hi team. i'm not sure what's going on with the pictures from the Arenal weekend but hopefully i can get that sorted out in the near future. i'm also having trouble with capitals and punctuation on this keyboard, my apologies. friday after class [this is now 2 fridays ago, sorry] i went to the mall with kniccoa, yocelin, and elena and we bumped into a bunch of other isa kids who said they were going to the jazz cafe that night. we decided that sounded cool so after dinner we called a cab and off we went to this really cool funky jazz club with incense and blue lights on this incredible band.. i'll have to go back. if you're ever in the san jose area, go to the jazz cafe in san pedro. it's worth the 2000 colones to get in the door.
saturday morning we met the isa bus at 6 in the morning and off we went on our adventure. the first stop was in zarchero ? at this amazing sculped park/garden place with a beautiful church. took lots of pictures even though we were still groggy. the sculptor is famous here and was given an offer by disney but turned it down to work on the garden to support his church, according to paulo. the next stop was breakfast, where we had pre-ordered pancakes or eggs and gallo pinto. i went with the pancakes and had the most amazing hot chocolate i have ever tasted. as many of you know, that means a lot. my spanish professor tells us the hot chocolate here is milk with sugar and pure cocoa mixed in a big metal pitcher with a whisk. i'll have to take a lesson. then we got back on the bus and a few hours later arrived at la fortuna, a waterfall in which i believe is near monteverde. we climbed down 400 steps to an amazing waterfall [see the pictures] where everyone went swimming. i feel like here in costa rica we get the 'best of' album of beautiful and cool places. 400 steps back up and we had all earned our lunch. poor amalia forgot her water bottle at the bottom and had to do the climb twice! i sat next to staysha on the bus and we had a nice chat. that afternoon we pulled into our hotel 'los lagos' and to our surprise the sign said RESORT AND SPA which was very exciting. it was a beatiful place but the architecture left something to be desired... my architecture professor max tells me the arenal area is the example of what not to do and the reason that architecture in costa rica is going green. after checking in we all piled back into the bus [i was sick of the bus by now] and went about 10 minutes down the road to the baldi hot springs resort which is this crazy unreal place with layers and levels of hot springs pools with waterfalls and waterslides and all sorts of crazyness and some of the water is too hot to go in but other places were okay... it was all very overwhelming especially because the 'look' is nowhere near natural. it looks like layers of cement pools. how strange. the water felt nice and the swim-up bars were fun [it might be a good thing i hadn't brought any money, glasses of water were fine for me]. it was nice to relax for the afternoon/evening after such a long day on the bus. we ate dinner there and then headed back to our hotel, everyone was exhausted. that night a bunch of us sat out on the porch of one of the rooms watching the volcano. we could hear it rumbling like thunder but all we could see was a red glow through the clouds at the top. meanwhile, fraser made friends with a bird by whistling back and forth, it was some good live entertainment in leiu of spewing lava.
sunday morning was sunny and beautiful and the hotel breakfast was stellar. garrett and i caught a cab over to the arenal volcano national park and had a nice hike -more horizontal than vertical- to a lava field with a great view where we met up with a bunch of other isa-ers who had left a little earlier in the morning. we could hear the volcano hissing and spitting rocks, which then tumbled down the sides. que chivas. when we got back to the hotel we had just enough time to jump in the pool and test out the water slide before climbing back on the bus for another 7 hours of joy.