New Year’s Eve Randomness

by Aaron on January 2, 2011

I’m a big fan of randomness when traveling.   When plans fall apart I start having fun.  I like to have an idea of what to do or some general direction but I think it’s extremely important when traveling abroad to be prepared to go with the flow.   Things change constantly.

Oftentimes(read always) when plans fall apart, something even better will come along soon after.(Patrick and Alex share this philosophy well too.)

When we were heading back in to San Jose we didn’t really have a plan of what to do for New Year’s but we figured something fun would pop up.

That day we’d had to hike out of the jungle instead of raft because the water was too high from the rains.  Naturally riding on a raft through class IV rapids getting splashed by perfectly refreshing water sounded somewhat better than an intense hike through a hot jungle.

However, had the weather been better and we had rafted the bus would have been full of people and the upcoming opportunity would probably have never presented itself.

The bus, as it were, was empty on the ride back to San Jose.   Gloriana, our effervescent bus guide, started visiting with us on the ride home.   It turns out that we actually knew each other.

We’d met back in 2004 while she and her friend(the daughter of the Rios Tropicales owner) were at the river lodge at the same time we were.

We all hung out that night at the lodge and I assumed it would be like most other people you meet when traveling, you share a brief moment but in all likelihood won’t see each other again.

Turns out I was wrong.  6 years had elapsed since the 4 hours we hung out that night and we both didn’t recognize each other immediately.  But sure enough we did indeed remember each other.

We all visited for a while on the ride home asking Gloriana what there was to do in San Jose on New Year’s Eve.  A few text messages and phone calls later Gloriana turned around and asked if we wanted to come over for a traditional Costa Rican New Year’s dinner with her family and hang out with her friends later.   Uhhh, let me think….Yes.  Easiest decision ever.

We had an awesome time that night. The dinner was 5 star and the company world class. We learned of the Costa Rican tradition of stuffing grapes in your mouth and making 12 wishes.(The first 3 of which I spent hoping to swallow the large seeded grapes successfully.)

We also spent some time with her wonderful family who were kind enough to entertain strangers on New Year’s Eve. We managed to reciprocate the entertainment by complementing the food and good company in our broken Spanish.  I guess “La comida fue buenisima” translates correctly but sounds funny coming from a gringo.(Alex’s likeness to Walker Texas Ranger was hilarious as well.)

That night we went out and met some of her friends, hung out Costa Rican style, and had a great time.  There’s no telling what New Year’s in Costa Rica we might have had if the weather had been perfect and the cards had fallen another way.

I can’t imagine a more unique way to spend the New Year.  Thank goodness for bad weather and randomness.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Edie Stahl January 3, 2011 at 4:26 am

What a gracious, kind and adventurous family to take a chance on the three of you. 🙂
Thank you Gloriana and family for letting them share a piece of your life.

Reply

Alex January 4, 2011 at 6:06 am

The Universe is looking out of us! Or we just got really lucky.

Reply

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