As you probably noticed reading my travel diary; I`m having an absolute blast over here! I`m nowhere ready to go back home. However, this does require making choices and sacrifices; whether or not going back for a funeral of your grandmother (see blog `Bye grandmother`); whether or not to going home for a wedding, etc. But one of the most difficult decisions until now, I still had to make; whether or not sell Ymke, my horse. After much deliberation, I decided it would be the best for all parties to sell her. I crawl behind the computer and put an ad on the internet. I calmly fill in all the blanks, until the moment I complete the ad and see the draft appear right in front of my nose. "My Ymke is for sale on the internet ...." I think to myself. Although I've placed the ad myself, my stomach starts to churn. I close down the laptop and abruptly decide to go to bed and calm myself with some music. Rodelle jumps next to me on the bed and asks with big puppy eyes and a low, wagging tail if it`s ok for him to join in. I agree and overjoyed he curls up beside me. I stroke with my fingers through his white curls and tears begin to roll down my cheeks. Rodelle looks up and puts his front paws on my chest to lick my tears. We look at each other affectionately. “I know it's the right thing to do, but it's so dam difficult” I tell him. He whimpers back, licks me one last time on the cheek and goes back into curled up position. “Yes, sleep is indeed the best remedy” I think to myself. I put my iPhone on the side, turn off the lights and eventually fall asleep.
At night I wake up, I look at the clock. It's 2 AM, 9 AM in the Netherlands. Would there have been a reaction to my ad? I look at my phone. 25 responses.... “It`s like the bloody sign-up page of the bachelor” And that after only a few hours. I read them all and to some I write a response.
After a week, a number of skype calls and a lot of mulling over my decision, Ymke is sold. To a man from the Beemster region, 10 minutes by bike away from my parents place. I would be invited to visit her whenever I want and ride her once I'm back in the Netherlands.
The day of the pick-up, I Skype with Lienke, my former sister in law, who takes care of Ymke now I`m gone. The loading went well. A WhatsApp message pops up. It is the new owner. Everything went well. 3 pictures of a cheerful Ymke enjoying delicious, fresh green grass. Rodelle looks at me. “Yes, you were right, everything is gonna be ok” I say with a smile and together we make a detour on the plantation.
It's Tuesday and I'm super excited. Today Mariel comes to see me. A half German, half Spanish girl I traveled with during my last days in Cuba (see blog "Hasta la Victoria Siempre'). She is expected to arrive around 5 PM by bus in San Isidro, so plenty of time to do some shopping with Kalina in the village. We drive our standard route along the local shops and suddenly I spot a tall, redheaded girl, with an unmistakable blue dress. Quickly I park the car on the side, and leave Kalina in total amazement behind in the car. “Mariel!” I shout with both hands in the air, “What are you doing here so early?". We jump into each other's arms. Her bus drive was much faster than expected and after several phone and SMS attempts, she decided to wait patiently at the church until I would appear. I quickly explain the situation to Kalina and introduce the ladies to each other. We do some last minute shopping and spend the rest of the day catching up on all our adventures. Mariel had left Cuba for Guatemala and made her way through Central America all the way to Costa Rica, so more than enough adventures to share. Mariel already was an enthusiastic vegetarian but since her arrival in Central America she started following a vegan diet. Which was surprisingly easy to sustain in such countries. She offers to cook that night and we of course don`t decline that offer... She dishes up a delicious meal what doesn’t lack of anything. It is delicious and the following days we enjoy much more vegan food. The famed Wednesday has come again, which means no obligations after 12:30. Mariel and I pack the car and drive onto highway 32 towards one of the entrances to the national park. Once we pass the first mountain, we gaze into the distance in utter amazement. Mountains, green mountains, as far as our eyes can see. It is difficult to comprehend how vast and green it is, let alone to capture a photo. Tracy Chapman sings on the radio: "You've got a fast car..." Everything is perfect. We arrive at the park. Again, green, green, green. Suddenly we hear rustling. It gets louder and louder and the trees begin to move wildly up and down like a Dutchman who is trying to dance salsa in Cuba. "Is it a puma?" Asks Mariel. "No, it comes from the treetops. It must be monkeys" I whisper. We gaze carefully down the tree tops and then they appear; a group white faced capucin monkeys. We try to capture a picture and follow them slowly. A thing that is not appreciated. The group armed themselves with some fruits and then starts attacking with precision artillery. We decide it was for the best to just leave them alone and slowly make our way back to the car.
Time to say goodbye
Sebastien, a friend whom I had met at the Dominican Republic, is coming to Costa Rica to make a travel reportage. And me, lucky bastard that I am, am invited to join in. “But I don`t have the budget for your type of accommodations!” I say during one of our skype calls, knowing Sebastien will not be pleased with anything less than 3 stars. “No worries Sanne, the company pays.”
And so my last days on the coffeeranch are coming to an end. I drop Kalina off for a last time at school. Give all the employees a hug and thank them for the great time. Cuddle all the cats and dogs and catch up with Phill who just came back last night from the States. He offered to give me a hitchhike to the bus terminal with a pitch stop at hotel Grano Oro. The most luxurious hotel in all San Jose and the first night of my trip with Sebastien. As I had 5 days’ time between Sebastien`s arrival and my last working day at the ranch, I decided to give myself a little holiday at Flutterby house hostel in Uvita on the southwest coast of Costa Rica.
Once we arrived in San Jose I get on the bus to Uvita. I'm the only non-Tican in the bus, which generates the necessary curiosity. When everyone is finally finished asking questions, I stick my head out the window and smell the lush green rainforest we are driving through. What a delight! I feel completely free.
I get dropped off at the bus station in Uvita. The rumors of Uvita prove to be true. Except highway, a roadside restaurant and a gas station, it does not seem to be much around. My backpack is removed from the cargo and I decided to ask at the station how to make my way to the hostel. This appeared to be too far to walk, but the friend of the owner was more than willing to give me a hitchhike for a small price. The closer we get to the hostel, the more trucks we pass, loaded with surfboards. Surfers on bicycles with their boards under their arms. It was like a pilgrimage towards the beach. The hostel was a reminiscent of a children's playground for adults. Everything was constructed of wood, painted in different colors and all the rooms were large treehouses where you had to climb a ladder and through a pulley get your backpack up.The hair length of the boys were on average longer than that of the girls and I think I was the only person without a tattoo. It was clear that the highest effort that was delivered here was surfing, cooking and possibly.. if you were a real fitness fanatic.... a walk to the falls. I choose a bed in the treehouse, get my stuff up with the pulley and head for the kitchen to prepare a meal. (Want to know what happened that night? Read my blog `judgements and predjudgements`). It did not take me long to settle in the hostel and with the other travelers. I met a couple who had been on the road for two years on second hand bikes. They started in Chile en route to northern Canada. There is a half burned-out musician, a former teacher who does not know what he wanted to do with his work and has taken a break, a group of friends who are on a month long holiday, a group of teenagers who have spring break at Flutterby to surf all day and many more. I take long walks on the beach, drink out of a coconut, see howler monkeys and take the odd dip in the sea. I get a hitchhike to the waterfalls from a Portuguese couple and spend the day in the cooler climate of the mountains, which provides a lovely relief after the cramped and muggy climate of the beach. At night, we eat together, drink a beer and when quiet time at 22:00 kicks in, we all go to the beach, make a campfire and drinking water, beer or rum (mainly depending on everyone's travel budget). They were really five days to never forget and before I knew it, they were already over. Time to catch the bus back to San Jose. I give everyone a hug and hope to find them all again one day.
After a burn-out it was time for a change. I quit my job, sold my stuff and bought a one-way ticket to the Dominican Republic. What was supposed to be a 4 month adventure turned into 2,5 years and counting......
Photo by: Vanessa Marques Barreto