I should have been taking all my classes in Samara, it was much more pleasant than Heredia. I stayed in the home of Ana Castro, who was a cook at a high-end restaurant, and her son Alfonso. My room was on the lower level of the house and had its own bathroom and a semi-private entrance, so I had much more privacy than during my home-stay in Heredia. Also, Ana was an excellent cook. I took four more weeks of classes, which meant a few hours of class Monday through Friday, hanging around the beach during low tide, renting a very long surfboard and trying to surf during high tide (the only time the waves were big enough), and spending quality time at Lagartos, a beach bar, in the evening. If you are interested in learning Spanish I highly recommend this approach. After four arduous weeks of classes I decided to stay two more weeks without classes.
There isn't much to write about during this stay other than the described routine. There were a few moments of mild excitement; there were two earthquakes on January 31, a 4.8 and a 5.0 on the Richter scale; Samara was only a few miles from the epicenters. The house was shaken a little, but no damage. A skunk wandered into my bedroom while I was studying with the door open one night, he left without making a stink. And on another night a tarantula wandered into Alfonso's bedroom, which was adjacent to mine. He chased it with a shoe out of his bedroom and into mine, where he killed it. I learned that a tarantula can move very, very fast when it is motivated.
Here are some beach shots of Samara, starting with a composite picture of the bay as seen from the south end. It being a composite messes up the perspective, but I wanted to give some sense of Samara in its entirety. After that are a couple of bay and beach pictures that are not composites, then a picture of the reef that protects Samara from rough seas. The reef made the waves in Samara nice and mellow; during high tides the waves would get big enough for low level surfing, making it a good place to learn, during low tide waves are almost non-existent and Samara is an easy swimming beach. The last two sand pictures were taken during low tide:
The next few pictures are of Lagartos; the bar as seen from the beach and the beach as seen from the bar. The easiest way to get to Lagartos is by the beach, the third picture shows the traffic problems encountered when driving there:
The last two pictures were taken my last evening in Samara; the first is of Jessie, the Canadian bartender, between the two co-owners. Jessie is a personable and interesting young woman, 18 at the time, who made my list of favorite bartenders. The last picture is of Jessie, one of the owners, and Jessie's roommate, also from Canada, who's name I can't remember. If you really need to know you can probably find her and/or Jessie at Lagartos in Samara this winter. Costa Rica is very popular with Canadians during the winter months:
On February 24 I reluctantly decided to leave Samara. I wanted to visit Montezuma next, just a short distance south of Samara on the Nicoya peninsula, but to get there from Samara would have involved a complicated series of short bus trips, with no guarantee I could make all the connections in one day, so I returned to San Jose.