Friday morning I was sitting on a bench at a bus station, waiting for a bus that may or not come in the next three hours, in which I for sure wouldn't have a seat, but would have to stand for the 5 hour drive to Upala. I felt miserable and helpless, like I haven't lived here the past three months. We decided to visit Rio Celeste this past weekend and needed to take a bus to Upala to take a taxi to our hotel. It was labor day here in Costa Rica which changed the bus schedule. We had no idea how much that would have affected us until we had been to 3 different bus stations and taken a taxi to another town. After several weird encounters with taxi drivers, Oscar drove us all the way from outside San Jose to our hotel; well, almost to our hotel. The road from the highway to the hotel was full of rocks, so he let us out to walk (with our luggage) the rest of the way. It turned out to be 2K and all us a mountain. We must have looked awful when we arrived because the receptionist offered to drive us to our cabin. Our cabin is surrounded by pretty wild flowers, mountains, and cows. The receptionist, Jorge, became our new friend and took us to the village fair going on this weekend. There are a couple of rides, food, a dance hall, no tourists, and everyone knew everyone. It was so much fun!
We woke up early to go to Rio Celeste on Saturday morning. Jorge and his friend Max picked us up and drove us to the national park an hour (of backwoods, mountain) away. The hike was challenging and we spent the better part of the day making our way along the trails and river. I have never seen water so blue - it was magical! The legend says when God finished painting the sky, He cleaned his brush off in the river. And that's exactly what it looks like. This was my favorite national park I have been too. The only visitors were from Costa Rica, the land wasn't disturbed, and the river and waterfall were both nothing like I have seen before. We returned to our cabin exhausted. After showering and making banana pancakes for dinner, Max picked us up to take us to the rodeo that was being held at the fair.
It was obvious the whole town had come out to the event. We ran into lots of people we had met the night before. Jorge was also sure to give us the town gossip of everyone that walked by. It was fun to watch the cowboys ride and try to control the bulls. It was also a lot more entertaining being able to understand Spanish and laugh at the Rodeo clown's jokes.
I should have known the adventure would have continued throughout the ride home. We waited at the bus stop, a metal bench on the side of the highway, for a little over an hour. Luckily it was across the way from the pulperia and we saw a lot of people we had met over the weeknd ride by on their horse which was nice. We all felt like we fit in and were sad to leave Bijagua. The bus arrived and was standing only meaning all of hte seats were sold out. We stood for the first 2 hours of the ride then sat down in the aisle for the next hour where we fell asleep. Fortunately, two people got off and the men standing let us have the seats. We sat and rode the last two hours. Wini and I bought sandwiches a guy on the bus was selling for 500 colones ($0.80) each. There were delicious pulled beef (I think?) on fresh white bread with ketchup and mayo.
Overall, it was such a great weekend - by far my favorite weekend in Costa Rica. It was nothing like we had planned it to be which just added to the experience. For once we weren't staying in a hotel and surrounded by other tourists. It was just us and the great people of Bijagua, Costa Rica. :)