Soraya had made it to the house at about 6:00AM to bring me to the drop off location. I shared with her my plans about the tour and she exclaimed how much I would enjoy it. We even stopped by her home so she could lend me a jacket appropriate for the weather in the mountains. I found that the locals here were so willing to offer help and assistance. Their hospitality is almost unmatched compared to the other places I’ve been.
I was the first to be picked up. Soon other people hopped on the bus and introduced themselves to me. The row of seats that I had alone filled quickly with Stella and Stephanie. Lora sat directly behind us, participating in our convos through and around the seats that separated us.
The highlight of the tour was the hike to the Poas Volcano and the Lagoon. A highlight because both were extremely beautiful, but also because it took a lot of endurance and physical, as well as mental, strength to get there to see. It was 6 of us who embarked on the hike. Yet I was the only one who immediately felt the affects. I had to stop multiple times and strongly suggested that the group continue, but they didn’t.
They stayed with me until I got my rest. Until I felt strong enough to continue. Stella staying more often than the rest. She was a petite, physically fit flight attendant telling me to breathe and push through it, but also confirming how important it is to recognize my limits and when I need to rest. Stephanie and Lora did the same. And then the other 3. And when we finally made it to the top, it was only right that we get a selfie.
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It was midnight and I had just stepped off the plane before I saw Soraya. She was standing outside with my name handwritten on a sign. She was patiently waiting to take me from the airport to my living quarters for the next three days. It was a short drive as we traveled along steep hills and winding roads in the dark. She told me about her family and her life here in Costa Rica. She shared her experiences in regards to visiting the States, even visiting the southern parts where I’m from. I wanted to hear more, but we had arrived at my destination and Soraya had to go to work in the next few hours.
Gabriela and Milo opened the door to us, showed us around, and gave us a quick tour. I was grateful for the quickness because I was extremely jet-lagged and desperately needed sleep. I showered and tried my best to get comfortable. I remember staying awake for a while — speaking to God and giving thanks for safe travels. Night sounded quite different in this part of the world. The nocturnal creatures spoke out to one another, but it was in a soothing and peaceful manner. Peaceful enough for me to fall asleep.
Morning came when the sun literally peeked in through the half-drawn curtains at 5:30 AM. But it was a refreshing sort of greeting. One that I appreciated. Mainly because I knew where I would be waking up and falling asleep for the next few days unlike home.
Gabriela and her husband invited me to the market in the central part of Colon. The Colonians convened here every Saturday to sell their produce, their art, and their services. I had a wonderful breakfast with the most delectable coffee I’ve ever tasted. Completely unmatched based on what I’ve tasted in the states. But generally, everything I’ve tasted abroad is better than what’s in the states. We stroll around the central–visiting a few stands and the supermarket with Gabriela playing tour guide.
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