Archive for October, 2013

October 29, 2013

day 6 pt.1 {the vacation chronicles}

day 6 | Costa Rica Vacation | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

Were you worried that my disappearance meant that I had sold all of my belongings and ran away to Costa Rica? Sadly, all my belongings still belong to me. I have been busy rearranging my life and making new changes and then making more changes that brought me right back to the old. Confusing, right? Tell me about it! We’ll discuss it over tea one day, I promise. But who wants to hear about boring things like change when there is still Costa Rica shananigans to talk about?! Right? RIGHT!

Ahhhh Day 6. How I adore Day 6. Day 6 was one of those days that felt like it lasted for forever. And for a girl that has a really gross and unhealthy obsession with time, I cannot tell you how glorious Day 6 felt. Our original plan was to do a different excursion, if I remember right, zip lining. But there was some confusion, and a bit of a language barrier, and in all honesty, I saw an easy escape route out of zip lining! After the stress of almost losing our lives on Day 5, we were looking forward to the ease of a quiet, short excursion. On the grounds of the resort they had a horse stable that I was fascinated with from the moment I saw it.

Years and years and years ago at a Dairy Queen I had my first “real” encounter with a horse. Random, I know. I had seen horses at other points in my life. I had had other close encounters. But this was the first time I met one up close and personal. And was able to look into those giant eyes. And pet it’s head and just be in awe. And then I turned into a 6 year-old and became obsessed with the idea of going horseback riding. But I am not so good with follow up, so I never actually went horseback riding. But I talked about it a lot, if that counts for anything?

And so when I saw the horses at the resort, I knew that if we had the time, I really wanted to sign up for that. And so we narrowly escaped zip lining and much to my delight we were going to go horse back riding. How exciting! We started our day with another lovely breakfast at the resort and took in all the critters that joined us.

Costa Rica | Iguana | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Iguana | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

I will dedicate a post just to the birds later on, but a little peek…

Costa Rica | Bird | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Bird | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

And then at 7:30 we met our guide, walked over to the stables, and met our horses. And proceeded to realize that we were about to make spectacles out of ourselves 🙂

Let’s just say that we provided some great entertainment for the stable boys as we made our attempts to first just get ON the horses, and then actually get out of the stable. I feel good knowing that I was able to provide some good dinnertime conversation for their families that evening 😉 This is where I think it is important to note something interesting that I learned while on vacation in Costa Rica.

It seems that my husband is absolutely, positively petrified atop a horse. WHO KNEW?! I was as giddy as a little kid in a candy store, and when I looked back, smile beaming ear to ear proclaiming my love for all things horses, I saw a look of total unadulterated fear. Don’t tell him I said this, but it was kind of funny 😉

So we headed out. We slowly made our way out of the stable area and were followed by a sweet old horse that would be waiting for us at the same fence upon our return. We entered a new pasture of tall grass and open fields and I was just in awe. I LOVE HORSES! THIS SADDLE IS SO COOL! LOOK HOW I CAN STEAR MY HORSE! I LOOOOOOOVE HORSES!!!!!!! And then, a rouge horse that was THRILLED to see some sort of activity came galloping our way and tested the strength of my husband’s heart 🙂 Entertainment people. Entertainment.

While we were meandering along, our guide informed us that we would soon be coming along the road, which we would cross, and then carry on through another pasture, and then arrive at the rainforest. “Ummmm, road? Did he just say we are crossing the road?” Came the voice of my husband from behind me. Yup! We are crossing the road….we’re on an adventure!!! Isn’t this exciting??? “DID HE SAY WE ARE CROSSING THE ROAD???? DOES HE UNDERSTAND WE DON’T KNOW WHAT WE ARE DOING? HAVEYOUSEENHOWTHEYDRIVE?????????????”

Don’t worry, we made it across the road just fine. I mean, I think hubby might have grown another grey hair or two, but we made it across 🙂

Aren’t I adorable atop a horse?!

Costa Rica | Horseback Riding | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

Costa Rica | Bird | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

*ahem* don’t tell me they are little, ok? THEY WERE GIANT!

Our lovely guide…I loved him. I think he forgot our names (which is ok because, ummm,  I might have forgotten his as well) so he called us “my friend” the entire time, which I adored. “My friend, look at this plant” “My friends, look in that tree, THERE IS A SLOTH!!!” (don’t worry, we’ll get to that)

Costa Rica | Bird | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

Hubby took this…our guide “my friend” was teaching me about the frogs that I was hearing chirp, and how they attract the venomous snakes that are in the bushes there lining the fence and upcoming tree line. And how that becomes one of the most dangerous jobs, cutting the bushes down, because they are full of the snakes. We later saw a couple men doing just that, and I wanted to throw them onto my horse and get them as far away from those bushes as possible.

Costa Rica | Bird | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

And I now present to you the GEM of all of our vacation photos. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that my dear husband had the ware withal to take a self portrait to document how much he was enjoying this lovely, glorious Day 6…

Costa Rica | Bird | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

So we rode. We galloped (I LOVED galloping!!!!) we saw lots of birds of prey. I learned all sorts of fun little tid bits of information. And then we arrived at the mouth of the rainforest. We drenched ourselves in poison *ahem, bug spray* and entered a cloud of mosquitoes. And a beautiful rainforest as well.

But ummm, really. The mosquitoes. At one point our guide stopped and asked “Do you hear that?” And I quickly replied “YES!” Except he was talking about a monkey, and I was talking about the loud roar of mosquitoes buzzing. But it was an awesome trek. He made me eat strange plants that made my tongue go numb, a spider *might* have tried to attack me, resulting in me quite possibly trying to shove our guide to the ground in order to run over his body and make a grand escape (but dammit, I got the shot!). We saw awesome plant life….and was even able to educate our guide on some of the plants, since we actually had them in our yard at home – which, let’s discuss just how freaking cool it is to be in the middle of a rainforest in Costa Rica and be all “ummmm, isn’t that the plant that we have by the back door?”.

Costa Rica | Butterfly| Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Butterfly| Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Poison Dart Frog| Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Catapillar| Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Starngler Fig | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

This one is kind of hard to decipher, but this is the shed skin of a tarantula (I forget what he actually called it, but it is essentially a tarantula.) You can see him tucked in the back…

Costa Rica | Spider Shedding | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Tree | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Plant | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Plant | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Spider | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Plant | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

After our hike we returned to our horses, saddled up (did I use that phrase right? Did I?! Did I?!) and took an awesome journey back to the resort that brought us through a couple streams, through a herd of lazy cows, and provided us with some amazing views. OH! And did I mention our horses RAN?! Woohooooooo! It was SO much fun. Well, ummmm, ok, *I* had fun anyways 😉

Costa Rica | Horseback Riding | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Horseback Riding | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Cattle | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Cattle | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Horseback Riding | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Landscape | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Landscape | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

Hubby’s horse was OBSESSED with the grass, and because he didn’t know how to properly direct him 😉 horse got away with taking lots of snack breaks 🙂

Costa Rica | Horseback Riding | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

As we made our way back we ventured back to the field with the lonely horse. Apparently in the few hours since he had last seen us, he had grown more ornery and chased us down. Or more precisely, chased hubby down. It provided lots of entertainment for me, lots of fear for him, and we got to watch our guide as he busted out some serious cowboy moves to try to divert the saucy fella! We were greeted by the sweet old girl at the gate, the saucy naughty horse busted his way through as well, and once again we watched all sorts of entertainment as our guide desperately tried to corral this crazy boy. It was all such a whirlwind of excitement that I never even thought to lift my camera, which is a shame because is was one of my favorite memories of the day.

Once things settled down and we got closer to the stables I realized that there were HUGE iguanas all over. It was so crazy to see horses and iguanas in the same place

Costa Rica | Horseback Riding |Iguana | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Iguana| Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

All this, and it wasn’t even noon yet!!! Stay tuned for part 2 of this lovely day!!!!

BUT WAIT!!! Wasn’t there something about a sloth??? Why yes, yes there was!

Costa Rica | Sloth | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

We saw two sloths on this trek…this one was right above us while we were on horseback. I only wish I had a longer lens on me at the time (*ahem* that lens would make it’s way into my hands the following day…nothing like the saying “a day late, a dollar short!”) But I am still thrilled that I got this shot. he was sound asleep, as they usually are. Even with a couple knuckle rasps on the base of the tree, he moved only a smidgen.

See you next time!!!

October 16, 2013

day 5 {the vacation chronicles}

Costa Rica | Vacation Notes | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

My lists from my notebook requested that they make an appearance here. Who am I to tell them no? They are simple lists, sometimes just one word, but these lists were to help remind me of my days, and I have had fun looking back, my memory being jogged by such simple little statements. I find that as I look back at them, they bring back even more memories, and I am able, all this time later, to still add to the list.

Day 5 was one of my most favorite days from the vacation, even though I considered naming this post “Costa Rica, Day 5…the day Louis tried to kill me” But we’ll get to that 😉

This post is not one where I can be frugal with my words. I just loved this day too much. And it was too entertaining. Plus, I suck at telling short stories, remember?!

We woke up early to fill our bellies with strange food to prepare for a busy day. When we signed up for this excursion the night before, the man at the desk looked us up and down, stared at as sternly, and finally said “Do you hike?” “Yes” “Are you healthy?” “Yes” “Ok, we don’t recommend this for everyone. It is very hard.” And he looked….concerned. Which left me feeling slightly concerned. But I was intent on at least getting in one full-day excursion while we were at the resort, and the pamphlet showed gorgeous turquoise water. I am a sucker for packaging 😉

So we we filled our bellies under the gaze of a giant, lazy iguana. We watched as the staff put out fruit to lure in the most incredible looking birds I have ever seen. I snacked on a ridiculous amount of fruit, and super tasty sausage that hubby has me convinced might just have been horse meat :p We stopped at the desk to let them know we would be ready very soon. Once again, we got the once over. There was some serious internal debate going on inside this man’s head. Finally, he simply asked if we were physically fit, and to put good shoes on. Geez people! Now I’m starting to worry!

We get ready. We wait at the desk. An inconspicuous van pulls up, and an even more inconspicuous man hops out. Meet Louis. The man that looks harmless, but that I would later determine was on a mission to kill this girl. But we’ll get to that.

We start our excursion with a long drive. I should warn you, long drives, especially in Costa Rica, where the rule of the road is simply “we’re in Costa Rica, we do what we want!”, can be iffy for my queasy belly. And as it turns out, hubby’s belly too! I cannot even begin to explain the driving situation down there, so I am not even going to try. Just know it is interesting, and fast, and entertaining, and really, there don’t seem to be any rules. So we drive. I inform Louis (the man that wants to kill me) that I have yet to see a sloth, that all I want is to see a sloth. And he gets a sparkle in his eyes. One thing about these guides…you want to see something? You WILL see it. They are amazing. Obviously, they know if they give you what you want, you will reward them. Hell yeah I’ll reward you! Even though he tried to kill me, Louis was rewarded. On our drive he spotted numerous birds for us, including falcons and hawks. Now…when I say he “pointed out” what I mean to say is he brought to the van to a screeching halt, with no regard to traffic, and would not move until he was sure that we were seeing what he was seeing.

Costa Rica | Day 5 | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

As our drive continued on, we came upon a stoppage on an old dirt road, with a tourist van parked in the middle of the road, and numerous people standing, neck craned, all pointing in the same direction. “Get out” Louis said. “Get out, when you see people looking like that, there is a sloth.” We got out. AND THERE WAS A SLOTH!!! Right there, at the side of the road. Half way up a tree and camouflaged behind a leaf.

Would you like to see the picture?

Me too. But I didn’t take one. I know, I know!!! But I have a pretty crappy kit zoom lens, and seriously, he was snug up behind the leaf. For that moment, I was perfectly content with tucking it tightly into my memory banks, knowing that my first sloth sighting, even if not captured on “film”, would always be remembered perfectly.

Annnnnnnnnd, back in the van! Oh, the journey to our destination. It was entertaining all on it’s own. We have traffic jams that consisted of us and a herd of cows. Being chased by dogs. Dodging, amazing well I might add, almost every pot hole known to man. And finally, heading up a “hill” that caused me to subconsciously start rocking back and forth, in hopes it might propel the van forward and prevent us from sliding back.

And we arrive! We sign in, walk down a very boring little trail and enter the mouth of the forest.

And I lose my breath. It is gorgeous. Throughout our trip we were very fortunate to have seen many different types of rainforests, and this one was by far my most favorite. The cool temperature didn’t hurt either 😉 It was dark, and HUGE. Trees towered overhead and I couldn’t help but to think of the movie Jurassic Park. I found myself stopping numerous times, looking up, and just spinning in a slow circle, trying to take it all in. It was just breathtaking. And did I mention dark? It was dark. At the beginning of our hike I didn’t even bother taking my camera out, knowing it was pointless.

The further we hiked, the more precarious some trails became. Some would say I am a wuss…and I would probably agree 🙂 I have an incredible fear of heights…and we were definitely getting higher. You will see in some of the pictures a peculiar look on my face…that is me totally and completely freaked out 🙂 I mean, really…no one told me there would be WIRES that were all that was standing between me and sudden death!

Costa Rica | Day 5 | Kulik  Photography | SW Florida Photographer

(yes, I am WELL aware of that photo there, standing all sideways and whatnot. let’s not talk about it, k? k.)

Ok. So the hike. It is lovely. Really, it is. Sure, there are some scary spots. But it is ok. Hubby comforts me. I ask if he thinks we will have to come back this way, and he reassures me that he thinks it is a loop, so no, we probably won’t have to come back this way. Well sweet jesus THANK YOU!!!! Louis (the man that wants to kill me) then informs us that, no, he knows a quicker way.

*When your guide tells you there is a “quicker way”, be leery.

**When he leads you past a sign that reads PROHIBIDO, be leery. I mean, do I speak Spanish? Technically, no. But I don’t need a translator for this one people. No. I. Do. Not.

But “don’t worry!” Louis (the man that wants to kill me) reassures…”they mean old people. Lots of old people fall here. This is ok for young boys.” Does Louis know I am not a young boy? DOES HE??????????? Sure, my hair is really short. But my voice? It’s as valley girl as it gets. I have a bracelet on. And mascara even! Louis, I AM NOT A YOUNG BOY.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd adventure begins. This is terrible. I have tears in my eyes. Are we really on a trail? No really, are we?

There were times we would come to a spot, and lovely Louis (the man that wants to kill me) would say simply “uh-oh”. And I would see what he was looking at. And I would say, obviously, “do we need to turn back?” *fingers crossed* And Louis (the man that wants to kill me) would say “Nope!” all chipper and happy as he proceeds to lead me closer to my death.

This, my sweet friends, is what Louis (the man that wants to kill me) drove me to…lol, really, I was SO over it at this point. This trek attacked my fear of heights on so many levels, and took my anxiety and shook it all up and then spit it all over the forest floor. And that resulted in this 🙂

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

Did I mention how many times I fell on this hike? Which just reiterated the fact that at any moment, I could plunge to my death off the side of these trails. Oh, because trails that are past the Prohibido sign? They don’t have wires along the paths. BECUASE NO ONE IS SUPPOSED TO BE THERE! Oh Louis….

But really…this was one of my most favorite days of the whole trip. It was so trying for me, but the beauty of it all was just so overwhelming, I couldn’t help but flip a camera off, and then be instantly mesmerized by a gorgeous butterfly. And suuuuure, I am convinced that Louis was trying to kill me, but he was also highly entertaining. When we crossed paths with other hikers (not on the Prohibido path, I can assure you that) he would warn them of jaguars…which just sounds adorable with a Spanish accent- haguar. He spent much of our hike mimicking howler monkeys…which resulted in endless entertainment as we watched fellow hikers suddenly staring into the trees, trying to spot them 🙂

Costa Rica | Day 5 | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

This hike will forever be burned in my memory. It was the hardest hike we did on the trip, but also the most beautiful. And almost dying at the hands of your guide doesn’t hurt for the excitement factor either 😉 The colors of the water, the enormity of the forest, the delicate wings of the butterflies, everything about it was dream-like.

We ended the hike sweaty and muddy. We filled our bellies with a traditional Costa Rican lunch with Louis and took a long, tired ride back home. Where, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaait for it……………………………..we saw another sloth!!!!!

Costa Rica | Sloth | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

So yeah…crappy kit lens, remember? So you just have to trust me that that right there, is a sloth. Really. It is. And I will also point out that this was spotted while going proabably about 70-80 mph. SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECH. look! look! look! 🙂 Oh Louis, I know you tried to kill me and all, but thank you.

We came to a screeching halt one more time, for a group of howler monkeys….

Costa Rica | Howler Monkeys | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

I wish you could hear what they sound like…it is so amazing how little they actually are after hearing the LOUD, prehistoric noises they make.

So that was day 5. Top of the list day 5. It was so great and there are so many little bits and pieces I wish I could share with you, but they are the types of memories that are somehow impossible to share with others, but are engraved deep into the walls of my memory. I loved day 5.

Oh wait! Do you want real photos too??? Well, ok…

Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer

Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer

Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer

As I neared this tree, I was trying to figure out what I was seeing…..and it turns out, it was a shoe.

Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer

Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer

Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer

Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer

Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer

This Skink was one of my best models from the entire trip! He was incredibly patient, and while he didn’t sit still, he never went too terribly far. I spent some time crawling in the mud, and was able to get some pretty great shots of him…

Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer

This little guy was so itty bitty and was on the other end of the spectrum from the skink in the whole camera love thing. He only let me get about 4 shots in before he was long gone…

Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer

Probably my favorite shot from the day…

Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer

October 14, 2013

day 4 {the vacation chronicles}

Did you think I forgot?

ok…I kind of forgot. Really, life got busy, this little world of mine has been swirling around a bit, and poof! Forgotten about. But don’t get a complex…I remembered that I forgot and now here I am, with day 4.

And lucky you, the storyteller in me is tapped out for today 🙂 I brought a notebook with me for the trip, to keep track of our days, and of our memories. Day four was a simple list of bullet points that looked a little something like this:

yummy breakfast, played with Stinky, HOT, Hike at Chimmoria Tree Farm, log bridge-yikes!, big spider, dirt and grass roads, oropendola nests, lots of bugs, tiny anole, dragonfly, monkey!, blue jean poison dart frog, bit by ants :(, slaty-tailed trogon, pbj in truck, visited Ethical Forestry, cycle of trees from seed to tree farm, explore by river, release baby boa, check into Tilajari Resort, yummy dinner, cane toads, Loyal & Felicia’s first armadillo.

And THAT was day 4. It was a great day. It was a hot, sweaty day and we saw so much. It was really a great day.

A couple snapshots…

if you paid attention to that list up there, you would see I wrote the words “log bridge- yikes!” We drove over a “bridge” and our friend asked if we would like to see what we just drove over. Against our better judgment we said yes. And THIS is what we were shown. *gulp*

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

a yucky spider I spotted while standing down by the water…

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

hubby with one of those bird’s nests…

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

a little behind the scenes of getting macro shots…

behind the scenes... | Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

playing with a baby snake…

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

And after we put the cell phones down, and the point and shoot down, I *did* pick up the camera and take some “real” photos…

Costa Rica |Oropendola Nests|  Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

Costa Rica | Oropendola Nest| Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

One of the recurring fascinations for me one this trip was the way that nature could trick you into thinking there wasn’t much to it. I would look at the entrance to a trail we would be headed to, and not be overly impressed. It just looks like a wall of trees. But when you step inside, and cross that threshold, it was like being transported into some secret world.

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

It felt like we were driving in a maze through the tree farm…if it was up to my sense of direction, we would probably still be trying to find our way out 😉

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

You can always find the spoils of humanity…even in a rainforest

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

 

 

October 2, 2013

day 3 {the vacation chronicles}

Well you didn’t think I was just going to tell you I woke up on day three and leave it at that, did you? Yeah, I guess you’re right. My blogging record is a little shady, I guess I can see where you’re coming from.

So I feel like now that we are digging our heels into this vacation I should warn you of two things. A) I have a bad memory. I mean, BAD. The only way for me to keep hold of these memories was to try to jot everything down in a notebook as they happened, and this little blog here. Which brings us to B) I have an inability of making a long story short. I mean, I try. I will even start a long story with the words “To make a long story short” and then an hour later…I’m still going. I will try my best to keep it short, but as much as this is for you to get to see my fun adventures, this blog here is pretty much my memory banks. So feel free to speed read, not read, close your eyes and only open them when we get to a photo. Whatever works for you 🙂 But I need to get it all down, for the benefit of me.

So on day 3…I woke up. We already covered that. We woke up waaaaay earlier than our hosts, so we tiptoed our ways outside and for the first time were able to actually take in our surroundings. And well, it was beautiful. We sat on a covered porch that overlooked the Rio San Carlos and quietly took in the sights and sounds. The chicken coop across the street was bustling with activity and the angry roosters were doing everything in their power to wake the world up. We listened to beautiful bird song and my plant-loving husband was already eyeballing all the plants and flowers. We threw our shoes on and ventured down the hill to get a closer look at the river and I met my first Costa Rican cane toad and I found bugs to take pictures of and I kept a cloooooose eye on the tall grass I was trudging through hoping to not meet any of those famously poisonous Costa Rican snakes.

We met the one and only Stinky Dog…as I said earlier, the life of a dog in CR is a difficult one to take in as an American, where our dogs are treated as our children. And trust me, there will be a dog post 😉 but until then, I will just say that Stinky doesn’t have a life I pity. He lives somewhere down the street. His real name…well, we will actually finally learn that later in our trip, but really, Stinky seems pretty appropriate considering his, well, stink. So he lives down the way, but boy does he love his gringos. He quickly made friends with our friends, Loyal and Felicia, when they moved into the neighborhood. And soon, he spent his weekends lounging at their house, going home as the sun goes down. So while we were lounging on the porch, here Stinky comes, prancing around the corner like he owned the place. He took us in for a moment, realizing we were not his gringos. He sniffed. He threw himself at my feet. And BOOM. We were friends 🙂 Imagine that.

We had a fabulously delicious breakfast on the porch and then prepared for our day of adventure. I should note here that I am a control freak. To quite an annoying degree really. Yet for this trip, I did pretty much no research. I had no clue what I wanted to do, other than hike through the forests. This is where our fabulous hosts deserve quite the shout out. I knew I didn’t really need to know where we were going, or what we were doing, because Loyal and Felicia are kind of super cool. They are outdoorsy and low maintenance and just the cool kids that you hope you don’t let down when you squeal like a five-year-old if a bug crawls on you. So I knew that in their hands, we were going to have a good time. They didn’t disappoint. 🙂

Our day in cell phone photos :   (oh for pete’s sake, relax! There are real photos too!)

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

We headed out to see the Arenal Volcano. The drive was gorgeous and it felt as though the volcano followed you, peeking through the clouds and teasing you with it’s beauty. We made stops along the way, and ventured into the town of La Fortuna which sits below the volcano. It was a fun, touristy town where you are surrounded by fun little shops, street vendors, and lots and lots of backpackers. We poked around a few shops, and I was treated to the most delicious coconut shake that I have ever had. YUM!

We headed back out and stopped at a hiking spot that they knew of. Drenched in poison i.e. bug spray we headed into the forest and onto our hike. The hike followed a stream, which was higher than it had been in the past apparently. And so, this girl hiked barefoot. I mean, you only live once, right?! Suuuuuuuuure, my foot was on fire at one point for undetermined reasons, but it didn’t fall off, so I assume it was all a-ok 😉 I had a blast and was just thrilled to finally be out in nature and taking it all in.

From a photography stand-point, I had a slightly traumatizing realization. I remembered from our last trip that the rainforests were dark. But remember that bad memory I was talking about? I forgot just how dark it really was. And suddenly, as a natural-light photographer, I was faced with the realization that I was going to be missing a lot of shots on this trip. That was a hard pill to swallow. But I was in an amazing country and I was going to just suck it up and do the best I could and when possible we made do, and improvised at times with a flashlight, which was better than nothing!

Ok, you asked for it…my skills at editing it down are lacking and so….the flood of photos begins!

Costa Rica | Lake Arenal | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

Costa Rica | Lake Arenal | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Lake Arenal | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

I just gasp a little every time I see how the rainforest is so alive and takes over absolutely everything…

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

I was delighted to find leaves to add to my collection…

CR-08-2013-28-WEB

costa rica | leaves | kulik photography | sw florida photographer

costa rica | leaves | kulik photography | sw florida photographer

Costa Rica | leaves | kulik photography | sw florida photographer

costa rica | flowers | kulik photography | sw florida photographer

and of course, what I was here for, CRITTERS!

CR-08-2013-61-WEB costa rica | insects | kulik photography | sw florida photographer

costa rica | spider | kulik photography | sw florida photographer costa rica | butterfly | kulik photography | sw florida photographer costa rica | insect | kulik photography | sw florida photographer

and my favorites from the day…

costa rica | cicada | kulik photography | sw florida photographer costa rica |cicada | kulik photography | sw florida photographer costa rica | lizard | kulik photography | sw florida photographer

October 1, 2013

waking up in Costa Rica…

…I mean, ok, we are on day 3 already. Clearly on day 2 we woke up in Costa Rica too, but not really. We woke up in Heredia, which is on the outskirts of San Jose, which while sure, teeeeeeeechnically it is Costa Rica. It isn’t really Costa Rica. I mean, it’s a hotel on a city street. I woke up to the sounds of people in the hallway. And the air conditioner that, clearly, this foreigner had no clue how to work, because it might have been snowing in our room. No…waking up in the Country Inns and Suites is not the same as waking up in El Ferry, Costa Rica.

We arrived at the house late the night before. We couldn’t see much because, well, we were in the country. You forget how dark the world really is at night, until you go out into the country, where city lights don’t litter the sky. No, we didn’t see much. But we did see the Milky Way. And what I thought were light bugs but were actually some sort of beetle that lights up. So if that is all I got to see, I’ll take it. We also saw that we would not have air conditioning. As an a spoiled American, I’m not going to lie, this was slightly traumatizing for a brief moment. I mean, it was HOT. Like, Florida hot. With no air conditioning. But I am on an adventure and I am in Costa Rica and if that means I am going to sleep with no blankets and all the windows open, then let’s do it! I also got to sleep under mosquito netting. And not because it looks pretty and added to the effect. No. I got to sleep under mosquito netting so I wasn’t accosted by insects in my sleep. I feel like this should have creeped me out, but it really didn’t. I’M ON AN ADVENTURE!!!

So we were informed that since the windows are open, we should expect some noises that might be slightly foreign to us. There is a small group of bats that live under the roof of their patio that surrounds the house. We should expect to hear them return in the morning. There is a chicken house across the street, so we should expect to hear the roosters first thing. Oh, and don’t panic when you hear the howler monkeys. Howler monkeys? I get to hear howler monkeys???? YES!!!!

And then, at what I can only guess was probably about 3 am or so, I heard the howler monkeys. And in my sweaty, sleepy fog I felt like a 5 year old who really wanted to run into her parents bedroom and hide under their blankets. These didn’t sound like happy little monkeys swinging around in the trees. Clearly, there was a colony of DINOSAURS out there just waiting to come and drag me out of bed. I had never heard anything like it. It was so prehistoric sounding. That first night, it frightened me. But every night, and morning, after that, I woke up with a smile on my face when I heard them. Most of the world wakes up to the annoying beep beep beep of an alarm, and here I was waking up to birds that might as well have been fake for how foreign they sounded to me, and persistent roosters, AND HOWLER MONKEYS.

I present to you…my alarm clock:

Nothing to see…just the sounds that we woke up to every morning in Costa Rica