I've been here in Santa Teresa a week now. I met up with Chris and Amy, friends from Squamish. They were vacationing in Costa Rica, starting at Playa Grande and working their way down to Santa Teresa, then back up to Liberia for their flight home. I'm glad the timing worked out and I got to see them because it was good to have the company while I got oriented. We had a few romantic dinners, just the 3 of us. Haha.
When I first got here, my plan was to let myself relax and take it all in. I've had to strategically coordinate my beach time between down pours, so that I can work on my tan. Priorities. I've still managed to get caught up in the rain and if you're dressed in next-to-nothing, it can be fun. It's not that chill-you-to-the-bone rain that I'm used to back in Squamish. Turns out we're at the tail end of the rainy or "green" season here. The storms come on quickly and in order to not get caught outside in them, you end up ducking into a place for a drink or a bite, or to just get out for a change of scenery. This is where I wish I had a book over an iPad, as it is a bit more resilient to the wet weather. I only brought one book with me, because I didn't want the extra weight. Boo.
My friend Ingrid keeps her books forever. She has an extensive bookshelf and all of her reads are in pristine condition. My books, on the other hand, always look like they've been dropped in mud and kicked to the curb - and sometimes they have been. If you have ever seen the chaotic state of my car, you'd get a clear picture of what I mean. "Untidy Bridey" is one of my nicknames. So, needless to say, I was incredibly shocked and unbelievably touched when Ingrid handed me her original travel copy of The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho as a parting gift! I've read it before, but I forgot how much I liked it and how much the story resonates with my own journey. The core theme of the book is "when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it". It is also the quote I used for my first blog post when I announced this journey I was about to set out on. It's a simple read and I finished it in two days and gave it back to Amy to bring back to Ingrid in Squamish. I didn't want to be responsible for it's demise. Ha. So thank you Ingrid, it was the perfect book to start me off on my adventure and now you can put it back on your shelf, another travel story within its pages - probably some Costa Rican sand too. The rain is supposed to last all day today, so I'm wishing I had another book. I'm meeting Ingrid and Andrew and their family in Playa Negra for Christmas and New Year's, which im super excited about, so maybe I can convince her to bring me another book. 😉
Man, it's easy to slip into a "I'm just going to sit and relax" frame of mind. Lazy. People are on vacation and letting loose, so it doesn't take much to get caught up in the party, especially in Santa Teresa. Thankfully, this time, I'm not here for the party. I've been in bed every night by 10pm, sometimes earlier. Even with just eating out, there is no shortage of good food and drink here. You have most of the comforts of home, at pretty much the same price. Especially when you convert that to a Canadian dollar. Ouch. I guess coming here I've always expected to pay less and now things seem to be at par. If only that inflated value went to pay the workers. From what I've heard, the hourly rate is around $3.
Standard prices (USD) as follows: Breakfast with coffee is $8-10. Lunch is $8-12. Dinner $10 and up. Beer is the only thing that is cheap at $2-$3. Cocktails $5-$10, especially if you're paying to enjoy a sunset at a fancy infinity pool with a fantastic view. Guilty.
Needless to say, I'm watching my bank account drain very quickly. 😭
Being a tourist is going to cost me. I need to think like a budget traveller or better yet, a local. Say goodbye to inter-country plane travel and get on the bus, or connect ride-shares on Facebook. Look into caretaker work in exchange for lodging. Stay at places that have kitchens and cook my own food. Eliminate alcohol all together - it's not something I want to be wasting my money on. I can hear Hillary and Sarah Brown whispering "make wise choices" in my ear.
While I should be of mindful of what I'm spending my money (and time) on, I also need to relax and not let it rule me. As reminded in another quote from The Alchemist, "We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it's our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand". I just need to keep on the path to my destiny. No pressure. Ha.
So yeah, vacation is over and the work begins. This week I'm contacting a real estate agent to view some properties. My gut says that Santa Teresa is not where I want to settle, but I'm going to look at real estate here anyways, so I have something to compare to. Stay tuned.