Thursday, July 24, 2008

lessons learned

Since we´ve been out on our own for the last 6 weeks there are a few lessons we have learned from our traveling experiences and we have decided to share them with you:

1. Anything is better covered in peanut butter.
2. Never forget your tub of peanut butter for road trips.
3. When people say mean things to you, just think in your head what you would like to say to them then flip them off when they are not looking.
4. Throwing soiled toliet paper in the trash will never be normal, no matter how long you are required to do it.
5. Lupita´s awkwardness is only enhanced when she is trying to imitate Juanita, for example, see pictures above.
6. American´s are too cautious of drivers which leads to road rage, american drivers need to take some lessons from their latin american neighbors.
7. When in doubt just nod your head and say "si, si" and everything will be okay.
8. When board dress like rainbow bright and observe the looks you get, like people watching in reverse.
9. When you have a sweet tooth and there is no sugar around Tums is a natural alternative.

on the road again . . .

It´s our last official day in the Dominican Republic, we leave tomorrow morning to start our 2 day trek home. Time has flown by and it doesn´t seem real that we will be back home in only a few short days. Our trip has been amazing, although we have loved being smelly little nomads for quite some time the prospects of home, family and comfort has been on our minds a lot lately and we can´t wait to be with the people we love in the place we love.

Our 2 weeks in the Dominican Republic has been . . . well, we don´t quite know how to describe it. As in the words of JT it´s "the best and the worst place all at the same time." We love it but we hate it. The beaches have been the highlight of the trip, the water is so clear and beautiful it´s hard to believe you are standing there looking at it. One memorable beach expierence that we will never forget is when Juanita was curled in fetal position screaming "no gracias" as a local dominican lady was trying to persuade her that she does in fact want a message, the lady even went as far as giving her a free sample, which made the fetal position even tighter than before, if that was at all possible. And then the "no gracias" became almost a whimper. We realized after a few beach peddlers came by that the best method was to avoid eye contact at all costs, which we became pros at.

We´ve decided that food for horses in the DR is scarce, our poor little horses that we rode to a waterfall weren´t really horses at all, more like malnurioushed donkeys. I think our feet almost drug on the ground while they were walking and a rib was poking us in the ass, which doesn´t say much about the homemade rugs that apparenlty were our saddles. What made it worse was the poor little donkeys had to manuvere their way through treachourously steep muddy rock trails. Poncho, Juanita´s horse, had a particularly hard time getting down and managed to nearly through her into the mud. Luckily she´s a hard core cowgirl at heart and hung on for dear life.

Waterfall rapelling this time was amazing, again, the scenery was absolutely beautiful and what made it better is Lupita didn´t feel like she was free falling to her death. The ropes were more manageable, however, Lupita once again found a way to injure herself and took a chunk of skin our of her pinky.

We will end our trip in true american fashion, a few stops at baskin robbins and dinner at the hard rock cafe. As we wrap up our latin american trip we are so grateful for all the amazing expierences we´ve had and the great people we have met. Although the thrill of traveling is something we both love our families and loved ones have been on our minds a lot lately and we can´t wait to see everyone.

Monday, July 14, 2008

some pics and video from Costa Rica

Here is a video of our waterfall rapelling adventure. Lupita was going a little too fast for her liking here, although it may look like she knows what she is doing from the ground notice the middle part where she got stuck and then when she finally made it to the ground, she was a little shaky and couldn't quite remember how to stand up.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

from the end back to the beginning

At the moment me and Juanita are sitting in the ¨business center¨ of our newest hotel, we got into Santo Domingo about 2 hours ago and are now still up at 2 am trying to figure out what the h&!· is going on. We made it to our hotel all by ourselves, which is a feat for the two directionally retarded twins here. After a very interesting 15 min talk to the front desk clerk we realized that our ISV group is not here. ISV isn´t nearly as organized here in the DR as they were in Costa Rica.

We finally got our hotel room, after Juanita got the hook up from the front desk clerk, we could have our own personal tour guide of the DR if we so choose, for ¨however long we like¨ according to Andres, and in our deliriousness as we are down in the internet room blogging our overly friendly new Domincian friend from the front desk brought us some drinks . . . organge juice, we are just hoping there are no roofies slipped in there, they are almost gone and we feel fine at the moment.

Tomorrow we will be off on a totally new adventure, and totally different from Costa Rica, we have no idea what we are doing or where we are going.

We left costa rica after spending two days on the beach at the Ocotal beach resort. We took a sail boat, a new expierence for both of us, to head out to the ocean for snorkeling. The day before was the big 2-0 for Juanita. We spend the day traveling in the morning but it ended well with a wine and cheese party at sunset overlooking the ocean. We had cake also and sang happy birthday to Juanita. The one downside to the night was when Lupita lost her wallet in the ocean. The stop before Ocotal was Monteverde, one of our favorites. We went horseback riding, where Lupita found her love of horses. She felt an immediate connection with her horse Chicky, they were meant to be. Chicky took his own path whenever possible and tried to cut off all the other horses. Juanita got the slowest horse in the group that wouldn´t do anything but go about minus 2 mph. Zip lining through canopy forests was next, during which Lupita being very tired did everything the zip line guides told her not to do, put her hand in front of the pulley, used her left hand instead of right to guide and then freaked out half way through the zip line and didn´t make it all the way across. But the highlight of this zip line trip was the tarzan swing, during which Juanita found, once again, her innate ability to scream like tarzan. Okay, maybe just like a man, but in any case the whole group was laughing.

At this time we think it is completely relevant to explain the first activity in Monteverde. In general we did not enjoy this activity and here is why
1. there were no clouds in the "cloud forest"
2. we paid a guide to show us the animals . . . we saw one bird that he didn´t even spot
3. we got yelled at for giggling because "other people in the group are actually interested in the animal-less, no cloud hike from hell" . . . last I checked we weren´t in grade school anymore
4. autumn, an annoying girl from the group, was rude to us because she was the one interested in the hike . . . but what did make it better was when Alex, our friend from the group, called her a bitch, trust us it was funny.

And now we leave you as we are being seranaded to sleep by Andres, the overly friendly front desk clerk and Mariah Carey. Sure hope there´s no roofies in these drinks.

Love you all.
J and L

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Swingin like Tarzan!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

This aint no Indiana Jones ride..

The adventure tour started out with a splash, white water rafting down the Pacuare River to a jungle lodge. Juanita was a little hesitant to begin but once we found out that it is rather difficult to tip a raft with 8 people in it we were okay, we made sure to get our seats on the special raft, the one for all the wussy girls. But we were in front so that makes us the less wussy of them all. However, Juanita´s life flashed before her eyes when banshee woman hurled herself from her raft and attempted to throw poor little Juanita overboard, all the while Lupita is hanging on to her for dear life screaming ¨she doesn´t want to go in¨, reminiscent of ¨I´m not good at this game¨. More details and pictures to come shortly. After our day in the jungle playing in waterfall slides and hiking to waterfall grottos we rafted out the next day.

After our river rafting adventrue we traveled to Selva Bananito, an eco lodge which we think is code word for we have no amenities, not even electricity. We ate by candlelight and played cards with a gas powered lantern. The next day Juanita and Lupita discovered that they are not the nature girls they thought they were. The jungle hike was not an easy little jaunt through nicely manucured trails. Ph no, we were haking it through mud trails, crossing paths of poisonous snake infested pits and man eating ant trails. It´s miraculous that we survived.

The next day we traveled by motor boat to Tortugero, Lupitas favorite part of the trip thus far. We stayed in a lodge right on the edge of the river where howller monkeys and spider monkeys inhabit most trees in the area. Juanita found her calling in life when she discovered her innate ability to call howler monkeys. They are her peeps afterall. The next day we went jungle kayaking. We saw caymen, lots of birds and discovered that we do not have the innate ability to stear our kayak, but it ended well when we realized that signing on the way back seemed to make it go by a little faster. Covers of summer lovin and jessie´s girl by Lupita and Juanita will be out soon. Next up was our private massages where we were taken to a secluded spa and got massages in the jungle, amazing.

Now we are in a little town called La Fortuna. We spent the 4th of July the Baldi natural hot springs that come from the volcano arenal. We did not forget our nations birthay, we sang the national anthem a top the highest hot spring with the 22 other members in the group. Today we went zip lining through canopy forests and rapelling, where Lupita realized that rapelling is not as fun as it looks, and has the scars to prove it. We rapelled down a 240 ft. decline in between two waterfalls, then had to climb our way back up a rickety ladder. Tonight we will be spending it dining on a makeshift potluck dinner, PB and Js and cereal. We no longer have dinners included in our tours and since our budgets don´t quite allow for eating out every night we have decided to join efforts with our new found group friends and have a potluck dinner tonight instead of going out. Our bodies are tired and we will be fortunate if we make it out to the discoteca, but Juanita is dying to laugh more at Lupitas new found love for dancing.

We have only about 6 more days in Costa Rica and then we will be on our way to the DR, if the adventure tour is anything like what we have already been doing in Costa Rica we will probably have to take about a week to recover from our over-traveled bodies.

Oh, one more thing to add, we went from fearless Jesus leader to the nature loving happy tico. Uncle marky mark, we found your costa rican twin, he even does the cabbage patch dance and all, we think that move only comes out while intoxicated.

Until next time,
Lupe and Juana

Friday, June 27, 2008

We don t have much time to blog but wanted to post some pictures for everyone to see where we have been for the last 2 weeks. The best picture we have taken so far of the giant spider that chased us in the jungle tree house is sadly not available to download but we will try to get it up soon, it really was giant and so gross. We are in san jose now waiting to go river rafting tomorrow to our jungle eco logde and then continue on with the rest of the 2 weeks rapelling down waterfalls, ziplining through cloud forests and snorkeling on the beach. We have loved our time in Quizarra, we are certainly sad and certainly happy to have left and continued on with our trip. We hope everyone at home is doing well and want you all to know how much we love you.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Life as a granola...

It´s been one week in the jungle and as we sit here to let all of you know about our adventures this week we don´t even know where to begin. In our packing checklist we wish we could switch out our ¨how not to become a sex slave¨ book with ¨How not to become a indentured servant¨ book. We knew that we were going to have to volunteer on this trip and do some work, but never imagined we would have to break our backs and sweat to our death to do it. At one point every day Me and Juanita look at eachother with that ¨What the hell did we get ourselves into¨ look. The first three days consisted of hauling sacks of sand up a jungle trail, but the accomplishment of helping out the community is well worth it, we hauled 612 large gunney sacks of sand up the hill in those three days with our team of 8 other volunteers (mostly girls). We´ve gotten very comfortable with a shovel also and digging trenches.

Yes, the work is hard but the people in Quizarra, the small town we are spending our first two weeks, are absolutely amazing. They are so welcoming and warm that it´s hard not to fall in love with the families we are staying with, and the food is great. Our new host mom´s soul purpose in life is to keep us nice and plump, and with all the rice and beans we eat morning, afternoon and night it seems to be working.

As for Lupita´s traveling pants . . . there was a slight glimpse of hope when Lupita got of the plane and the first words she heard was a man yelling for Carlos, but that soon ended when the love of her life was nowhere to be found. As for Bri, Ricardo, the large, okay fat, cross-eyed tico nieghbor asked the first day of work if he could have her.

We´ve got one more week of hard manual labor ahead of us, with a day of old school roller blading to eminem and michael jackson thrown in there. Leaving Quizarra will be bitter sweet for sure. Not having to dig trenches in the blazing costa rican sun is definetley something we will not miss, but we know we will miss the community and the love they have shown us.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Pre-Trip Preparations

Mosquito nets...CHECK
Pants that the legs zip off to become shorts...CHECK
Liquid Butt medicine...CHECK
Book (How NOT to become a sex slave for dummies)...CHECK
Retard friendly compass...CHECK

Where we are going:

We will be stationed in a small remote village called Quizarra. From what we understand there are about 340 people living there. We will be guests in the homes of the villagers. Locals say that it is dangerous to walk outside after dark, take a light to avoid stepping on the snakes. (kind of like walking into room of Returned Missionaries). For jobs will be machete wielding farmers.

Dining on rice and beans (and the occasional cabbage soup) will help us keep our girlish figures. Thank goodness there are no peanut M&M's to be had in the area. No technology is available within an hours drive by bus. No texting, no e-mails, no cell phones. HALLELUJAH!!!!

If we manage to avoid the slave traders, survive plague and famine, we are off to Rio Pacuare to ride the big, huge, monsterous "we could die" rapids. Lodging will be jungle lodges with hammocks.

Amber will silently be on the lookout to find a Carlos "man of love" to get her taste of latin drizzle. You may remember her Paris romance with a dread-locked drunk Jamaican last summer. She has set a goal of traveling the globe in search of exotic men and lasting memories. Sisterhood of Ambers traveling pants.

Briaunna's main goal will be to survive the trip on the hard-earned $100 bucks she has managed to work and save over the last year. This could mean no showers for 6 weeks (1 week longer than her current record) Fortunately she has been in "granola" training this last year by passing up to 5 weeks at a time without a cleansing drop of water touching her.

We will be posting entries telling of our travels as often as we can on this Jungle Love Tour. For the rest of this blog and trip we will be going by our latin code names of Lupita (Amber) & Juanita (Bri).

Stay green...hasta la vista. L&J