I awoke up around 6 am Easter Sunday for our trip to Costa Rica, Central America, and packed my suitcase. My mother, disturbed by my noise, woke up immediately and prepared a small breakfast. Following the meal, she gave me the usual "going away talk," which consisted of a reminder of what is expected of me and my responsibilities on the trip.
Before getting on the plane, I requested a window seat and luckily it was granted to me. I love sitting by the window, the feeling of freedom over the clouds is unforgettable. I love the scenery of what I refer to as heaven floating under me.
Upon arriving in Costa Rica with the Urban Youth Bike Corps (UYBC), I thanked God for letting our flight land safety. I was also anxious to breath the air. I was very excited to get off the plane. However, my excitement was suddenly stunned by a disaster.
Since I was born in Haiti, and am still considered a Haitian citizen, the Costa Rican government requires that I have a visa to enter their country. I felt upset and odd. No one else had a problem, as I was kept from joining the rest of the group. Erik Cliette, the director of the UYBC, tried to speak on my behalf, and so did all the other adults, but nothing seemed to work. The counsel demanded that I stay in the airport until the next morning and catch the first flight back to the States. Embarrassment ran through my body. I hated being different, and again I was faced with another challenge to overcome. I thought it was best that Erik remain with the rest of the kids, I didn't want them to miss out on the trip because of me, at first he refused, but ultimately he was persuaded that it was in the best interest of the group that he stay with the group and have one of the chaperones accompany me back to the states. I had to stay at the airport over night and a good friend, Mr. Bigs, (Dr. Michael Lindsey) one of our chaperones stayed with me.
Once the group left, the hours seemed to move like snails in winter. I remember discussing my anger with Mr. Bigs, and he expressed the importance of maintaining my cool in situations like these. He told me to be patient, and to think positively, but ultimately I was overcame with anger. From that experience I learned that challenges pop up everywhere in life and you just have to deal with them.
Morning came and I got myself ready. Once we landed in Houston, it seemed like we had a million things to take care. First we spoke with a representative from the airline who advised us to take a cab to the Costa Rican embassy in Houston where I could be issued a visa. After I received my visa, I thanked God that I would finally be able to see Costa Rica. Mr. Bigs and I headed back to the airport and caught the next flight back to Costa Rica. At the airport I wanted to thank Mr. big so much for everything, his patience, wisdom and the fight he put up for me to enjoy the this trip.
Arriving back in Costa Rica I was glad that our chauffeur was already there waiting for us. He took us to our hotel and we were to meet with the group that next morning.
Day 1-------- The country side was beautiful, that morning we drove from San Jose to La Fortuna. the clouds were thick and the drive was dangerous, at least it seemed that way. Nonetheless I enjoyed it, Mr. Bigs was asleep. We stopped occasionally to take pictures. We drove on the side of the rain forest in the clouds. Our driver pointed out a lot of the attractions to me and I really love the different views and scenery of the mountain. It took us three hours to catch up with the rest of the group. The first person to see me was Tony, one of my fellow UYBC group members. At breakfast I got to tell my story. The kids wanted to know whether I was put in jail, so I told them about my ordeal over breakfast. After my story, Teddy shared with me that the group spent the morning hiking and the better part of the evening in the hot spring near the volcano.
Our hotel was beautiful, we had one huge house and three small rooms that sat approximately 50 miles beneath the volcano with a glorious back ground littered with mountains and white clouds; I was really happy to finally be with the rest of my peoples, and so began my trip.
Later that night we went to the waterfall, we hiked down the side of the mountain, it was quite dangerous for some of the older chaperones. The waterfall reminded me of heaven as the water fell from the peak of a mountain, we all were very excited and anxious to get in the water. The water was very cold, but danced and laughed with joy; I think I will never forget this day. After dinner and a visit to our hotel, the group decided to go back to the hot springs, so that Mr. Bigs and I could experience the joy of constant a natural jacuzzie.
I was really amazed to witness the wonders of Costa Rica.
Day----2 Everyone woke up even more excited than the day before. This day, after breakfast, we stayed in the hotel until about four when we went to see the live volcano; this was one of the most memorable activities of the trip. We took a nature hike , hiking on the side of the volcano, our tour guide pointed out the many different birds and attractions to us, the side of the mountain was very rocky, due to an eruption in 1992. That eruption , destroyed everything in it's path including a rain forest and a nearby village. The rocks were big and black, heavy too, but the climb was really fun. Our position on the side of the volcano allowed us to see the volcano erupting hot red rocks and some lava. This particular volcano in Costa Rica is active and at times is more active than at other times; in fact the volcano had a full eruption 10 days after we left the country. In either case, we sat there with dismay in our eyes, none of us had ever seen an actual volcano before, and the sight was unforgettable. Everyone took pictures of the falling rocks , and the red hot lava.
Day-4... We spent the majority of the day in a small river boat watching the animals (birds flew up and over us. Their were crocodiles in the water, a lot of them. they remain stiff and motionless as we float pass them. the river ride was significant because it offered us a new exciting experience. In the states we seldom get the opportunity to see rivers an live animals up close and personal. I saw animals that I had never seen before, small exotic birds as well as big yellow teethed cockatiels. We stop for lunch at the river side where we saw some Costa Rican boys playing soccer . My boys offered them some competition but unfortunately we lost. I actually wasn't there to offer my services, instead I went for a nature walk, to take in beauty of the country .
on the way back down stream I was playing with my sandals in the river and unfortunately I lost them, that was funny and memorable , I had to buy a new pair.
Day 5 four night--- Today we left La Fortuna to the pacific side of the country where we stayed at another hotel, a much better one this time. Equipped with a swimming pool and room service, and right across from the beach. We were all even more excited upon seeing the waves crashing along the water. the drive was very long and we happy to get to our destination. For 4 days all we did was hang out at the beach and eat, walk and meet people. There were a lot of people from the states in Costa Rica, and they all were enjoying the wonders of the country . WE rented bookie boards and budged all day. One day while at the beach, Chris got dragged out to sea by the undertow on his bookie board, the situation became quite scary because he couldn't get back in, finally we called upon Noel, an expert swimmer that attended the trip with us, to swim out and help him. Gratefully he made it back safe . That was pretty scary, but it never stopped us from enjoying the water. The sunsets were beautiful, every night we were blessed with beautiful scenes crafted by natures hand. Never before in my life have I endured such pleasure, the colors filled the sky with joy and the horizon filled with the love of heaven.
Almost every night we went to the disco (club), it was very different. The crowd and the music were different. In Costa Rica, everything is different, and it took us a couple of nights of attending to get used to it. The club was really a surfer hangout where the crowd came at night to meet girls and dance. Their dances are very wild and the music of choice is rock and roll . For four nights all we did was eat, and hang out at the beach.
Last Two days-------- We returned to San Jose where the first group had to go on their flight back home and we were to follow the, the following day. again we stayed at a different hotel and since it was our last night, we were determine to make the best of it, so we went looking for a club, unfortunately none could be found, but we stayed up[ late and talked about our days and what we enjoyed.
In conclusion, this trip was a real success. The experiences that I took away from it are those I can use in life, from being held at the airport to seeing real live volcano, I would encourage anyone to visit this heaven on Earth, Costa Rica.
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