Friday, October 4, 2013

Playa Conchal or Bust, Costa Rica


So I went to bed just knowing that I would get up and go to Conchal the next day. Before we even set one toe in Costa Rica I had spent several evenings looking at slideshows and cool YouTube videos of this beach. It promised me white sands, beautiful views and great swimming. I have two friends who have been and confirmed the promises so I was determined for all of us to go. 
Of course there are my plans and then what really happens.

We were off to a late start, there was nothing really lunch bag material in the fridge, And we only have 4 bikes for the 5 of us. So the reality of all of that began to hit my husband and he bravely mentioned that maybe we should just go somewhere else today.
Now here I should give back ground info.  So far I have tried to plan a beach trip twice and each time everyone gives me a hard time and by the time we get to the place I want to go to we only have a brief moment to enjoy it before our life demands we be somewhere else. So I had had it! I did not want to change my mind, I did not care about reason or math or even hungry bellies. I wanted my white sand beach and I was going to see it no matter what. He told me to just go ahead by myself and he would take the kids to the beach down the road from the house.  At the last minute I gained a companion as Haile decided he was up for the ride to Brasilito. 

So of course, all I had was stubborn will taking me to Conchal. It's October,the rainy season here, and foolishly we do not own umbrellas and I had not checked the forecast. Well to be honest I haven't checked the forecast since we have been here. So as we set out on our 14 kilometer (8.5 miles) roundtrip journey the sky started to get dark. I looked up and noticed the clouds but decided to ignore their fair warning that they were going to open up and rain on my head. About 1.5 km (1 mile) in the chain pops off. I was wearing white, had just painted my nails hot pretty pink, and did not even have a spare napkin with me. I get off and inspect the bike like I really knew what I was doing. I try, fail, try, fail, try again and fail to fix the chain. At this point I'm about to throw in the towel and return home but Haile must have soaked up that Conchal fever because now he wouldn't let me turn around. "Come on Mom we can just ride to the bike guy on the way to Conchal. Just put it on any gear and we can make it there."
I looked up, smiled and followed directions. Voilà, it worked.   So in the hardest gear, with black oil smudging up my nails and streaking my outfit, we continued on to the white sands. 

That is until as promised the clouds open up and dump buckets on our heads. Fortunately the plant life here acts as guardians and grow giant umbrella sized leaves for forgetful foreigners who decide to test the seriousness of the heavens. We literally camped out on the side of the road and used leaves to fend off the torrential rain.
   After the 15 minute temper tantrum thrown by the clouds was over, we forged onward surprisingly more determined to get there than before.  We made one quick stop at the bike guys place and were on our way merrily peddling to Brasilito. Merrily that is until we saw this....


We had been here two weeks ago and I swear this was a beach. It was all sand that you could just drive straight across. We stood there looking unbelievingly at the river that had sprung up out of nowhere and that appeared to be thwarting our plans. I looked again to the sky and they were back, the black gray clouds and their ominous promise. Feeling defeated I suggested we go back home. 
"No way Mom! We have come so far, through broken chain and pouring rain, we are going to that beach. Look we can see it! Lets just cross in the shallow part and carry the bikes." 

Seeing Haile's persistence made it impossible for me to give up. I decided we should get some lunch and wait out the storm. 
As we wandered throughout the small square comparing our options we ran into a character. Now some people are people and some are just characters. The guy we met had such a big personality he could never be characterized as just a man you met on the road. First off, he was on a horse. Secondly, he hollered something at us that didn't sound mean but was unintelligible. Third, he had a big white Santa Claus beard, round red nose and was wearing an old straw hat, like Santa was on vacation in Costa Rica and was using a horse because his reindeer were back at the North Pole. After mumbling "hola" we sidestepped him and entered Bar Indira. 


Bar Indira is Tica plain and simple. It's right on the beach, the fish you eat is caught by the guy you see standing in front of the place with his makeshift fishing pole standing knee high in the ocean, and the juice you drink is fresh squeezed from the fruit trees out back. Soo in other words we had a delicious meal :) As soon as the food came we cleaned the plate so fast I couldn't snap a picture. Haile and I split a casado with fish and each had fresh pineapple juice and our bill was only $13.80 which including tax and tip. 

It just so happened that Santa was also hanging out at the bar and he came over to talk with us. Yes, he pulled up a chair and sat at our table and started a conversation. Character :). Turns out he is a wonderful guy and I wasn't too far off, he is from Northern Canada up near Alaska. We exchanged the usual info, why we are here, how beautiful Costa Rica is, how life is pretty peaceful here. Half way through our meal he insisted that Haile would ride a horse today. If you know Haile you know he's pretty nonchalant, he was like whatever. Santa walked back to his seat and I get up to take some pics for this blogpost.  

 When I turned around my child was walking out the door towards the horse. Did I mention he's never been on a horse before? I run around to find the waitress, actually I thought of just throwing money on the table and running out the door, still not sure why I didn't. As I waited for my change another friendly guy began talking about how we are always welcome at the bar and how he can tell by looking into our eyes that we are good people. This was all fine and dandy but I needed to go. Side note if you love characters and good food stop by this bar. I gave my thanks all around and dashed out to find....


 In the small town square of Brasilito Haile was having his first lesson in equitation (working on my vocab see this post). He guided the horse this way and that and even had him trot a bit. While Haile was riding, Santa pointed out the fruit truck where I could get cheap good fruit, told me how to negotiate with taxi drivers, and gave me some advice on where to visit when I go to Nicaragua. After a little while  we thanked Canadian Santa for his hospitality and resumed our quest. 

We had made a good call by having lunch first because when we returned the tide had gone down and there was a clear path across to Conchal. We avoided some dogs, biked some more, climbed a little, and finally arrived. 



Yes it was worth it! We had an excellent adventure and I got to see my little guy in a new light. I was impressed with his perseverance and his cool under pressure attitude. He is definitely his mommy and daddy's son. 

My toes finally made it





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