This has been a wild and wonderful week.  One of my dearest friends- Amanda- has been visiting and we have been BUSY!  I drove from my quiet, sleepy little peninsula community into the fringes of San Jose to collect her from the airport last Sunday.  It was a trek that held a rather interesting adventure for me, as I found a not-entirely-wanted Tico admirer whilst waiting for the ferry to arrive in port.  I got safely to our hotel and then to the airport to get her.  It was wonderful to see her smiling, familiar face after a year of being apart.  Because it’s such a long trip, and dependent upon the ferry’s schedule to get across the gulf, she and I spent the night in Atenas before heading back.

We had a lovely visit with the owner of the B&B I use when I’m in that area on Monday morning, and then made our leisurely way across the western half of Costa Rica, through the cloud forest and out to the coast.  We stopped to take photos and see things as we went, and still managed to make it back to my house by late afternoon.  Manda was gifted with being able to see my family of howler monkeys right away.  They were in the trees just above us as we stepped out of the car.  Monday evening took us down to Montezuma for dinner, and then we made it an early night.

Tuesday we were up early for yoga at the newly dubbed “Moon Tree Studio” that is my front porch, then off we went to the beach (where I dropped and broke my camera- yay for having insured it).  Manda got to see the amazing, rocky, wild, coast and climb and swim with me in some of the waterfalls that lead out to the sea near here.  She also got to experience grocery shopping in CR first hand later that evening.  It’s not that much different than in the states, but it’s not the same either.

Wednesday we were up even earlier and off to Curu Wildlife Preserve.  We hiked for hours thorough the dense, humid, muddy combination of salt marsh and rainforest that is Curu.  We saw birds and animals neither of us had seen in the wild before, and some that were familiar from home as well.  Our guide was a lively, very resourceful cocker spaniel who attached herself to our expedition as we left the ranger station and trotted ahead of us the whole way, pointing to show us animals and other interesting things she saw in the undergrowth.  It’s always interesting to me how animals respond to people who are tuned into them- Amanda especially.  She’s such a peaceful, safe presence and I’ve rarely been anywhere with her that animals didn’t just adore her. In the evening we poked around in Montezuma and let her pick up a few souvenirs of her visit.

Thursday we woke up to rain and chill, but decided that we were not to be deterred.  We were out of the house and off to first visit Rainsong Wildlife Sanctuary- where we got to love on the baby monkeys as they got breakfast.  Then we went on down the road a bit to Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve.  The national park is beautiful but rugged, and our hike took us up and down and up for three miles out to the beach where we had lunch, and then hiked up and down and up again for the three miles all the way back.  In the rain.  For five and a half hours.  Soaked to the skin and slip-sliding in the mud all the way.  We had a blast, but were completely wiped out by the time we got back home.

Today has been a lazier day- laundry, blogging, chatting, a computer game or two.  I think we’ll be heading over to Santa Theresa shortly to wander the shops and see the far-western edge of the coast.  The beach on that side of the peninsula is more sandy and the ocean is more powerful than on my side.

Manda will be flying home early Sunday morning, and I’ll be able to fall back into my daily routine- yoga, writing, walking, more writing, etc.  It has been amazing to finally be able to share with someone the breathtaking awe that is the country in which I now live.  It’s been so refreshing, too, to have a friend here to chat with, laugh with, and be reminded how much I do love the familiar patterns and closeness I have with someone I know and love well.   I’ll miss that when she goes home, but I’m blessed to know that- after 16 years- I’ll have it whenever we’re together again.