GLA Students arrived in the San Jose Airport and were picked up by our camp leaders. We then took a short bus ride to the hostel, called Pacande Hotel, where we got to know our bunkmates, ate delicious chicken burritos for lunch, and played “two truths and a lie”. We then went out for a nice stroll around Alajuela, where we experienced daily life in the City of Mangos by walking through the town’s narrow streets, among shops, markets, parks, and friendly locals. When we returned to the hostel, we played cards, made conversation with our group members, and took some time to relax after our travels. We finally went out for another walking expedition along with some new additions to the group and dined at the local typical Costa Rican restaurant. Most of us ate a typical Costa Rican dish, white rice, black beans, seasoned potato salad, fresh salad with tomatoes and cucumbers, fried plantations , and a toasty corn tortilla.
The now rested group took off from the hotel in Alajuela to Uvita around 8m. Students rode for 4.5 hours in a bus, stopping along the way by a well known crocodile sighting spot, where we bought Costa Rican souvenirs, ate some fresh snacks, and snapped some pictures of the gargantuan lizards in their natural habitat. We later arrived at Bodhi Surf Lodge, where we ate a delicious pork-chop lunch, received a tour of the grounds, and afternoon community walk along with a native tour guide in the pouring rain, where we saw many interesting medicinal trees, tropical fruits and walked around in the salty ocean. We tried the leaves of the medicinal bitter tree, starfruit, mangos, and coconuts. We also got to see the cashew fruit with its nut on its outside and smashed the leaves of a teak tree to produce a bright red dye. Upon our return to the lodge, we ate dinner and listened to a great introduction to surfing presentation by Gibran.
At 6:30 am, GLA students ate breakfast in preparation for their first surf lesson, at 8 AM. After arriving at the beach, called Playa Colonia, Gibran and his assistant surf instructors taught us the parts of a surfboard and how to properly handle the equipment. Students did drills on land to practice mounting the surfboard, turning, and stopping. We excitingly got in the water and practiced basic surfing for about 3.5 hours. By the end of the session, everyone knew how to ride a wave while standing up on their board. We then returned to Bohdi grounds for a delicious lunch and set off once again to a local surfboard shaper’s shop for service. We helped the owner, Snyder, paint the walls white and design a mural for the front wall. After working hard all afternoon, students returned to Bohdi for dinner and engaged in a final activity called “story of Self.” Names were chosen randomly and each student or staff member whose name was pulled shared their life story with the group, forming a close-knit relationship.
June 15, 2017
Today, the 15th of June, we went to the local elementary school to play sports with the kids. We played frisbee, basketball, volleyball, and soccer together. It was National Tree Day in Costa Rica, so after sports the kids put on a presentation. Then we got on stage and danced for them!
When Olivia and I (Cameron) were the leaders of the day, we went helped at Esneyder’s surf shop again. We finished painting the walls, kept working on the mural, and completed the surf board racks.
Today we woke up and got in the car & rode for an hour and a half to pick up the rafts for whitewater rafting! We rafted for about an hour and then stopped on a river bank where our guides made us fresh salsa, guacamole, and various fruits. As we continued down one of Central America’s cleanest rivers, we stopped and hiked a waterfall, and jumped down!
June 18, 2017