If you read my blog post, From Grief to Costa Rica, you know I am traveling alone in Costa Rica at the moment. If you have not read it, just a brief background…. I am living and teaching yoga at a wellness center about an hour from Jaco in Costa Rica and I get a few days off which I use to travel around and experience the culture a bit. Today I was reminiscing about the series of events that took place one night on the town a couple weeks ago and I realized it was kinda funny and maybe I should share…. so here it is, one of my nights out….
I was feeling a little Eat, Pray, Love-ish and sought out the best restaurant I could find to indulge in some fine dining! My friends at the hostel referred me to the top restaurant in town and as soon as I walked into Graffiti Restro Cafe and Wine Bar, I knew it was going to be excellent. The walls were covered in Graffiti art and the energy was vibrant. One look over the menu at the amazingly, unique combinations of flavors and I was in love. I ordered a signature cocktail, fabulous appetizer and sat back to relax and begin my over the top self indulgence.
As I was finishing up my main course (which was a phenomenal Mahi-mahi special) a local guy came up to my table with what looked like a circus act.
He pulled out a long leaf from his pocket and started weaving the leaf into this heart creation. About a minute later he placed the plant woven heart on his chest and made a thumping motion before handing me his creation. I thanked him and gave him a little tip. Quite a talent that man has!
After strolling around the town a bit to ease my overly full tummy, I made my way to a little beach bar where I was planning to meet up with a friend I met stand up paddle boarding the day before. He said he was heading to some beach bar for $1 beers. Randomly I had this image of a vibe similar to a local bar in my hometown, Pitcher House in Redondo Beach, thinking I would walk into a small crowd of familiar faces. Boy was I wrong! The place was packed and what I would classify as “Fiesta Techno” music was blaring loudly. Feeling a little shell shocked, I made my way to the bar to order what I thought was going to be a $1 beer. Well $5 and a warm flat beer pour later, I was informed I missed the locals special that ended at 9PM. I scanned the crowd and realized it was going to be very unlikely I would see my friend.
A couple gringo dudes could relate to my misplacement and struck up a conversation. After chatting a bit we decided to head back towards the main area of town and make our way to another place recommended by my friends called Amigos. The guys mentioned their friends were already at one of the bars on the main road on our way, so I agreed to stop by there with them.
We came to a club looking entrance with a big, buff security guy at the door. The bouncer looked me up and down and asked, “Are you a stripper?” My jaw dropped as I scanned my own attire. I was wearing a super lose fitted and conservative white dress, old rainbow sandals and mala beads. My ocean soaked hair was pulled up in a messy bun on top of my head and I looked at him with confusion asking, “Do I look like a stripper?”. I quickly realized that was a stupid question. This was not a joking matter. I changed my demeanor and said with a more serious tone, “No, no I am not”. I looked over at my new gringo friends and they said, “we can just run in and see if our friends are here, if you want to wait outside”. I weighed my options…. wait outside with scary buff bouncer guy who thinks I am a stripper or enter what I now realize was a local strip club. I quickly decided the latter option and said, “When in rome…”.
We walked into a very empty strip club that clearly their friends were not at and I looked at them and said, “ok, we should probably head to Amigos now”. A couple stripper girls gave me some interesting looks as I quickly made my way back to the front entrance.
We finally made it to Amigos and it was very refreshing to see lots of gringos having fun in a relaxed environment. I ended up staying there for awhile and had a great time.
As I made the short block and half walk back to my hostel, I reflected on the interesting night I had which turned out to be very different from the night I thought was planned. I approached my room and saw two super handsome dutch looking guys lounging in the hammocks. I sat in the available hammock in between them to chat for a bit. To my surprise, these guys were Italian and not dutch at all. I’ve never been to Italy, but assumed Italians would have much darker features. We talked about our different travel experiences and our lives at home. They told me about Manuel Antonio (which is now where I am heading in a couple days) and I gave them some great tips about Montezuma (which is where they were headed). It was a very typical, friendly encounter at a hostel and was just the cherry on top of my random evening of experiences.
I went to bed that night feeling very proud of myself for being so brave, meeting new people and venturing through unfamiliar surroundings. My spiritual evolution was well on its way back at the retreat center, but being able to apply some of what I’ve been working on to “real life” was a great reminder that the strength I am gaining here in Costa Rica is going to totally change my “real life” back home. I will continue to appreciate fine dining mindfully, be open to meeting new people, let go of expectations and allow myself to stay completely present in each moment, soaking in all my surroundings. Hoping this blog brightens your afternoon a bit. Sending lots of love from Costa Rica! Xo!