October 31st, 2007

Puerto Viejo is one of those towns where you get to know the locals quickly and feel at home right away. People come from all over the world to buy a little plot of land and live here. They open up hostels, bookstores, cafés, or just retire and live the “no worries” lifestyle. I imagine that these people once visited this place, fell in love, and forgot to leave. I could easily forget to leave.

Everything takes so long here. I’m not complaining, just stating a fact. Being forced to relax is one way of explaining it. When you’re not in a hurry to do anything or go anywhere Puerto Viejo is a wonderful place. Waiting an hour at a restaurant – or for any type of service – has given me a chance to look differently at time spent waiting.  I enjoy it. I have no where else to be. Back home I would get restless waiting in doctors offices or grocery lines. This place has taught me to be content with waiting.

Sasha and I get into a routine of rolling out of bed at the crack of late morning and strolling up the dusty gravel road to our favourite café. We have discovered their huge glasses of iced mocha. We sip on them to wash away the morning heat and wake up our foggy heads. A couple of bull mastiffs loll around in the shade of the trees and occasionally approach us for affection. If we are lucky we spot one of the several smartly camouflaged tree frogs in the garden. The tree canopy and damp garden manage to keep the café cool even during the hottest, muggiest days. It is a little slice of paraiso.

We meet up with a few friends from back home who happen to be in the same place at the same time. We spend a few days sunning ourselves on the nearby beach and watch some very talented surfers. The beach is long and popular but not at all crowded – there aren’t enough people here to make it feel crowded. The trip to the beach is an easy walk along a road leading away from the town, or along a path through the trees winding along the coastline. If you chose to go along the road you will pass mini markets filled with Bob Marley paraphernalia, pipes, and hemp necklaces. Further along the road there are a few cafés and hostels nestled in the trees.  The smell of incense and grass mingled with the sweet sea breeze lingers in the air and Bob Marley tunes are everywhere. If  you choose to go along the path through the trees you may have the luck of spotting one of the sloths that lives there.

We rent bikes for a day and ride out to another beach further south, several kilometers down the road. Once we reach the beach and become exposed to the elements we realize it’s a bit of a stormy day. We get chilled by the breeze and decide to ride back to town shortly after we finish our packed lunches and snap a few shots.

Tonight we are going to partake in Ladies Night at the bar down the street. This means free mango flavoured daiquiris! Tomorrow, we plan to head north but we don’t know where to. Anything is possible – and that is refreshing.

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