Costa Rica – Day 40 – Feliz Cumpleanos

Set your life on fire.  Seek those who fan your flames.  ~ Rumi

7am departure.  Carara Park.  It’s part of Rachel’s package, and it is her birthday so of course I am going.  For the third time.  It’s been raining and it’s really muddy.  At least there are no crocodiles.  Apparently, when the rainy season is in full swing (October, November), these trails are rivers and are teaming with crocs.

Monique and Eric join us.  Monique won this trip to AmaTierra on the Price is Right.  I’ve never met anyone who has won anything on The Price is Right, or any game show.  She was in Thailand prior to this as part of her winning showcase.

We see monkeys, macaws, enormous trees, ants (of course), lots of mosquitoes, iguanas and some new creatures as well, like this moving, fuzzy, yellow ‘thing’ which is as big as my hand.


Spirals are the theme of the day

Spiral of Life

After the park, we are ravenous.  I take them to the Taco Bar in Jaco.  I get my usual, a durado taco (mahi mahi) with an iced frappaccino.

Durado = Delicious

I love it here not just because the food is so good, but because you can sit in swings while you eat.  It pleases my inner child.

Taco Bar Sisters

And now for surfing.  We are told we have to wait for the ocean to be ready.  So we walk around Jaco, see the sights, do a little souvenir shopping.

Jaco Flowers

Rachel surfs goofy just like me, right foot forward.  I head out with my same board, with my same instructor and she gets Tony, from Nicaragua.  After a few tries I see her on the board, surfing the waves.  My instructor sings her happy birthday.  She told me at one point she realized the fullness of her life in that moment and started laughing hysterically, then fell off the board into the ocean.  Poor Tony probably didn’t know what to think.

I notice them sitting by water’s edge, and I continue on, assuming Rachel needed a break.  Come to find out, Tony had a meltdown.  His girlfriend just broke up with him.  After 3 years.  He was sobbing on the shore.  He was lucky to have Rachel as his student in that moment.  Most people wouldn’t know how to handle that kind of breakdown, but thanks to me, she’s had lots of practice.  Leave it to Rachel to graciously pause her surf lesson to take this young man on the beach and let him cry on her shoulder.  Of course she did.

We have to leave by 3:30 to make it back in time for dinner and so our surf day is cut short.  One hour of surfing a week just doesn’t feel like enough.  I am hooked.  I’m still fantasizing about moving to California.  Or to Costa Rica.  Why not?

We stop at the fruit stand by the crocodiles.  Since I am there every week, and am their ‘best customer’, I talk them into a free birthday Coco Loco for Rachel.  It’s a coconut filled with rum.

Coco Loco

We walk out on this narrow passageway with cars zipping by to see the crocs.  On either side, we’re just inches from death, either being struck by a ton of steel or eaten by a hungry dinosaur.  Rachel, sipping her coco loco turns to me and tells me she is drunk.  Great.

There is a huge crowd of people there today.  It’s Mother’s Day which is apparently a big deal in Costa Rica.  Banks, the post office and some businesses are closed.  I love that.

There’s a man walking around selling chickens.  He approached Monique, who tells him, no thanks, I’m not hungry.  Come to find out, the chicken is for feeding the hungry crocs below.  Rachel and I watch as people throw them over the bridge.

Dinner is amazing, but the best part is that they surprise Rachel with a birthday cake, complete with candles.  Jill takes to the piano and we all sing happy birthday.  In English and then in Spanish.

Birthday Girl

Feliz Cumpleanos, mi amiga.  Te amo!

 If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart.  I’ll stay there forever.  ~ A. A. Milne