Sunday, January 23, 2011

Goodbye winter, hello summer!

I woke early again on my second and last day in New York, still on London time but thankful to be up early and greeted by blue skies and the sun rising over the Manhattan skyline. Keen to get out and make the most of my last day I headed to the island and up to the top of the Empire State Building. It was wildly windy and cold, the views were great but nothing in comparison to those I experienced from the Rockafella Centre a couple of years ago.

After wandering the Manhattan streets for a few hours, piping hot chilli on 5th Ave and some time admiring Grand Central Station I headed back to Williamsburg to spend the afternoon exploring the very hip Brooklyn neighbourhood. Although it was mostly sunny by mid afternoon I was mostly just cold so I set up shop with a coffee, my book and a window seat at Verb Cafe to watch the world go by. Enter Brian, a photograper and extremely interesting man who I spent the next hour or so chatting to and then later that evening met up with for dinner at Diner.

What an experience. Diner is a well know Williamsburg institution ( and now first hand I know why. Unassuming in its exterior appearance, you would easily pass by unaware of the gastronomical delights contained inside. The bespoke daily specials menu is created around available fresh produce and our waitress described each delicious dish with the passion of reading poetry. After an unforgettable dinner with truly great company we moved on for a drink next door at Marlow & Sons and onto yet another bar for a nightcap. The hours escaped quickly and in no time it was 2:00am, with my 5:30am start looming closer we called it a night. As we left the last bar, the snow had just began to fall, sparkling as it lightly covering the cars, roads and sidewalks...

The next morning, or more accurately just a few hours later I donned my newly packed up Jalan 55, braved the snow, which was still falling and now a good 4 inches deep and headed for the underground and towards JFK, hoping that I would in fact be leaving on a jet plane, leaving winter behind me.

Many hours later I arrived, somewhat scattered, tired and thirsty at Aldea Hostel, San Jose, Costa Rica. I was warmly greeted by a much more acceptable climate and could not wait to get my shoes off, my thongs on and a nice cold Imperial into me!

I spent my first day in Costa Rica checking out downtown San Jose with my new friend Sam. After a couple hours wandering the marketplace, which seemed to sell pretty much anything and everything you could want (except a sim which I still haven´t figured out) we decided it was high time to get involved in the local bars.

Quite a few hours and quite a few bars later, a little drunk and with not much of a clue where we were or where to go we headed back to the hostel. The evening brought many laughs and what started with Sam and I playing UNO ended in an all in, international UNO championship, with Canada, USA, Finland, Norway, Switzerland and Australia taking part!

I am absolutely loving Costa Rica so far, only just on day two but the relaxed, slow pace, the sunshine and knowing that I don´t have to be anywhere or do anything really agrees with me. The language barrier is definitely a barrier, no one really speaks English. I am hoping after my week of full time Spanish classes I may be able to communicate a little easier.

Heading to the pacific coast tomorrow and I will spend about a week around Santa Teresa before I start classes. Looking forward to that hammock that has my name on it!

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