BOB CORBETT'S TRAVEL JOURNAL -- 2005

Costa Rica 37 -- November 5, 2005
Bitter-sweet last day in Quepos / Manuel Antonio

By Bob Corbett

Folks,

Already Iíve had two of my ďLASTS.Ē Last walk on the beach, last visit to Cafe Malago coffee house. It is definitely a bitter-sweet day. I love this place and had settled into a routine I could have continued all winter. But, actually, today I varied it a bit. Instead of getting off the bus at the top of the mountain and walking down the two miles to the beach, I rode the bus all the way to the end, the far end of the beach. Then I walked the beach up as far as I could and back TWICE.

I realized I donít know when or even IF Iíll ever get back here and wanted that memory as something special. Since I didnít walk down the mountain, I was on the beach a hour earlier, just after 6:30 AM. It was a stunning sunny warm day. I took off my shirt, tucked it into my belt and took off. I was the ONLY person on the beach. I could see all the way to the rocks which I couldnít pass. I donít see well on distances, but an utterly vacant beach is relatively easy to see.

The sun was at my back since I was walking due west, and the tide was receding. Thus my foot prints were the only ones on the beach. It is always fun to find that spot on the beach where the sand is nearly as firm as a sidewalk. Down near the water, of course, where the surf is rolling, it is wet. Up higher, close to the forest, it is loose and dry and deep, one sinks in it. But, somewhere, not in the middle, but somewhere between the end of the surf and the forest, there is that small hard spot where the water is drying out in the sun, and yet not dry enough to be soft and mushy. I love to find that spot. That is also the spot which leaves the least footprint.

There are three estuaries to cross. I was just wearing my tennis shoes. The first one was hardest, and I jumped it at a dead run, and cleared it, but realized it would be harder to jump back the other way. The next two I could step over. The final one, which I didnít cross since only 100 yards or so of beach is left then, was about 10-15 yards across and I didnít bother with that. On the way back, first time, I pulled a log into the too-long-to-jump spot, and walked the log. By the time I came back, I found some sand spots in the middle and could cross via those.

On the way back, with the sun full on my face, chest and stomach (more stomach there than chest or face -- but LESS stomach than when I arrived 5 weeks ago!), I decided to walk in the shade of the trees on the forest edge, and that meant in a bit deeper sand. But it was cool. On my second lap, the sun had retreated into heavy clouds, so it wasnít quite as warm, which I liked.

Back home I showered and dressed, got my book and headed to the coffee shop -- the daily routine again. My book on solitude is a bit disappointing, mainly in that it isnít what I was expecting and the essays are a bit superficial, not as challenging as I had hoped, and much of it about ENFORCED modes of solitude, not chosen ones. But, Iím reading it, actually nearly half way finished.

No walking tomorrow. I leave on the 6 AM bus for San Jose. Iíll knock about in San Jose tomorrow afternoon, then on Monday, head out to the airport with my backpack to meet Brian and Adam. They will pick up their already-rented car and we will leave right from the air-port to the northwest coast without at all going into San Jose. The boys donít miss much on that exchange.

I may well not have easy access to e-mail where we are going. Itís a bit more remote place, famous for surfers, but not well-developed on the tourist map, so I donít know what my access will be. Iíll just have to play it by eat.

My, my, my. These have indeed been very beautiful days here in Quepos / Manuel Antonio. I will miss it for sure!!!! (Especially in a few weeks when Iím home in the cold and frustrated that I donít want to take my daily walks in the bitterness....!)

Bob Corbett

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