Saturday, February 20, 2010

Soccer Game

This past Wednesday our group of students went to a soccer game. It was between Saprissa and Brujas (witches). Saprissa has a long history of having the best team in Costa Rica. However, the Brujas won the championship last year. So, it was suppose to be a big game....or so we thought. The stadium wasn't exactly full, but it was full enough for a good time. It was also a very chilly night. The wind made me cold through my fleece jacket. The whole time I was thinking...This is Costa Rica!! What is this cold all about? Saprissa won the game 1-0, or at least that was the score when I left a little early to catch a cab home. Please excuse the pictures. Night photos aren't that great.

Me, Katie, and Max. We decided to grab a beer from a bar nearby to enjoy before we went in to the game. We ordered 3 Imperials and 1 Pilsen. All 4 were given to us in the six-pack plastic rings. You can see the white Pilsen can peeking through the crack.

The team was lead out onto the field by their mascot, the purple dragon in the center of the picture. It looks very childish, like the Costarican version of Barney! Apparently a few years back a different mascot was made that was more masculine and fierce. The fans didn't like it.

The president-elect, who was elected Feb 7th, was at the game!! Her name is Laura Chinchilla. She walked like 50ft infront of us!! She is in the center of the picture with the brown hair blowing in the wind. She is Costa Rica's first female president.

I saved the best for last....Saprissa's number 1 fan, La Abuelita (little grandmother). She provided constant entertainment for us. She marched up and down behind the fence, and right in front of us, blowing this horn. I somehow got this amazing pic of her. She blew here horn, chanted, and yelled at the players to tell them what to do. She was all decked out in purple to support her team. And she had candy in her fanny pack. She kept the security guard happy with a few pieces. Apparently she is well know. My host family knew about here when I showed them this picture.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Manuel Antonio

This past weekend the big group of students split up into three smaller groups. Six of us headed to Manuel Antonio which is on the Pacific coast. Not only does it offer a great beach, but also a national park filled with fun tropcal critters. We stayed in a hostel called Costa Linda that only costs $10 a night. It had a shared bathroom, no towels, and a stand up fan for cooling off. I guess you get what you pay for. :) In all honesty it wasn't too bad of a place to stay. It did have an amazing breakfast for under $4 and the lunch and dinner menu was pretty delcious and cheap. I was happy to only spend $10 with such a great location by the beach and the national park. One thing we found out quickly is that Manuel Antionio is a pricey place.

When we arrived Friday night we checked in and headed out for dinner. We shoppped around until we found a restaurant that had prices we liked. I looked to the bar to see what they had in stock and to my pleasant surprise they had Ron Cortez!! Yay!! I ordered a rum and sprite and was a little puzzled when the guy showed up with a tan colored drink. I specifically ordered white rum, so I know I didn't get the dark rum. It turns out that sprite can also mean ginger ale....NOT the same thing!! I don't recommend ginger ale as a substitue to mix with rum. Gross. After dinner we hung out at a bar by the beach. We had a low key evening because we knew we had to wake up early for our dolphin-snorkeling tour that was going to pick us up at 8:30.

Well, we didn't have to set our alarms to wake up because the local howler monkeys start the morning hustle and bustle at about 5 am. It was so annoying! We went to Manuel Antonio with hopes of seeing wildlife not being rudely awakened by them at 5 am!! Just when you thought they were done another would start the howling all over again. This of course woke up our neighbors in the hostel, who were obvious chain smokers, so we also got to hear the awful morning smoker's cough next door. I think the smoker's-cough was worse. Eww. That morning we headed up to Quepos, the nearby town, to set off for our dolphin-snorkeling tour. I was so excited to get on a boat! A few minutes after we set off onto the Pacific the crew made a few announcements. The most important one cost $1 and all liquor was FREE!!! We had no idea that booze was included in the cost! The specialty of the day was Rum Punch, made with Ron Cortez!! It was so good! I was in heaven! We set off in search of dolphins (which we never saw) and took a little tour of the surrounding shoreline and islands. We stopped for about an hour of snorkeling (which was sub-par) and had lunch waiting for us on the boat when we got back. So in four hours we saw zero dolphins, amazing views of the shoreline and islands, probably the worse snorkeling I've actually paid for, and......I had the best time!!! I have no idea who that all works out, but I considered it loan money well spent. After the tour ended we headed to the beach for the rest of the day. That evening we headed to a fancy hotel on the mountain called Hotel Las Mariposas to get a drink and enjoy the sunset. It's suppose to have an amazing view and has gained a spot in the 1000 places to visit before you die. Well we can check that box off, but it was a bit of a let down. The hotel was great as was my pina colada, but it was so overcast that there wasn't really a sunset. Oh well. We tried.

Sunday morning we toured the national park. When we walked in I noticed all the other toursts had super serious cameras with big lenses with lots of zoom. They all looked a little silly to me, but I soon wished I had one of those cameras. We had heard it is best to take a guide or you won't see any animals. I'm guessing the guy we ended up with was not an "official" guide, but he charged the same rate, had a telescope, and did a decent job. I didn't get a lot of pictures of animals because they were all so far away and hidden. We saw them through the guide's telescope, but that was about it. We saw a couple of sloths, local birds, a spider, and a few lizards. One great thing that came out of our park ticket purchase is that the ticket lasts all day and the park has it's own private beaches!! After our tour was over, Katie and I returned to the park to take advantage of the less crowded beaches. Buying the latest return ticket to San Jose is a must, no matter how tired you are the next day. :)

My slice of pineapple I bought at the bus stop on the way to Manuel Antonio. Amazing!
Salt and beer is not a new concept to me. But this was the first time I had a Corona with lots of salt and a lime. I highly recommend it!
Our boat coming to pick us up.
Bhav and Ramona on the boat.
Anisa and Lori

I'm on a boat!! Yay!!

Bhav and me enjoying our Rum Punches
We stopped for a quick opportunity to jump in and cool off. Katie and I took advantage. My first dip in the Pacific Ocean!! Unfortunately I jumped in with my watch on. Ten dollar watches from Target don't handle the ocean very well.

Cooking our lunch. It was delicious!

The best view of wildlife we had the whole weekend was at the entrance of our hostel!! This group of monkeys stayed around for a good 5-10 minutes.

The view from the fancy hotel. Too bad the weather didn't cooperate.
My amazing piña colada! If it was cheaper I might have ordered another.
2 piñas, 1 margie, and 1 coco loco.
The national park
Our group: Lori, me, Katie, Anisa, and Bhav
The less crowded beach we enjoyed later that afternoon.
Look, it's shaped like a turtle!

On our way to the beach Sunday afternoon, Katie and I bought coconuts to drink thinking it would be a fun idea. It was so gross! All it was good for was this picture. $1 for a picture on the beach with a coconut.

Bhav's birthday

This past Wednesday Bhav, a student from MUSC, turned 27. So, after our soccer game--where we were crushed 12-5--we all went out to celebrate with a few drinks. The evening didn't amount to much because we were all tired from soccer and some of us had to be at work early in the morning. We started off at a bar on the popular bar street next to the university. Then we ended the night at an 80s bar that was so cool! I don't have any pics from it, but it had displays of all times of 80s memorabilia, including cabbage patch dolls, strawberry shortcake, pac-man games, etc. The sign outside was even shaped like a cassette tape! So cool!

Cheers to the birthday boy, Bhav.

Anissa and Bhav showing off their salsa skills

This machine is on the wall near the entrance-exit to the bar. If you feed the maching 300 colones, then blow into it with a straw (supplies located at the bottom of the machine), then it will tell you if you are ok to drive home or not.

I had to see it in action, so I paid the 300 and got the person who had consumed the most drinks to try it out....the bday boy of course! I don't think the machine really worked because it said Bhav was good to drive.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

San Jose

So I'm a little out of order, but I wanted to write a little on San Jose. I don't actually live in the city. I live in a community called Curridabat which is east of San Jose. I live with a family of three. Marvin and Margarita are my tico parents (tico = costa rican) and Kevin is their 14 yold son. The three of them share a room and a bathroom! The other student, Anisa from OSU, and I have our own private rooms and we share a bathroom. Everyone is very nice and my tica mom has been very helpful. Apparently she likes to dance and has gone dancing with students in the past. Hopefully we will get the chance to take her out sometime.

Everyday we commute in to San Jose for school or clinic work. The first week was more for orientation and a quick medical spanish refresher...which was needed!! This week I started working at the Hospital Carit, which is the women's hospital. I work in the morning and return to school for Spanish classes in the afternoon. I'm the only student at the women's hospital because I'm the only one interested in Ob/Gyn (well the only US student...there are many costa rican "interns" who are in the last year of their school like me, but the system is a little different so they are called interns). So far it's been a really good experience. The doctors have all been very nice and welcoming. I understand most of the subject matter and about 50% of what the patients say. I'm hoping for some improvement. This week was Gynecology and I've been in the "consultorio" which is basically a clinic setting. It was a good mix of basic gyn, menopause clinic, colposcopy clinic, and infertility clinic. It's interesting to see the different approaches to physical exams and diagnoses with more limited resourses than what I'm used to at home. For example, I've seen many instruments reused that we throw away after a single use in the US (bovies used in LEEPs are sterilized and reused and the same grounding pad is used on every patient that walks in the door). I've been fortunate to work with a few doctors that are very good at explaining things to their patients in depth. This helps me learn too. :) Tomorrow I get to go to ambulatory surgery and next week is Obstetrics which includes a day on C-section service! Can't wait!

Outside of work and classes, we have had two soccer games and another scheduled for next week. I think my teacher/coordinator is very competitive and proud of Costa Rica and therefore enjoys putting together a team of costa ricans to dominate the US students. He boasts that they have only lost twice. The first game was last week. We were suppose to play at a field by my house, but at the last minute the location changed and I didn't get the chance to change into the proper atire. So, I played in my school clothes and chacos. We played on a small turf field that was enclosed with nets, so everyone was on top of each other. We lost, of course, 11-8 but had a great time. The second game was yesterday on a normal (big) field which meant lots of running!! We out-numbered them and still lost 12-5. Their team had 2 kids under 10- who kicked our butts, a man over 50, the bus driver, two teachers, and 2 host brothers (including mine) that play all the time! It was a lot of fun. I actually scored a goal! Maybe next week's game will be a little closer.

That's all for now. More to come...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Last pics of Puerto Viejo

I think these will be the last of the pics I post of Puerto Viejo. It takes so long to upload photos here! I did this during spanish class. :) I'll write more about my first week in San Jose later. It's a little out of order, but I wanted to do the fun stuff with pics first.

Me on my bike trying to cover as much skin as possible with a white t-shirt and hat. It had a very helpful, but rusty basket on the front.

Katie ahead of me on her bike. Look at the beautiful, green surroundings we had during our ride.
Entering the beach at Punta Uva.
It was overcast all day after the morning rain. The water was a beautiful green-blue color.
My view of our shade tree on the beach
The view from our resting spot on the beach. Notice you haven't seen another person yet? It wasn't hard to get pics without random people because there weren't very many. Loved it!
Lunch? Dinner? I was just impressed this guy could turn this whole pig round and round quickly with one hand while smiling.
The most amazing breakfast! Egg, cheese, and avacado on homemade "everything" bagel with fruit on the side, all washed down with an iced mocha. Hungry?
Our cute cabina that five of us shared. It was very comfortable and well equipped with mosquito nets.

The only video I got of the more talented surfer I saw. It wasn't his best run, but it's still way more than I could do. I hope it works.

Monday, February 8, 2010

More pictures

Las chicas guapas in our group.

Black strange and really HOT during mid day!!

My little spot on la playa negra, purple and black with a little rehydration on the side. :)

La playa negra!

More to come.... I wish I new how to put these in the order I want. Kara or Cassie please help!

Puerto Viejo

This weekend was our first weekend trip. All 11 students packed up and left San Jose Friday at 2 pm to head to Puerto Viejo for a relaxing weekend on the Caribbean coast. A resident and medical student that have been in San Jose for a couple weeks went to the coast early and met us for dinner when we arrived Friday night. We went to a cute place called Flip Flop owned by a German hippie. After dinner we headed to the bar! We stumbled upon a nice outdoor bar with pool tables and a hand full of pot smokers, and about every five minutes you were reminded they were there. We had a few drinks and some of us played a few games of pool. Somehow my team kept winning because my partner, the resident, hit all our balls in and I was only good for sinking the 8 ball to win the game (this happened consistently throughout the evening...kinda weird). Most people weren't feeling the bar scene, so after a few hours everyone was ready to head back to our place. Not to worry...Katie from OSU and I each bought a six pack and we all ended up playing drinking games outside our room. It was very intertaining to say the least.

The next day we all headed to the beach. Puerto Viejo has a playa negra (black beach) with a "normal" beach right next to it. I'm not really sure what makes it black. I didn't really look into it. Old volcano maybe?? We spend most of the morning and early afternoon there and then split up in different directions to explore the town. It's a very small beach town with very few shops. I spent most of my exploring trying to excape the sun. By that point my pastey winter skin had had enough. But I must say I fared well compared to most people. Thanks Mom for teaching me the tricks! :) That night we all met for a seafood dinner. Somone had heard that this particular restaraunt was great for seafood. I think, or at least I hope, that everyone learned that it's not worth trying to all sit together! I'm so over the big group thing! It took well over an hour to get our food. And the most disappointing thing is that I completely struck out in my dinner choice. Katie and I decided to share the "mariscos mixtos" platter that included a variety of different tastey seafood. We both had ceviche for an appetizer, which was very delicious, but our seafood sampler was terrible. It had one muscle, 3 shrimp, a whole fish with the head on (yuck), half a lobster tail, and a fish filet. It was not pleasing at all. Everyone else really enjoyed their dishes. I guess you can't win them all.

On Sunday Katie and I decided split from the group. We rented bikes and rode down to another beach called Punta Uva. It is supposed to be the prettiest beach in the area and we wanted to check it out. It was well worth the $8 rental and a very sore bum from the "paved" road. On the way we stopped at a beach called Cocles that is the big surf spot in the area. It was fun watching all the surfers do things I could only dream of. I was even able to get a short video of one of the more talented surfers. Maybe I'll have enough time to wait for it to upload on here one day. When we arrived to Punta Uva we parked our bikes and walked along the beach until we found the perfect shaded area. The beach was beautiful, despite the overcast sky, and there were hardly any people!! After a few hours we headed back for a quick rinse and change into dry clothes, a late lunch, and then back to San Jose. It was a great way to start the month! I look forward to next weekend's trip.

It takes so long to load pics and they aren't loading in the order I want, so I will be posting pics in random order over a this next week.

At the bar a sloth decided to popped in for a bit. It had just started raining. Maybe he wanted to be dry too.

Katie and me at our stop in Limon on the way to Puerto Viejo. We were only an hour away so a road-pop, as my brother would say, was in order. Actually we weren't sure if we could have this on the bus or not. An inspector hopped on the bus a few minutes outside of town and promptly told us we weren't, in fact, allowed to have them. So we finished them and solved the problem. :)

Our group of 4th year med students. We represent Penn State, Ohio State, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, and MUSC in South Carolina.