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Kristin Kyllo

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Kiki's adventures in Costa Rica

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Surfer's heaven

Mal Pais, Costa Rica

So Holly and I just returned from Mal Pais for 5 days--it was our 'vacation'....like we need one :o) We decided to fly on one of the local airlines to save ourselves hours and hours of travel time and I am sure glad we did...what an experience! It was just a little 12 passanger plane that only took us 25 minutes to get where we would have driven 5-7 hours on the bus, depending on traffic. That is the only bad thing about Costa Rica, everything is SO close, but there are mountains and lack of roads everywhere! It was a nice treat to get somewhere so quickly.
When we got into the airport in Tambor, Costa Rica, we had to laugh....it was just a bench with a tin roof above it and a runway. It was pretty Costa Rican if you ask me. We got to Mal Pais to find that our reservation was taken by some guy named Damien who didn't know what he was talking about...comforting right? So, we went walking and decided to go to a hotel called The Place. They didn't have room but we made fast friends with the guy working, Solomon, and the other workers there. They let us know where was good to go out and even gave us a ride one night to the bar because it was really far away and Costa Ricans are all about helping out everyone.
We really didn't do much the whole time we were there. We actually had a kitchen with our room so we decided to go to the grocery store and buy food to save money....which worked out amazingly well (although it did take the water over an hour to boil to make our noodles one night!). We spent a lot of time hanging out by our pool when it wasn't raining...we had a day and a half of rain--not typical at the beach, even during rainy season. We didn't spend too much time at the beach because Holly and I were seriously the only people in the whole town that didn't surf....not that that would keep us from the beach but the waves sure did! They were incrediable!
We had a lot of fun at the beach but had to make the trip back to reality for work for 4 days before we head back to good ol' Minnesota. I cannot believe my trip has went this fast and I know it's not just me....my mom even said that to me, yes my mom....Mrs. Worry About Kristin While She's Living in Foreign Countries with People Who Don't Speak English. I have a lot to get accomplished this week and that is without the packing, something I am NOT looking forward to. I have done it every weekend thus far though so I guess I should be pretty much a pro! It will be nice to finally be home, sleep in my bed, and see everyone! Hasta pronto!

permalink written by  Kristin Kyllo on August 5, 2007 from Mal Pais, Costa Rica
from the travel blog: Kiki's adventures in Costa Rica
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Walk for a week....

Cartago, Costa Rica

So Thursday is a exteremly important day here in Costa Rica...it is the day of the Virgin. This is when everyone in the country (on the news it said over 2 million people) walk from wherever they live to Cartago--some people walk for a week or more! When they finally arrive, they finish the walk on their knees to the Basillica de Los Angeles (which I have pics of but didn't know I wasn't suppose to be taking them--whoops) where the statute of the Virgin is. They come here offering her many things--farmers will come and bring all that they grow to offer it to her--and also looking for her to perform miracles. If she does give them their miracle, they bring a charm of whatever was ailing them and it is put in these huge glass cases along with all the other miracles that have been given. I am very interested to see how this will all work and plan on taking pictures, but Holly and I are leaving for the beach for our last, long weekend here in Costa Rica.

Anyway, just thought that was interesting and wanted to share! See you in 10 days!! :o)

permalink written by  Kristin Kyllo on July 31, 2007 from Cartago, Costa Rica
from the travel blog: Kiki's adventures in Costa Rica
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Make crafts...

Montezuma, Costa Rica

Montezuma is like an alternate universe...one where it is normal to sit on the same set of stairs with 10 of your friends for 3 days and not move, smoke pot, make crafts, and sell them on the street....or to spend your evenings juggling or flame throwing with your friends in the middle of town. Yeah, every where we went was a definite adventure and we never knew what was going to be around the next corner.
To get there we had to take a bus to San Jose, a taxi to the correct bus stop, a bus to Puntarenas,walk to the ferry landing, a ferry across to the peninsula, and a bus to Montezuma so it was definitely a hike. The ferry was really fun--it was big enough for cars to drive on and go across too. We were also big fans of the food and beverages on board...always nice to pass the time.
We spent one afternoon climbing on rocks to get to a waterfall where the sign when you walk in says "Danger. Various people have died here." Again, like everything else in this country....definitely not OSHA approved. It was a hard trek back to the falls but it was fun to go swimming in the pool and near the waterfall. We also spent a lot of our time at the beach during the day and having some beers during the evening hours.
The town was TINY and in the shape of a 'T' so there were two streets, maybe 100 meters long each (yeah I am all metric now). We pretty much felt like we were staying with every single person there because you couldn't help but see the same people over and over and over...... There was a local guy, who I doubbed at Crazy Legs, who just couldn't leave me alone. He was an interesting character who some how managed to show up whenever we were anywhere in town. He also only spoke Spanish so that made it that much funnier.
We had a GREAT time and Holly and I are looking forward to this weekend--Wednesday to Sunday in Mal Pais-which is located a little past Montezuma. We think we might fly this time but we'll see!

permalink written by  Kristin Kyllo on July 30, 2007 from Montezuma, Costa Rica
from the travel blog: Kiki's adventures in Costa Rica
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Annexation of Nicoya

Tres Rios, Costa Rica

Today is a very important day here in Costa Rica--it marks the annexation of Nicoya to the rest of Costa Rica. Today at school all the kids dressed in traditional Costa Rican clothing, did the typical dances, and ate the traditional foods. I think it made me realize that we don't have anything cool or traditional about our culture....how sad.
We had the whole day at school to celebrate and we also have Monday off so people can enjoy the weekend. Looking forward to it!

Just wanted to post some of the pictures of the kiddies--adorable!

permalink written by  Kristin Kyllo on July 25, 2007 from Tres Rios, Costa Rica
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On top of a mountain....

Monteverde, Costa Rica

So this past weekend we spent our time up in the mountains. We debated if we wanted to do it or just go to the beach again, but we decided to check it out. We got there late-ish on Friday, after getting a flat on the bus--but instead of changing it, we just moved all the people who were sitting in that section of the bus and they had to stand.....wait, that was me...of course. So when we got there, we got all of our stuff settled and headed out to eat. After eating, we found the local hot spot and had some drinks. Not too much to report, but it was a fun night.
The next day, we got up and ate some breakfast and went to set up a canopy tour(ziplining). We went had a fun time. They had a 'tarzan swing' which I had been warned to stay away from but after a 4 year old boy did it twice and loved it, I couldn't say no! It really wasn't too bad, after the inital fall and then you knew that the rope wasn't going to snap :o) We made friends with the guys there and they told us to look for them that night. We were leaving at 6:30 am the next day but figured drinks were definitely in order.
After an afternoon of napping (it was raining like crazy!), we got up, ate, got our selves ready, and got back to Dos Amigos (the bar). We hung out for a while and then Randall from the tour found us. For the rest of the night it was crazy...we hung out with the canopy workers and also with the people who worked at our hostel as well. It was really fun, but also really chill since we had to be up do darn early in the morning....
And that is all I've got from the mountains. I wish the weather would have been better but aw well. The next two weekends (which are long ones!) will be spent on the beach...very excited!
Other than that, I have started at my new school and am REALLY enjoying it. Kindergartern is so fun and my spanish is getting tested, as they don't know any English really. It's interesting....

I am heading home in about 2 1/2 weeks...very strange but I am kinda getting ready to get back to normal life--not that I won't miss Costa Rica and all my down time, but I just miss everyone at home!
Hope this finds everyone well and hopefully see you at the BBQ at my house on August 11th!

permalink written by  Kristin Kyllo on July 23, 2007 from Monteverde, Costa Rica
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Vacation--week 2

Jaco, Costa Rica

So after I got Justin set and off to the airport I only had a couple of hours before my parents got here. When they first got here they got a great introduction to life in Costa Rica--the rent-a-car window was closed because the man decided he wanted to go home. Yup, it's pretty laid back here. So we just took a taxi back to my place. Oh yeah, and my mom also thought that maybe if she spoke English louder that my host mom would understand her.....turns out that doesn't help if she doesn't know any English!

Here are some highlights from the week:
--Spent a couple days in Playa Hermosa (not the one J and I went to but another one--they are not very creative with their names!--the one near Jaco Beach) and met a dad and his son from San Diego. We spent some time hanging out and eating with them. It was a lot of fun but the beach there was for surfing only...which kept us outta the water. It didn't matter too much

because it wasn't too nice out.
--I played pool on a team with an 80's porn star, as I came to find out afterwards. You have to ask about that character when I get home. And yes, I have pictures......
--We went to a botanical garden for my mom's birthday. It was interesting because we had to drive 8 km on a crappy gravel road to get there....up the side of part of the mountain. It was cool though and the views were absolutely georgous!
--After a couple days there we went down to Manuel Antonio (me for the second time!). It was very busy but still just as beautiful. We met up with Alan and Hugh (that J and I met in Playa Hermosa) and spent a LOT of time with them. Dad, Hugh, Alan, and I went on a canopy tour, which is a bunch of zip lines throughout the jungle.....it was AWESOME!
--On the night before we headed back to the city, the president of Costa Rica (Don Oscar) was staying at our hotel. We were very interested at how laid back everything was and I decided that I was going to get a picture with him. Well, it happened right when he got there before his dinner. Then, after he got done with dinner and was heading up to his room he stopped and asked me out.......seriously. You can ask my mom, she saw the whole thing. It was hilarious!
--We went to Manuel Antonion National Park and spent some time checking out the local wildlife. We saw lots of whiteface monkeys, slothes, poision tree frogs, a snake (mom did WONDERFUL!) and lots of other animals.
--The week that we spent traveling, we got a car to drive. That in itself was an adventure! We had to try manage ourselves in a country with no addressess, street names, and almost nonexistent street signs! We only got lost twice--once on the way and once on the way back--so I think we did very well. Oh and I was driving....good thing too because it was through the mountains for 70% and also on a "road" (which was more like they cut down the trees and threw huge rocks on it) which took us an hour and a half to go 20 miles. There were potholes on the road that our car could have disappeared into forever if we would have hit them (seriously holes with a diameter of 7-8 feet)!!!

I know that there are more and I am sure you will all hear them over and over in the next

couple months--so get excited! I only have 3 weeks and 3 days left (I get home late on August 10th) which is very weird to think about, but also exciting. I miss everyone a lot, especially after having a taste of home here with me. I have lots of pictures and lots of stories so if you're interested, you know where to find me.........

permalink written by  Kristin Kyllo on July 16, 2007 from Jaco, Costa Rica
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Vacation--week 1

Liberia, Costa Rica

So a lot happened in the week we spent at Playa Hermosa--we met 3 new friends that we spent a lot of time with, went snorkeling, fishing, and had a LOT of laughs and fun. We'll go with the new friends first.

We met Marc (from San Francisco) who was traveling alone. He was between jobs and had a couple weeks so his wife told him to take a couple weeks and travel. Our other friends are Hugh and Alan (from Palm Springs) who are on their third trip here. They are both in the food industry and it is their slow time so what better time to vacation! We spent a lot of time (over lots of food and drinks) with these three but also balanced it out so we had time to have our own adventures as well. It was great!

Now on to snorkeling. We had gone out the night before in a nearby beach called Playas del Coco. We went with John (another friend we met while there who is an ex-Marine and

was great to have around because he is a wealth of knowledge) and Marc. Well Justin and I thought it would be a great idea to stay until 2:30 am or so and then head back. After we got our new Tico bartender friend slapped so hard he got knocked down, we got home extremely late with not a lot of time to sleep before heading out on the boat. So needless to say, I wasn't feeling 100%.......so we get out on the boat and are all hopping into the water when we realize that all we have are flipper, masks, and the little tube thingy to breathe out of....no life jackets. I don't know about you, but if I am out in the middle of the ocean swimming around, I'm thinking a life jacket is a pretty good idea. So we get in anyway and try to get used to the whole breathing through a little tube deal. It was going okay and we saw some cool fish until we came to a wall of jellyfish. Alan and our guide were already through them(they were just little yellow ones but we weren't sure if swimming through them would be okay or not) so Justin and I started to freak out. We were becoming surrounded by all these jellyfish and were pretty far from our boat so panic set in. We split second decided to haul our butts back to the boat as fast as we could. We yelled to Hugh and off we went. Let me tell you that that was the longest swim of my life. Once we got back on the boat, there was no getting us off, unless it was on land. After all the commotion, I got sick....which made it even more ridiculous. The driver dropped us off at the beach and took Alan back out since he was the only one even doing it. The guide did being up fish and I guess was diving down and grabbing stuff outta holes in the coral....Alan said he was just nuts but a blast to snorkel with. So that was snorkeling.....

Now fishing was a blast. It was Marc, John, Justin, and I on a boat with our guide and his son. They got us pretty much set up and we started catching our bait fish. That took longer than expected but as soon as we got out to the deeper water, Marc and Justin both got bites. It was really exciting, but took a while to get the fish in the boats. Marc got his first and it was pretty big. But after 25 minutes of fighting the darn thing, Justin pulled his in. HOLY CRAP. It is the biggest fish I have ever seen in person, besides sharks in aquariums. We didn't catch anything after those two besides little bait fish, but this trip was much more productive and enjoyable over all. We actually wished we would have done it instead of snorkeling and then could have maybe gone out again before we had to leave.

tired now but more later....

permalink written by  Kristin Kyllo on July 6, 2007 from Liberia, Costa Rica
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Justin's here!

Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica

So it has been an exciting couple of days. I had my last day at school (which was really sad) and Justin arrived on Friday! He got here with NO problems...luckly...and we made it to Playa Hermosa--but not without his first food experience in Costa Rica being Denny's....yes, Denny's. I know, not realy authentic, but it was close and easy so gimme a break. Playa Hermosa is on the Northern Pacific side of Costa Rica, so I am not sure why it is showing a completely different place but oh well!

We got here last night and just hung out and checked out our hotel (Hotel El Velero) and the little bar across the street (Pescado Loco....Crazy Fish in English). It was pretty chill and Justin was pretty tired, but he hung in there for a bit at least!

Today we woke up to lots of clouds so I was not very happy. We decided to talk a walk and check out the area, get some cash, and get our shuttle lined up for the way home. The cash machine didn't work with either of our cards so I am not sure what is going on, but hopefully we'll make it through the week on what we have. Also, we can just put everything we get here at our hotel on our room charge which is great and awful at the same time! The day was fun, met a lot of Americans...they are older than my parents but very nice people non-the-least. Justin isn't feeling too well tonight so I am just catching up on this and getting things situated for when we head back into the city.

We are hoping for a bit more sun tomorrow(although it did clear up and I believe that I did get a little burnt today...shocker), but more adventures to come in the week ahead!

permalink written by  Kristin Kyllo on June 30, 2007 from Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica
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St. Clare field Trip

Cartago, Costa Rica

Today I got to go on a Field trip with my kids. We went on a tour of Cartago, which used to be the captial city of Costa Rica. We went to a bunch of really old churches and saw some amazing views. Just thought I'd share some photos from it.......

Oh yeah, and here is my new room....I ended up moving into the room inside the house about a week ago. Check it out...

permalink written by  Kristin Kyllo on June 26, 2007 from Cartago, Costa Rica
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Weekend around home

Tres Rios, Costa Rica

This weekend was really fun. We just stuck around home and explored. Friday we went out to Pepe's (one of our usual places) and had some drinks. Not too much to report from that but on Saturday morning Holly and I went with my teacher Ericka and her husband José to Irazú Volcano and Sanciario Nacional. It was awesome. The volcano was a bit anticlimatic though, seeing as it looks like a little puddle at the bottom of a Crater with bubbling green water. I mean, don't get me wrong, it was pretty sweet to be standing at the top of a volcano looking at the place where lava come spewing out of the Earth, but it was a little less exciting than I expected. That really didn't matter though because we had so much fun. It was nice to be with people who live here and know what is going on--also to be in a car was heaven. We stopped at the Sanciario Nacional on the way home, which was also very cool. It is the oldest church in Costa Rica, I believe. It was really cool on the inside as well--we just walked around and Ericka and José explained about everything that was there. Then Saturday night we went out with Sylivia (a Tica), Amanda, Holly, Steve, and myself. We went down by the University of Costa Rica, so that was definitely a little different than I am used too....completely packed, drunk Ticos, and dancing. We did not dance and pretty much just stayed to ourselves, but it was interesting to people watch, that's for sure. Sunday brought adventures as well. Holly and I decided to go walk around and find a place to go to lunch. We were successful in that, and also found a new place to go! We got there and ordered food and realized that the US vs. Mexico game was on (soccer), the championship for the Gold Cup. We decided to stay, have a few beers, and cheer on our team. We had a lot of fun and so did the Ticos...they were cheering for the US as well, but only because they didn't want Mexico to win :-) After there was a bit of shopping and then relaxing was in order. Not too exciting (in comparision to our traveling weekends) but it was really nice to have a little calm before the storm....the next two weeks I have off and Justin is coming the first week in July, my parents the second. Let the adventures continue.....!

If any of you are interested, here is the website of the school I have been working at:

permalink written by  Kristin Kyllo on June 25, 2007 from Tres Rios, Costa Rica
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