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ryan & debbrial


84 Blog Entries
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Trips:

Us Discovering the Latin Americas
ryan & debbrial's Travel Blog

Shorthand link:

http://blogabond.com/ryan_debb


We met through a mutual friend in college about 5 years ago. We were friends for about 4 years and dated for a year and half. We recently got married on Sunday, May 24, 2009.

Now for the fun part... We decided not to do the typical buy a house and settling down, instead it was sell everything we own and follow our desire to travel. We are on our journey through Central and South America (backpacking, couch surfing, hostels, camping, whatever) for the next 3-4 years. While in Central and South America we plan on working at a variety volunteer camps, meeting fellow travelers, teaching English local people, surfing, enjoying the beautiful sceneries and environment, visiting some tourist sites and really engaging the culture that surrounds us.


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New blogs, new website

San Jose, Costa Rica


Hi Everyone,

Ryan and I have decided to create our own website for all our blogs and other fun stuff. So that means we will no longer be posting on Blogabond. If you want to continue following our adventures through Latin America, and we really hope you do, please check out our website SimplyGoingSouth.com

Because I have been spending a lot of time building our website I have not had time to post any recent blogs. So I apologize for this and promise I will be back-blogging very soon. Plus, Ryan and I will start traveling again in a month (May), so check out SimplyGoingSouth.com for lots more blogs.



permalink written by  ryan & debbrial on March 27, 2011 from San Jose, Costa Rica
from the travel blog: Us Discovering the Latin Americas
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Canyoneering in La Fotruna

Fortuna, Costa Rica


Canyoneering: technical descents — those that require rappelling (abseils) and ropework, technical climbing or down-climbing, technical jumps, and/or technical swims (and in our case some free-fall zip-lining) down the face of waterfalls while trekking through a fairly fast flowing river/stream in a rainforest canyon.

Yeah it sounds technical and kinda of scary, but on a reputable organized tourist trip (Desafio) it really wasn’t that hard, just a lot of FUN!! I won’t lie Mom and I were a bit scared at first, but after the first rappel we were just energized for more and completely forgot about being super sore from the hike the day before.

The tour started at the Desafio main office in the center of La Fortuna, were we and 15 other people climbed into a large shuttle bus. Twenty minutes up the road we switched 4x4 trucks with canopy covered beds; the “Jungle Limos”.

Luckily, since we were a small group we got to go first and didn’t have to wait for the other people. So, the guides showed us to the first tester rappel which was only 30 meters high. This one was to get us used to the backward sitting and walking feeling. I had a hard time falling backwards and kept having to feed the rope through. I guess it’s since I don’t weight that much and the ropes were wet. Mom and Dad did great and Ryan is used to this all since he used to wear a harness and rappelling gear at work (doing construction).

After the 30 meter waterfall continued trekking on to a 20 meter waterfall and then to the 180 meter waterfall. The 180 meter one was the best because it was a real rappel plus an amazing sight.

Before the last downward 300 meter free-fall zip-line the guided directed us through some fun terrain. At one point there was this narrow pool between two rocks that we cannon-balled into. From atop it the hole didn’t look very deep but when we jumped in we were fully submerged under water. Totally cool!!

Next we came to another narrow down step waterfall gap where the guides said we were going to play a game “Hold on as long as you can”. They directed us and a couple other people to sit front to back legs locked around each other and hold on tight while two of the guides laid down at the top stopping up the water like human damns. Once we were all positioned tight the guides got up and a rushing flow of water came dashing over our head pushing us all forward. Ryan was in front and tried to hold on as long as possible but his butt got pushed off the rocks. I was up 30 seconds later, but mom held the group for a good minute or two.

All our guides were totally cool, funny and made the tour entertaining. Even though the waterfall rappels were the main attraction we really had a lot more fun trekking through the river and canyons. Another great day and new experience for all of us.


permalink written by  ryan & debbrial on December 28, 2010 from Fortuna, Costa Rica
from the travel blog: Us Discovering the Latin Americas
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Muddy Hike up Cerro Chato...oh my body is in pain

Fortuna, Costa Rica


Quote from me “We will laugh about this day later.” …..Even though I was the only one really hung over we were all moving kinda slow the next morning, which was good since we didn’t have our Canyoneering tour till 1pm…well we thought!! It actually turned out that the tour was scheduled for 10am and we missed it. But the guy at the tour office was nice enough to let us join the group the next morning, instead of saying “you snooze, you lose” pun intended. Haha.


Now what to do with the rest of the day? We walked around town, La Fortuna, for a bit then decided to take a hike up to Cerro Chato Crater.

This is a smaller mountain next to Volcano Arenal, which also has a lake in the crater like Poas. Since we missed Poas we figured this would be a good opportunity. It was about 1pm then, and we believed we could make it up and back before dark. When we arrived we learned it is a 4km (2.5 miles) hike to the top/ the lake. And that’s where it started.

Since it had been raining the day before the trail was muddy but not that bad to start. However, our simple walk through the garden quickly turned into a muddy mess.

Then one km completed and the trail became a mountain trek muddier, slipperier and steeper by the step. I remember thinking this mountain is like a grass covered snow ski double diamond mogul course. Mud up to our ankles and thighs tingling we were all glad to get to the third stage of the hike, into the rainforest. Again this trail started off not so bad with nice man-made tree stump steps nevertheless those too disappeared leaving us to climb the remaining 1km up and over giant tree roots for steps.

I must say my parents are total troopers cause they made it almost the whole way at mine and Ryan’s pace, though I can’t leave out there was a lot of bitching and crying, and then Ryan and I did the last haul up to the top and another 700 meters down to the crater lake by ourselves. I later learned by parent’s did continue to the top of the mountain at their own pace. Mission Accomplished!!

If they had seen the trail to the lake, they would have been very glad they didn’t join us cause it was a Doozy. Literally using hands, feet and butt to climb down and back up.

Anyways, that’s not the end of the story…Whatever goes up must come down. So there we went down the mountain trying to beat the darkness from coming while using all our left strength and agility to not fall on our ASSES, no can do. Ass falls are counted as follows: Mom 3, Debbrial 2, Dad 1, and Ryan 0. Three, two, one, zero, we were finally back at our car mud up to our knees now, wet from sweat and drizzling rain, thighs burning and calves and a SUPER need for the hot tub.

As I said in the beginning, that night we sat in the thermal pool massaging our sore legs and laughing about the day we had had.


permalink written by  ryan & debbrial on December 27, 2010 from Fortuna, Costa Rica
from the travel blog: Us Discovering the Latin Americas
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Day one of vacation with mom and dad

Fortuna, Costa Rica


Like promised I do have a lot to write about, about our Christmas and New Years vacation with my parents. So I am going to break it down into segments based on the towns we visited.

Mom and Dad arrived on December 26th, on time with no problems. Ryan and I met them at the airport with the rental car then brought them back to our home. At first I think they were a bit overwhelmed with San Jose (crowded, busy, one-way dirty streets), like most people are when they get here, but at the end of the week they were happy to be in a city with "real" paved streets.

Anyways, the next morning we all got up early and headed out of the city into the ideal, postcard nature scene of Costa Rica. The first stop on the itinerary was Volcano Poas. I was really looking forward to seeing the carter since we had not visited it before. The crater can only be viewed on clear days without any clouds in the sky. We drove through small towns and coffee filled hills on the way up the beautiful mountain

to the volcano. But the higher and higher we climbed the faster our views of the valleys began to disappear because of light rain and clouds. By the time we got to the top, and I quote from dad, “We are soaked in!!!!” The ranger at the entrance to the national park said it would be $10 per person to enter (too see nothing but clouds), so we turned around to back track.

Fortunately, this gave us lots of time to get to Arenal/La Fortuna and sightsee on the way. We stopped in Zarcero to show mom and dad the hedge garden with funny engraved faces and the pseudo stone face plywood painted church.

We made it to Arenal by mid-afternoon, checked into the hotel and headed straight to the thermal heated pool bar where we stayed for a majority of the rest of the night. I won’t get totally into it but let’s just say after a couple tequila shots, continuous wet-n-wild rides down the waterslide, and the heat from the pool only mom remembered eating chicken sandwiches at the pool before bed. And shamed to say I was hugging the toilet later that night.





permalink written by  ryan & debbrial on December 26, 2010 from Fortuna, Costa Rica
from the travel blog: Us Discovering the Latin Americas
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Christmas Morning and The end of the Year thoughts

San Jose, Costa Rica


Well its Christmas morning 2010 and our second year away from home, family and friends for the holidays. Yet we are still happy and pleased with our decision to travel. I must say it has been quite a year and not totally what we expected.

Living most of the year, well pretty much the whole year, in San Jose, Costa Rica when originally we only expected to be here 8 months maximum. Unfortunately, this year has been one of the longest and heaviest rainy seasons Costa Rica has experienced in either a long time or ever, I am not quiet sure, but this is true according to the locals. Neither Ryan nor I was pleased at all with all the rain, being from sunny California, though it was definitely a new experience for both of us. I don't think either of us have seen as much rain as we saw this year in our whole lives. I found out that is rained approximately 71" (6ft.) this year. But we made it through the grueling months and are now coming to dry season again.

On another note, today we are both excited because being here (CR) has given my parents an opportunity to come visit us for Christmas and New Years. They arrive tomorrow, December 26th, for a week visit. And this means that Ryan finally gets a vacation too, which he has been totally looking forward to. We have a lot planned for our mini vacation starting with a hike up Poas Volcano and a view of the emerald green crater, if weather permits. Then north to La Fortuna/ Arenal for canyoneering (which I'll explain later with pictures) and hot springs, followed by fours days in Santa Teresa hanging on the beach. I don't want to write too much about what we have planned because the stories will be so much better after they actually happen.

So on top of seeing my parents I think I am also just excited to have some new adventures and something to write about. Those stories will be coming soon.

Because the next time I do get a chance to write it will probably be 2011 I just want to say Ryan and I are really looking forward to the new year coming and our new adventures starting in May. (Oh yeah, I don't think I wrote about this but we decided when my contract is up in May we are going to go back home, California, for a 2 week family and friends visit, then we decided to kind of start over our trip by flying back to Mexico City. We will take a few weeks traveling around southern Mexico then continue on to Panama like originally planned.) So there is a lot to come, new blogs and more pictures in the new year!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR to Everyone. LOVE YA!!

permalink written by  ryan & debbrial on December 25, 2010 from San Jose, Costa Rica
from the travel blog: Us Discovering the Latin Americas
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Miss'n It

San Jose, Costa Rica


Ohhh...It's been so long. I wish I had something good to write about. But NO. Nothing good. We have just been working our butts off in San Jose, Costa Rica trying to save a "dime" or should I say a "colones".

I am in my 6th month teaching English and Ryan is still working as manager at the hostel. We are both getting Great experiences and have now even seriously considered opening our own hostel / cafe some where down the road; maybe in South America or back in Mexico. But of course we don't know what the future holds for us except that we can't wait to get out of here and back on the traveling road.

I hope that day comes sooner than later and I can be here writing about our exciting adventures again.

permalink written by  ryan & debbrial on October 21, 2010 from San Jose, Costa Rica
from the travel blog: Us Discovering the Latin Americas
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Best friend visits, visa runs, and pie

San Jose, Costa Rica


Another 2 month bi-mester of teaching done for me; 3 months and another visa run for Ryan. Time flies when….well when you’re busy. So let me back up a bit and recap this past month. Umm well the last time I posted was just after my surgery. First of all, I am all recovered and well. No complications post-surgery and the tumor biopsy came back negative for cancer cells. So all good!! Anyways, I got two weeks off work, paid, from my surgery. They have this thing called an “incapacidad” in Costa Rica which the doctor orders (sick leave) and you have to abide by, by Costa Rica law. The law for the incapacidad is that you cannot come back to work, even if you are feeling better, until the date stated on the incapacidad. And lucky for me this was two weeks. It also worked out that my work paid 40% of my salary while I was out and the Costa Rican Social Security, CCSS, (which I pay into from pay check) paid the other 60% of my salary. Pretty sweet deal I thought. I am not so sure how this would have all worked out in the U.S. because I had never missed work on sick leave but I have a feeling I wouldn’t have had two weeks and full salary paid. So that’s one thing nice about being in Costa Rica, they have a government funded health care system similar to most European countries.

Another strike of luck the second week after my surgery was that Drew finally made it to Costa Rica to visit Ryan and I. For those of you who don’t know him, Drew is Ryan and my best friend from San Diego (college days). Ryan and I met through Drew, Drew was our best man at our wedding and Drew was our inspiration for this trip. Actually, Ryan and Drew talked about traveling in Central and South America when we were in college and I always said I would come visit them for a month or so. But things changed, tables turned, and when the time came Drew was setting off for this travel adventure by himself. A month or so before Drew left Ryan and I realized what are we doing; we / Ryan are suppose to be going on this trip too. So, eight months later Ryan and I packed up our lives and followed Drew down to Central America. Unfortunately, we never caught up to Drew on his first trip down here. About a month and country between us Drew ended up having to fly home, last November, for a family emergency. Now this year (three months ago) Drew flew down to Colombia and made his way back up to Central America, Costa Rica, to visit us. And it just so happened that I was coming out of surgery and had a week off work to host him. While Ryan had to work still, of course!!, he did have time to hang out with Drew between split shifts at work. And it just so happened that I was coming out of surgery and had a week off work to host him. Even though it was raining most days Drew and I did manage to make it out a few afternoons. We went to short midday $1 concert at the National Theatre

and spent another afternoon walking around Sabana Park. While Ryan had to work still, of course!!, he did have time to hang out with Drew between split shifts at work. And one good boy’s night out at the bar; which they both regretted the next morning accordingly with their headaches and hangovers.

Since Drew left two weeks ago Ryan and I have just been keeping busy, working lots. So as I started to say at the beginning of this blog, as August is coming to an end another 2 months of working, 4 in total, have pasted for me and 3 months since Ryan’s last visa run. A “visa run” is when you have to leave the country for three days because your tourist visa is about to expire or is expired in Ryan’s case. A tourist visa (the amount of time you are allowed to stay in the country) for Costa Rica, and most Central America countries, is 3 months / 90 days. Being 20 days late on his visa Ryan decided to do a visa run on Friday, but since we works and didn’t want to take 4-5 days off he thought he would try to do it all in one day with bribes like the past. Ryan woke up at 2:30am, Friday morning, drove downtown and caught a shuttle to the boarder at 3:00am. With just a few stops and breakfast they got to the boarder by 8:30am. Since this was the second time Ryan has had to do this he knew just who to look for and talk to. Five minutes after nine Ryan had his boarder stamps out & back into Costa Rica. By nine thirty he was on a bus back to San Jose. Like he says a little know how and money for bribes and you can get pretty much anything done here a little faster. Well good this time but not so sure I recommend him doing this every time.

This weekend because I am between bi-mesters at work I don’t have any lesson plans do to. It was raining all day yesterday so I thought I would take advantage of being stuck inside and decided to do a little cooking; a growing hobby for me anytime I have a free time. Yesterday I made a homemade peach pie from scratch. I made my own pie crust, filled it with cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, little fresh orange juice and peach filling, and topped it with a lattice top. Hot out of the oven Ryan served us up with vanilla and caramel swirl ice cream. Umm yum dinner. Here are some pictures.




permalink written by  ryan & debbrial on August 29, 2010 from San Jose, Costa Rica
from the travel blog: Us Discovering the Latin Americas
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Post-Opertation Update

San Jose, Costa Rica


It’s three days post operation and all good news.

Saturday morning, the morning of the operation, Ryan, myself and Nitzi, our Costa Rican landlady, arrived at the La Catolica Hospital at 7:00am. I asked Nitzi to come with us to help with the Spanish translation. I figured it would make the check-in process go quicker. I was right, between Nitzi and the super professional staff at the hospital I was in the surgery prep room within an hour of arrival. I must mention this was not an ordinary public Costa Rican hospital it was on the contrary a Gringo Resort Hotel Hospital. Ryan and I were shocked how nice it was yet glad as well. The lobby was filled with comfortable lounge chairs, there was a fine dining restaurant and the corridors on the first floor were glass window that shown through to full planters.

Anyways back to the surgery. I was taken to a small room to change into my stylish hospital gown, you know the ones that tie in the back and let your butt checks peek out when you walk. Yeah, in order to avoid this embarrassment the nurse sat me in a wheel chair and rolled me to the entrance of pre-surgery prep-room. She stopped and let me give lots of hugs and kisses to Ryan before going into the restricted patients, nurses and doctors only area. At this point I was still totally calm and had a smile on my face. (Probably giggling like most of you know I do when I am nervous.) On the other hand, Ryan told, later after the surgery, at this point he almost lost it. As soon as the nurse rolled me through those restricted doors he felt an urge of emotion and just about started crying but turned around and saw Nitzi standing there so he composed himself. Ooohhh….I told him this was so sweet and affectionate of him.

So back to the surgery again. I was in the pre-surgery room for about half hour waiting for the nurses to get my charts ready, take blood samples and hook me up to an IV. The first time the nurse put the IV in my forearm and the vein clasped. So she removed it and started over in my hand. I thought ok not so bad but let me tell you that IV was probably the worst part of the whole surgery experience, but I’ll get to that later.

Next the nurses put me on the rolling gurney and took me to the surgery room. I was in there probably 3-4 minutes when the anesthesiologist shot me up with the 1.2.3…goodnight, knocked out, sleepy drugs. Actually I don’t even remember counting to three. I was just out. I woke up, I guess a few hours later, in the recovery room and for another hour or so I couldn’t quite keep my eyes open; I was up and down. In the meantime, after surgery Dr. Dam told Ryan everything went well with the surgery, I was alright and should be out of the recovery room in about an hour and half.

So Ryan went to my hospital room and waited for me. Unfortunately, and I have no clue why or what was going on, the nurses in the recovery room kept me in there for like 2-3 hours, though I had no concept of time at this point. They kept pointing and talking about me, then helping other patients, then pointing and talking again. Since I was still not all there, due to the anesthesia, I was like WHATEVER!! But finally one of the nurses pushed me in a wheelchair to my hospital/ hotel room where Ryan was anxiously (and starting to get worried) waiting for me.

Like I said before this hospital was pretty nice so it was no surprise that I had my own private room with bathroom, couch, flat screen HDTV and very comfortable bed, which was good cause I was in it for like 24 hours. Ryan and I just hung out and watched TV for the rest of the day while a team of nurses came in every few hours, even throughout the night, to check my status. The nurses kept asking if I was in pain and need medicine but surprisingly I wasn’t; I felt pretty good beside the horrible IV in my hand that I mentioned. It was really starting to bother me and I annoyingly couldn’t stop thinking / complaining about it. So here’s a picture:

Anyways, Sunday morning we waited for the doctor to come around like 9:00am to release me. Then we headed home. Since then I have been doing about the same thing….sitting around watching TV, reading, doing some lesson planning and enjoying and appreciating Ryan taking such good care of me. Of course he has to keep reminding me to take it easy and relax.

So the moral of this story is…surgery in a foreign country isn’t that bad. One thing for sure it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than the States !!!!!




permalink written by  ryan & debbrial on August 3, 2010 from San Jose, Costa Rica
from the travel blog: Us Discovering the Latin Americas
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Pre-Surgery...in a Foreign Country (well not that foreign anymore)

San Jose, Costa Rica



So it has been four months since I went to the gynecologist, here in San Jose, Costa Rica, for a routine girly annual checkup (pap smear). I also went in to get an ultrasound to check on the position of my IUD. Since I don’t speak Spanish fluently I called every doctor office listed in the phone book looking for an English speaking doctor. I finally found one who, I found out when I got there, doesn’t exactly speak fluent English either. But between the both of us we figured out how to communicate. The good news I discovered during our hour appointment, which should have probably be a half hour appointment, but because of the tricky communication took longer, was he, Dr. Dam, is an extremely nice, patient and knowledgeable doctor. The bad news I found out during the ultrasound is that I have a mass (tumor) in my right ovary. As soon as he told me this I started freaking out. A what!!! Really, is it cancerous…am I going to die!! No, no he assured me it has all characteristics of a non-cancerous tumor but does need to be removed.

A few weeks later I had a spur of the moment trip back to the US to visit with my family. (If you remember I blogged about my trip back home in April before I started work/ teaching in May.) So, I figured why not go see an American doctor to get a second opinion while at home. The American doctor gave me the same results. Yes, I have a mass in my right ovary which looks benign but should be removed.

So, now months later it’s July and I am going into surgery tomorrow morning, here in San Jose, Costa Rica. I still have my same doctor, Dr. Dam, whom will be doing the surgery as well. I am confident in him and both Ryan and I believe everything will go smoothly. I am having a laparoscopic surgery and will be out of work for two weeks recovering. Though the doctor says I should be feeling fine after week I still need to take it easy for a while.

Bummer, no aerobics for a while.

Well, that’s it for now. I will get back with you with a Post-Op update. Wish me luck!!!


permalink written by  ryan & debbrial on July 30, 2010 from San Jose, Costa Rica
from the travel blog: Us Discovering the Latin Americas
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Together Again in Santa Teresa

Carmen, Costa Rica



Before I left for vacation it was raining every day and there were crazy hard storms. Ryan said it was the same down at the beach and to add to it every night he had to climb up the mountain to the cabana through muddy gushing rivers. One day the thunder storm was so loud here in San Jose I posted this on Facebook: “I've never heard lightening & thunder cracked so loud as it has been the last few days in Costa Rica. It is setting off car alarms everywhere.”
That was until I went to the beach and experienced a storm sleeping in the cabana like Ryan has been for the last month. I was nervous and a bit scared cause, like I have described before, the cabana is up the mountain from the hostel, in the tree tops, on stilts and only has two walls (well really one cause the other wall is a glass window shudder thingy) and the other two sides are open to the trees.
It rained most afternoons and evenings while I was in Santa Teresa but last Wednesday or Thursday, something like that, we had a good lightening & thunder storm. Just as it started to sound like it was going to start raining Ryan and I said goodnight to our friends and started climbing up the hill to the cabana. A little louder and louder and rain started drizzling down. Ryan said, “hurry up its coming” and pushed me along. Just as we started running up the mountain we could hear the rain coming through the trees. Faster, faster… up the huge foot and half tall steps. Two steps left and poooollll..the rain just started pouring down as we got to the cabana.
Then the lightening was flashing and thunder was cracking more furiously and frequently. The thunder was so loud it was shaking the whole cabana. However, I must say the ceiling fan also shakes the bed in the cabana but with the added jolts from the thunder I kept saying “the cabana is going to break off the slits and wash down the mountain”. Ryan laughed at me and reassured that would not happen. He had been through storms like this before and plus the cabana has trees built into which add support. Still I was nervous. Ryan said, “I told you the storms out here are crazier than in the city.” I replied, “No, the storms in the city are pretty much the same but I’m not living in a (pardon my French) F*CKing Tree House.” We both started laughing. Anyways after that the storm settled down and we finally fell asleep.
Besides that one night the weather was pretty mild the whole time I was in Santa Teresa. Sunny most morning, so when Ryan was working I went and laid out on the beach for an hour or so working on getting my tan back. Around mid afternoon I would come back and make Ryan and I a good lunch. Then I sat with Ryan chit chatting while he finished his shift. Ryan taught me how to play dominos and of course beginners luck I ended up beating him most of the time. If Ryan worked in the afternoon we would sleep in all morning, go out to lunch and then relax reading in hammocks. It was a really good, much need quality time, bonding again week for both of us.

On Tuesday we took a quad ride over the mountain, through the even more lush rain forest (now that it is rainy season and all the trees, hills and fields are in full flourish)

to Montezuma to hand out fliers for the hostel. Then we buzzed around the dirt roads between Montezuma, Cobano and Santa Teresa taking in the, again now, super green countryside. Everything looks so different than from our first time we were here in January.

We tried to go walking through the tall grass fields where a few cows and calves were hanging out but decided it wasn’t such a good idea when a bull came over the hill and the entire cow herd turned around, lined up like a military brigade and started walk toward us. Ryan yelled out to me, “Run for the trees” while he stood watching them and took a few pictures. It only took us a few steps backward and the cows stopped but keep all eyes on us until we were out of their field. Here’s a few of the pictures:


On Monday night we had a bond fire on the beach with friends and people from the hostel. On Thursday mid-morning we went for a long, long walk on the beach. On Saturday night we taught some Auzzy guys how to play Spades. And by Sunday my vacation was over. It was a great week and just what we both needed. A refresher for our relationship, time together and a little adventure.

I am back in San Jose now and getting ready to go back to work. The GOOD news is Ryan is coming back to the city too. His boss says he will be here for at least the next two months. So hopefully these next few months will go by a bit easier since we will be together!!!


permalink written by  ryan & debbrial on July 6, 2010 from Carmen, Costa Rica
from the travel blog: Us Discovering the Latin Americas
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