our residence for the night overlooked lake nicaragua, a massive body of fresh water with volcanoes rising up from the middle. the lake extends all the way down through costa rica, and the border was much close than we thought. we weren't quite mentally ready to deal with a border crossing, but we were already there, so we took in a deep breath and jumped in. the usual crowd of border mongers came running up to the truck, completely surrounding us until we could drive no further. brian cracked the window to choose the pick of the litter, which happened to be an english speaking guy and his brother. upon their instruction, brian went with them while i stayed with the dog and truck. the brothers worked in tandem, and were super efficient, escorting brian from office to office, right to the front of the line to get stamped out. the nicaraguan side took about ten minutes, the fastest border crossing ever! the brothers were paid well, and we rolled up to the costa rican entrance. the brothers, unable to cross over the border to help out in costa rica, said that they did not know what the border guides on the other side were like, and could not be held accountable for their actions. we'd expected the worst, but were happy to find that there were no border guides at all. everything was self explanatory, and the officials could not have been nicer.
3/8/2007 - LIBERIA, COSTA RICA
just as we were becoming accustomed to cops waving us over to shake us down for money, the costa rican cops caused us a little confusion by not trying to extort money on trumped up charges. we drove through three checkpoints on the way to liberia, where they checked our passports, gave us advice about which beaches to visit, and sent us on our way. our late start dictated where we would stay, which happened to be liberia. liberia is not a very special place, but is very close to some really great costa rican beaches. for the first time in a long time, we found a hotel with internet access, and knowing that the rates in costa rica were going to be a little higher than what we'd been paying, we checked in to a super luxury hotel with super luxury prices. one of the hotel's best features was the giant tile waterslide, which sent you skipping across the swimming pool at breakneck speed. across the street was a grocery store, where we purchased twenty u.s. dollars worth of candy, which was devoured in a sugar crazed frenzy.
COCO BEACH, COSTA RICA
there isn't much privacy to be found on any halfway decent beach anywhere, so we knew we found the equivalent of gold when we stumbled across a sparsely populated beach cove just outside of coco proper. giant rock croppings rose out of the ocean reminded me of one eyed willy's pirate hideout in the goonies, so we referred to our spot as goonies beach. there was one house to the side of the beach where the residents raised and sold chickens. i asked one of the ladies there if it would be okay to camp beside her property for the night, and she kindly allowed. because we weren't expecting to find a camping spot so easily, we found ourselves without a few necessary items... water, gas and food. gas was difficult to find, and we decided to put it off until the next day. we did manage to find a tienda, where we stocked up on food and a six pack of corona. it was one of the best sunsets i've ever seen, and we had a moment where neither of us could believe that this was how our lives are now lived. there were some little pools of water left from the high tide in a flow of hardened lava rocks, where we spectated by flashlight hundreds of starfish, anemones, mollusks, and red and green fish. it was like scuba diving without the diving. on the way to coco, brian spotted a rover 90 for sale. the rovers that are sold down here for bottom dollar prices are quite popular in the states, the rarity of which, makes them even more valuable to prospective u.s. buyers. because we're always thinking about prospective business ideas, it didn't take long to come up with an investment scheme involving importing some of these rare rovers. by the time we got to the beach, we had pretty much figured out the logistics, and our minds and enthusiasm ran wild for the rest of the night. brian, his mind on our new business plan, was already awake when he heard the manic squealing of a wild boar that had been shot or trapped down the beach. it was running all around our tent, and squealing and snoring in pain. i didn't wake up until brian shook me, exclaiming something about a wild boar outside the tent. in my sleepy state, i couldn't be bothered with such details, and fell right back asleep. when i woke up, i thought i had dreamt it, but brian was there to set me straight with the facts.
there was a program that we saw back at the hotel in liberia about skimboards. they are like little surfboards that you ride on the edge of the water, on the beach. a skimboard sounded like a good solution to our land loving tendencies. you couldn't pay either one of us enough money to go deep enough into the ocean to surf, we're both terrified. to add to our weird phobia, the other day i almost stepped on a mantaray nested in the sand, which scared me out of the water in seconds. i don't know what's better, being able to see what you're swimming with, or just going by feel... either way, we're quite comfortable in the baby waves, and not much else. with our new mission of finding a skimboard, we drove from beach town to beach town in search. we haven't had any luck yet, but we're keeping our eyes peeled.
LIBERIA, COSTA RICA
we went back to our luxury priced hotel in liberia to do a little research on our rover 110 business idea. while it would take about a month or so out of our tight schedule of goofing off in foreign countries, it seemed like we could make it worth our while. we debated the pros and cons for hours, as brian poured over internet pages about importation regulations. not really knowing what to do, we decided to sleep on it, and call one of our friend, ted in denver who has been making import/export car deals for some time. ted would have been more than happy to help, but the most important advice that he could have given us was this... "you're on the trip of a lifetime, and you already have enough to pay for it, so why add complication". ted had a solid point there, so we minded his good advice and got back in the truck without any further research.
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