Celebration of Independence Day

The past two days had been exhausting but definitely exciting! It was a last minute decision to go to San Jose with Ani to settle the extension visa. I was hoping I didn’t have to do it but it was inevitable. A boat ride and two bus rides which lasted about five hours, we reached San Jose. It was almost 12pm when we got to the immigration office and no number was given after 12pm. Fortunately Laura, whom Ani spoke to on the phone, was kind enough to give us both an exception. I had to pay $98, in addition of $100. I’m return, they gave me a tourist ID card which looks nicer than my MY card! Ani applied for hers too. While waiting for Ani’s turn, I couldn’t help but noticed the traditional clothes and flags hanging on every corner of the wall. Then it struck me that we were invited by the school to join in the celebration of Independence Day – walking around the town with a lantern. I hoped we would be able to settle it in one day and rush back to Tortuguero the next day for the celebratuon, which we did!

We stayed a night at Pension de la Cuesta, owned by a Taiwanese. It was a delight to see Chinese again. There was also an American tourist @ 坏蛋 who claimed himself a hard boiled egg (white outside but Chinese inside) and speaks fair Chinese. He walked us to the bank. Ani and I had dinner at KFC, churros for dessert and hurriedly walked back the hostel as it was getting dark. I was real exhausted but the urge to go online was stronger. We both ended up in front of the computers. Jolin, also from Taiwan but teaches Chinese at Honduras, joined us. She explained how dangerous it is at Honduras. We didn’t stay long as I wanted to get ample sleep!

We all had breakfast together, took some photos and said goodbye. Ani and I managed to reach CCC office in time by taxi but it was real funny. We walked to an ATM just to find out it didn’t work, caught a taxi and Ani realised she still had the room key to the hostel! We walked back to return it and she dropped her hairband (yes, again!). Everything was chaos but we were definitely not late! We were lucky as they deliver food to Tortuguero on Wed so we got a free ride until La Pavona. Juan was already there with the boat to pick the food and us up! For once, no wearing life jacket on the boat and it felt good!

The plan was to shower and sleep after lunch. However, I was told about making a lantern for the celebration. I spent the whole evening with the rest making one. While waiting for the paint to dry, we went to town for some snacks. By 6pm we were all ready with a lantern. We joined the school children and it was a good experience. I already noticed at San Jose that the way they hold the lantern is different. Here, it is like holding a torch (like the one in Olympic Game) and we carry the lantern with a stick instead. It was fun to make my own lanrern! Two days before, it was the mooncake festival – full moon but no mooncake and lantern. Hence, carrying a lantern around this small town kind of made up to it. I believe we all enjoyed the occasion. Since a few of us had the night off, we went for dessert at Villa Ginger. The strawberry milkshake was the best I ever had!

I was really sleepy when we got back. A quick shower and a bit of net surfing, I went to bed and slept for almost 13 hours (dreamed a lot too)!

Photos by Giuliana Shroeder

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