Day 6 – Zion, Monkeys and the House of Dragon

Sunday, August 19th, 2012:

After such a long day (and late night), we slept in until it was time for breakfast. We ate and took the morning shuttle into Puerto Viejo (with Tim & Eliza and a new Samasati arrival, Tuka), then walked to the bus station to buy our ticket back to San Jose.

[The bus system is a little weird; you have to buy your tickets the day BEFORE your day of travel. But the tickets are cheap (less that $10 per person), especially compared to the Interbus ride we took getting to Samasati ($45 per person), and the ride ended up being more comfortable AND the same length, time-wise. The city-to-city buses are really the way to travel around Costa Rica.]

Ticket purchases out of the way, we scooted one block over to Zion and set up shop in a corner of the second-story terrace to relax, read and get online. Michelle and Ben were happy to see us and quickly set us up with their Hangover Helper juice – which was amazing and strangely delicious (I really need to get that recipe) – and with some ice cream and cocoa balls. (Ron raved about those, in particular.)

We lounged there for a couple hours, intermittently talking with Michelle, Ben or the waiters and they came to check on us. I got the vegetarian chili, gave Will a bite and downed the rest. Will liked it so much he ordered another one. Shortly after finishing up our meal, I realized it was 12:45 and told Will to get his dancing shoes on – our “shift” started at 1!.

But right around that time, Michelle came up to say bye – she was going home to do three hours of cleaning. (Oh noes!) So after she headed downstairs, we got into our proper footware and rushed down after her to announce we were clocking in for our 1-4 shift. She laughed and threw on some tango music as we took place on the front patio. Our dancing drew lots of looks and even stopped some people on the street (but that might have been more the sight of a white couple – one of whom was in socks – dancing tango in the middle of the day in a rasta Costa Rican beach town).

When the song ended, Ben, Michelle, the waiters, waitresses and patrons applauded, and we realized that Tim and Eliza were stopped on their bikes, across the street from the cafe, watching us. We ran over to say hello and find out how their morning of bike riding had gone. A minute or two into our chat, we heard Michelle hail us from the terrace above, joking: “You’re shift’s not over! Get back to work!” Taking up the lead, I worried loudly, “Oh no, we’re gonna get fired on our first day!!” and Will chimed in, “AGAIN!”, which got all of us laughing heartily.

We said bye to Tim & Eliza, then gave Michelle another round of hugs before she took off, then we returned to our perch upstairs for a bit longer before paying the tab, giving our thanks to Ben, packing up and heading back to the pick-up spot for the shuttle to Samasati.

We returned to Shanti house and had just laid down to relax when we heard monkeys nearby. Still wanting to see them in the wild, we took our cameras and caught a group of spider monkeys travelling through the trees outside Shanti house.

[A pair of them were mating, but if you want that story you’ll have to get in person.]

The monkeys (about six of them) hung around, running and swinging through the trees, gradually migrating toward our nearest neighbors – Isabella and her family – at Dragon House.

We remembered our promised to give Isabella a dance lesson, so we wandered over (stopping to check out a little snake lounging on the steps up to Dragon House) and hollered out our hello.

Their dog – a cocker spaniel – came out to greet us, and Isabella, her older brother (Simon) and her father (Kushad) welcomed us in. While Kushad set up some music, Isabella and Simon gave us the tour of the house. Kushad had been a cabinet-maker in Germany and designed the house himself. (“I can make a little box and a house is just a big box, so I figured …”)

We didn’t take any good pictures of the inside, but it’s all amazing. The main part is octagonal (I think), two stories and very open. None of the windows are squares; Kushad designed all of them as triangles or other polygons, with no right angles. He said he told the glass cutter they would need to send someone out to take the exact size and angle measurements, but the glass cutter insisted they could get all the information just from the measurements given over the phone. When the glass panes arrived and didn’t fit, the glass cutter sent someone out to do the job again, correctly.

The kid’s rooms are pods build onto sides of the main octagon, and are accessed through doors that look like wall panels (very cool, even to these adults). The master bedroom takes up half the second story (the remainder is open to the bottom floor) and has a banister-less deck with a beautiful view:

There was a small kitchen downstairs, and they all shared one amazing bathroom, which we didn’t photograph unfortunately (it had a gorgeous and interesting sunken tub/shower area).

By the time our tour was over, Kushad had the music ready, so Will started teaching Isabella and Simon and lead/follow techniques as I helped demonstrate.

I think we stayed there for over an hour and had a great time teaching the two kids. They were comical and smart and interested in the topic, so it was fun and easy to teach them. Before we knew it, it was time to leave for dinner.

At Reception, we stopped the Samasati sisters, Molly and Melissa, to get their pictures:

We enjoyed our last dinner at Samasati and invited several of our new friends over to Shanti for drinks (and Chicken Karaoke) later. Almost everyone had had a long day, so only Time and Eliza came over, but we split a bottle of rum and some boxes of juice and had an all-around great time (though we never got around to Chicken Karaoke).

It was a wonderful way to wind up our stay.

Day 7 this way!