BOB CORBETT'S TRAVEL JOURNAL -- 2005

Costa Rica 33 -- November 1, 2005
Another Israeli fellow

By Bob Corbett

Yesterday afternoon lots of folks arrived at my hotel. In late afternoon I went out on the large common balcony to read and a number were gathered there. A couple from California, three Tico fellows in town for Halloween night (which is an adult drinking party here, not a childrenís thing) and a young Israeli fellow.

His name is Ita and he was really in the mood to talk, wanting to practice his English. He also, like so very many foreigners I meet, wants to know how he can get into the U:S. to study and to work.

People were asking each other where theyíd been and when I mentioned Vienna, Austria Ita really perked up. He had been a competitive international swimmer doing the breast stroke and was in a swim meet in Vienna. He was hilarious on this since he fell madly in love, not with this, one of the most beautiful cities on the planet, but with the chain of restaurants: Die Schnitzel Haus. That just cracked me up. It is the MacDonaldís of schnitzel. But as he well remembered they do serve a schnitzel that simply overflows a normal dinner plate by another 1/2!!!!

He pleaded with me to wake him early this morning and take him on one of my walks. I MOST RELUCTANTLY agreed. My walking time here is my quiet time, my thinking time, my private time. But, he so wanted to go.

I woke at five and would have left the house, but for this obligation. At 6 AM I knocked on his door, as pre-arranged. Nothing. At 6:05, 6;10. Finally the door opened and am arm waved out. But it was the door NEXT TO the room he had told me he had. I figured I got it wrong. I waited 5 more minutes and would have missed the first bus at 6:30 and that I was NOT willing to do. So I wrote a note, slipped it under his door and left.

My walk was just lovely. It was a sunny morning, and cool, just lovely. A long time ago I mentioned there are four private trails along the road, owned by a resort and private property. All the guides and folks below in Manuel Antonio tell me Iím not supposed to use them, but it is most unlikely that anyone would ever bother me.

So, today, given the lovely day, I took one. Wheeeee, thatís the end of that for me. I had to begin by going down a very steep muddy hill. This was not so much a trail and a hint at a trail. No wonder one pays a fee for the lovely national parks with their exquisite trails. When I complained last week of the one less developed trail in the Reserva St. Elena, I didnít realize what could be. That trail at St. Elenaís was a superhighway compared to this hint of directions in the dense rain forest. Twice I followed was what I thought was the trail, only, within 100 yards to run into impenetrable jungle.

The so-called trail was ONE MILE LONG and took me an entire hour. I was dripping wet, exhausted and back out on the road, higher up than where I had gotten on it. I chalked that up to a bad idea and went on down to the beach.

The sun was shinning, it was now an hour later than I normally get to the beach, after 8 AM now, but I was again refreshed. It was low tide, and so I walked a full two miles up the beach to where one finally runs into a rock face that I couldnít and wouldnít begin to tackle.

Finally back at the end of the beach, at the national park and the bus station, I was really tired and had done 6 solid miles already.

I headed home, and the first sprinkle of rain was coming down as I got back to the hotel. First rain in three days now. I showered, got on fresh clothes and went to the balcony to read. Out came Ita, apologizing profusely for not getting up, but claiming his fan kept him awake. But, he wasnít too unhappy, and decided to head out, light rain or not, to the beach of Manuel Antonio.

I think I will NOT agree to be the wake up person tomorrow.

No animals today at all. But one exquisite bird, one Iíd not yet seen. Small bird, about the size of a mockingbird or robin. It is jet black, almost a satin like finish, but it back is bright red. When it flies, the black wings mainly cover its back and it appears to be a jet black bird. But when it lands, there, from its head, just behind the ears, all the way down the back to itís black tail feathers, it is crimson red. Very beautiful.

Today is Championís League Soccer from Europe, so at 2 PM I should be treated to an awesome game.

Ah, curious thing. We have cable TV at the hotel. But, yesterday morning CNN just simply disappeared. The channel, number 22, is just blank. Nothing else was impacted. We still have ESPN and ESPN 2 (so the soccer should be there)and the one Fox channel does SOME BITS of English news, but is much more an entertainment news channel. So, without CNN I have no idea whatís going on in the world. I guess the world will keep with me in the dark about its activities.

Bob Corbett

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