With Christmas done and dusted, new year out of the way and winter closing in, there seemed only one thing to do...Head for the sun and learn some Spanish!! Within a week of thinking about it I was on a plane to Costa Rica and booked into the 'Intercultura Language School' on Samara beach...and I mean right next to the beach!! thar it is below.

My first view from a hostel balcony just a few km from the airport This is a bit more like it!!....Samara beach
January 7th, 2006. Mad 18 hour Iberian flight with stopovers in Madrid and Guatemala City. dodgy service with the kind of laid back attitude that the Spanish like to give. hope they didn't apply the same to maintainance of the plane.... Met an eccentric ex-diplomat woman on the way to Spain and an eccentric dutchman on the way to Costa Rica...was it an omen? Someone was supposed to meet me at the airport but didn't so I went with some lad to a grotty little homestay near the airport. Luckily I had my bag. Some Austrians staying at the same place didn't have any thanks to American airlines. Lost my Lonely planet book the next day...how?
I know not but did make the bus for the 5 hour haul. There was a whole bunch of new Intercultura students making the same trip so I was not alone...
My hotel was better than I could have hoped for.....pool, air-con and about 500 channels of shit on the TV to choose from. Got put into a high intermediate class which must have been shum kinda mishtake as my Spanish is crap...or "sucks" as the Americans(who dominate the foreign community) would say.

Iguanas creeping around, parrots in the sky, palm trees and a pool. Not a bad choice of residence!
My girls on the beach!!
Fay, a Filipino American, Dana, my future neighbour and Michelle the babe who brought three large suitcases with her, thirteen pairs of shoes and luckily had me to help her get the stuff off the bus from San Jose.

Marks Journal

The school is right next to the beach...in fact I can see it from my classroom window. My teacher is Columbian and is nice though I'm not sure about the volume of homework coming my way. The number of babes is limited but apparently school numbers double after the first week. I am impressed with the wildlife; Iguanas in the hotel garden, Lori's flying noisily by and various other squawky things. Didn't manage to get a night out till the first thursday which was a graduation ceremony in a bar and turned into a full scale piss up. I discovered I was not the only Englishman in the village as there was a scouser keeping a low profile at one end of the bar. Got completely hammered and didn't make it to school the next day as I was hungover...It was also the day to set off for a weekend trip and I didn't exactly feel up for it....
Columbian teacher "Maria" Imperial beer Scouse Andy
Delayed by cattle and fords, we still came across some fantastic beaches like the one above. Checked into the hotel below and crashed out on one of the hammocks!

Marks Journal

Good trip. The roads were shocking, all unsurfaced, riddled with potholes and all rivers had to be forded. Montezuma, however was a cool chilled out beach place. We went snorkelling which was good fun but not that impressive in terms of volumes of fish. The guide did catch a puffer fish which looked totally unreal. On the way back we saw Dolphins and then about 5 boats chased them over the seas for about half an hour. We fed "Urracas"(a kind of parakeet) at the breakfast table, and then went to a waterfall where our action man tour guide dived in off a very high rock...
With my snorkel and flippers! Me on Turtle island
Tour guide caught mid-air....roll mouse over for a close-up!

Marks Journal

Class the following week was much better as I went down a couple of levels and re-studied the "past-imperfect"....yeah, whatever. Spent most of the time hanging out with American girls, Dana and Michelle. We had an all day drinking sesh with Anthony(other English guy) and Suzanne(Dutch girl) which was kinda fun. Went to a casino and lost loadsamoney and worked on my tan. Got drunk again on the Thursday but managed to stagger in for the second part of class on Friday morning which was a complete waste of time. I have never been so bored in my life as my teacher droned on about the politics of Columbia. A fine topic indeed but not for my level of Spanish!
In the casino piss up in the pub!
Another reminder of Samara beach....try to ignore the rubbish dumped under the tree!!
So what more could possibly happen over the next two weeks...will the rubbish get cleared up?
Will the guy's get drunk again? Will Mark become a nutty shade of brown and "tanner" than Dana?

Click here for part 2