took tons of pictures, here's a small sample of Costa Rican fauna and flora!

Friday, December 22, 2006

New scars, and my doggie charge.

So there I was, ready to start another day of tanning and relaxing. I figured I'd hydrate before playing at being a lizard. I had a bottle half-full of water. I needed a big glass to pour the water in it. I looked in one of the kitchen's many cabinets, and find a nice, big, 2004-olympics-edition coca-cola glass. Neat!

I took it out, and saw a nice crack in it. Ah well, if they still had it in there among the glasses that were being used, it'd probably still hold. I did remember that I had to wash it before using it, though, 'cause this wonderfully warm country is the perfect breeding ground for cockroaches, and they get their filthy paws everywhere, so it's a good tip to rinse anything that was kept away before using it.

I was all energetic, looking forward to the sun, so I just quickly put water in the glass and started rubbing the edge in a circular motion, trying to rub off all the little pawprints...


All I felt was a stab on my thumb's knuckle. My first reaction was to start cursing, upset that I had been so dumb as to use a cracked glass. I looked at my hand. A small semi-circle was drawn in dark red on it. Now I had to worry about bleeding all over the place... I just stood there, frozen for a couple of seconds, seeing the cut and wondering what I could grab that wouldn't remain stained. I finally ran for some toilet paper in the bathroom.

The cut was small, but seemed deep. Nice big drops of blood kept forming on the surface. After the anger, I started to worry. I was alone in the house. Just last week I went to get a vaccine and I had fainted. Visions of me splayed on the floor, bleeding, with no one to find me for another couple of days, got me up and running.

The phone. I had to call someone. One of the nephews of the family whose house I was staying at lived nearby, and he had been helping me over the week to run errands and answer any question I had. He was also the same guy that had gotten more scared than I had when I fainted at the pharmacy... So I wasn't sure how useful he'd be for an emergency, but he was the only person I could call right away.

The first thing he asked me was if I felt faint. ;) I said no, but last time I had also felt fine up to the moment we were leaving... I seem to have a delayed-reaction fainting system... :P He said he'd call some doctor and come pick me up. I started to get ready, trying to get dressed while holding the bandaging in place... left food for the dog, closed all the doors.. At some point I did start getting woozy. I couldn't let myself go! I started jumping up and down, kept saying "no!" and looked for any sugary stuff in the kitchen. I poured honey into my mouth straight from the bottle, and ate cookies. Then I went outside to wait.

He showed up half an hour later.

In a scooter.

I looked at him, worried. Yeah, he means well, but definitely not the right person for emergencies...

It didn't help that on the way over we almost ran over a child.

His girlfriend's brother was the doctor we went to see. He was home for lunch and he could check the wound, see if it needed anything serious.

Final verdict: had he been in the office, he might have considered putting some stitches in. As it was, he disinfected it and put a band-aid on it. Said it should be fine if I didn't bend the thumb too much.

We were on our way back after about 15 minutes, where I took the time to calm down and be sure I could get back on the scooter.

I didn't think to take pics right away, unfortunately, but I did take some the day after. You can check the wound out, and see also pics of the doggie I'm taking care of (in this trip I've taken care of more pets than I've had in my whole life...!) and another cool nature shot.

'Til the next adventure! :)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Costa Rica xmas

I just realized I haven't posted any pics since october...! Sorry about that. But I kinda finished the touristy trip. Since then, if you recall, I've gone through Italy to search for my roots, with a quick side trip through Europe for work-related stuff. Starting from Genova two months ago, I've been through the Island of Elba, Pisa, Florence, Valencia, Madrid, Amsterdam/Utrecht, Milan, Turin, Elba again, and then a quick Rome-Dusseldorf-New York-Costa Rica week. Hmmm. Maybe I've been traveling a bit much... ^.^

Since I was running around with a purpose other than tourism, the pictures are scarce, but I do have some. Here is some picked at random.

After the quick run-through NY, where I managed to see only a fraction of all the people I wanted to say hi to, it was time to fly down to Costa Rica for the usual xmas holiday among "family".

I'm going to be here through the New Year, dealing with the plants business and chilling and getting ready for Milan. And writing. Gonna give it a shot at a book :) I foresee random updates, and lotsa email/chat contact when I connect the wonderful 128bps phone modem... :P

Friday, December 01, 2006

concluding a cycle: 8.5 months later...

December first. I'm back in the United States, back in the home where the trip started. It's been eight and a half months of travel through Europe. I've seen 7 countries, met tons of people, even my own grandma. And because of her I've decided to settle in Milan for now. I have left her for a little, to get my stuff in the Americas, to give myself a little breather, to get used to the idea... but it's a given that I'm going to be next to her from now on.

Eight and a half months of living out of a suitcase. When I returned to my things, kept in a neat pile in my friends' basement, I felt elated to see that I had more than just 3 pairs of pants and the same 7 shirts... Although the happiness quickly turned into worried thoughts on where to put all the stuff, and how to get it there... and, where? I still don't have an apt or anything set up in Italy! I'm going to miss the freedom of having no material responsibilities... :P

I was worried that this trip wouldn't change me. I had gone a couple of months and felt the same as always. Then I started to dig up all the family past. And met new people. Put myself out there a bit more. My eyes opened a bit. I realized that I had never really grasped much of the words of wisdom I could emptily repeat. Like "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration". I have known that phrase since I was little. But only now I've understood the difference between those people that accomplish and those that don't. There's a dedication involved. Kinda like what drove me to find out about the family. It was an imperative to accomplish. Any obstacle was to be surmounted, not left to be out of procrastination, laziness, shyness, or anything. It's like a different state of mind. I willed myself to it, really dedicated myself, and I accomplished.

Anyhoo, for the more practical details: I arrived this afternoon in NY, after 2 days of travel. From Elba I stopped in Rome one night, met a new friend. Then stopped in Dusseldorf one night, met an old friend. Another phrase I've assimilated is the one that says "It's not the destination, but the traveling that matters." Even though it took me almost 3 days to get to NY, what I experienced and found along the way was so much more important!

I'm here in NY 'til Tue, then I'm off to Costa Rica for the holidays, a last tropical escape until I have to reach the grayness of Milan. I don't have a USA phone number yet, but I'm going to look into the prepaid cards.

A slow learned, alright, but at least still learning, and finally enjoying the trip! :)