A Travellerspoint blog

January 2003

Cabin in the mountains

Database work in Norway

semi-overcast -3 °C
View Norway January 2003 on Sam I Am's travel map.

Went skiing over the weekend and stayed at a wonderful rustique cabin. My mother would have loved it! Maybe except for the fact that there was no running water but still...

It was in the Telemarken area, a place called Øyfjell...or something like that, the spelling here is killing me!... There was not a sound to be heard at night. Really wonderfully peaceful!

After some initial problems getting the car stuck in the snow it was a great weekend away and to be skiing again was a lot of fun. Not quite the French Alps but good enough for an afternoon session!

This week, work, work, work.... so not much special. Although I am going to a musical which is probably a first! My Fair Lady and it is the premiere so some celebs (none of whom I will recognize I am sure) will be around. Free tickets of course....

Till the next time.....

Posted by Sam I Am 00:00 Archived in Norway Tagged business_travel Comments (0)

What a contrast

Database work in Norway

sunny -3 °C
View Norway January 2003 on Sam I Am's travel map.

What a contrast with the last time I was entering information into this diary... from the hot sunny shores of Costa Rica to the cold inner city of Oslo!

Just thought I would let all of you know I arrived safe and sound. Margit picked me up at the airport and it was straight off to Noahs (the cafe around the corner) for lunch. After a sleep in today, it is time to focus on work.

Take care!

Sam

Posted by Sam I Am 00:00 Archived in Norway Tagged business_travel Comments (0)

The last days in Costa Rica.... from Holland (part 2)

Costa Rica trip 2002-2003

overcast -5 °C
View Costa Rica December 2002/January 2003 on Sam I Am's travel map.

From where I left you off...

The next day saw us get on the bus to Rio Sierpe, in the south of Costa Rica. What was supposed to be a 5 hour bus ride, ended up being a 7 hour ride because we had to stop for the Tour de Costa Rica (not quite the Tour de France) but hey... Our bus driver must have thought he could make up for the lost time in the last 100 kms so we ended up barreling down winding mountain roads at a good 130 kms/hour... the speed limit was 80... speaking of scary experiences! All is well that ends well and we arrived in Palmar Norte for our van/boat ride to the Rio Sierpe Lodge owned by Mike, an American turned Costa Rican.

What a great place. Located on the river, with nothing around, it was the perfect place to spend our last three days. We had wonderful dinners with Mike and the other guests (go figure, all other guests were Dutch!) at his long table and sat and talked till Mike decided it was time to switch off the generator. This was no later than 9 leaving nothing but stars to light up the sky. For watching stars, this is the place to be with literally millions of stars that aren't visible in most countries due to light polution twinkling all over the heavens.

The next days were spent hiking, snorkelling and swimming at nearby mangroves and beaches. One of our best experiences was on our second to last day returning from the beach. Heading over full see, we spotted dark fins popping out of the water so we headed towards them. Sure enough, a school of about 20-30 pilot whales were all around us. Great picture taking time and marvellous to see all these mammals of the sea in the wild. After our boat driver jumped in, Luc felt he couldn't stay behind and went overboard to witness a pilot whale just 2 or 3 meters from his face. This face was probably the reason the pilot whales decided to dive (sorry Luc :)) and after about 10 minutes of enjoying them, they were gone as quickly as they came. A wonderful experience and a great icing on the cake!

The 31st saw us heading back to San Jose where we stayed at Costa Rica Backpackers and celebrated New Years in El Pueblo. Confetti, crazy hats and whistles were everywhere and it was certainly one of the funnest midnights I have ever experienced!

The 1st of January saw our final day in Costa Rica... sad but true. To go out in style, albeit American style and not Costa Rican, we visited Denny's for American, French and Farmer slams.... it was my first Denny's visit in 5 years and a good one.

As flights with Martinair go, the service was bad (although I hear it is better than on American airlines), not enough sleep, terrible food and bad movies. But hey, we had just spent three weeks in Costa Rica, so we weren't complaining...

Untill the next trip, that's it for me.... hope you all enjoyed reading the diaries! Thank you to Luc, David, Niels and Jeroen for a great holiday. Although not quite backpackers, guess we aren't quite tourists either! ;)

Take care and happy travels!

Adding a cool map of this trip on 04 December 2006

Posted by Sam I Am 00:00 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

The last days in Costa Rica.... from Holland (part 1)

Costa Rica trip 2002-2003

overcast -5 °C
View Costa Rica December 2002/January 2003 on Sam I Am's travel map.

Well, it is overcast and cold (a little snow) in Holland.... not a good combination by any measure and especially not after getting back from sunny Costa Rica.

Last time I left you off was in San Jose after a long day of travelling and with all of us except Lucas geared up to go rafting on the Paguera. Now, that turned out to be a day to remember!

It started off beautifully, sunny and bright promising to be a great day on the river. With rain having fallen the night before, the river was up and the rapids were looking exciting and fun. The section of the Paguera we were about to do was registered as grade 3 and 4, highest grade rapids raftable I have been told are 5, so this was going to be good. Of course, it was also the most expensive day activity we had done in Costa Rica so it had better be worth the money!

The four of us and our guide, we'll just call him Pepe for good measure, set off down the river enjoying the beautiful nature and pristine environment we were rafting through. As already spoilt nature observers of Costa Rica we were still impressed by the beautiful countryside we were passing through and spirits were high.

About 10 kms (out of 30) down the river, we were approaching the most dangerous rapid of the river, a grade four. Of course we didn't know this at the time but we were soon to find out. What happened in the next minutes was so quick that recollection is tricky. Approaching the rapid, Pepe told us to paddle hard, we were to pass a big rock in the middle of the rapid on the right at all costs.... well, we paddled a little too hard (Pepe blamed us:)) and took the rock over the left hand side....first problem. The force of the river pushed us on the rock and there we were stuck in the middle of the rapid. No problem, a little highsiding on the left was sure to help this problem... and it did, but a little quicker than our guide had figured on. Within 2 seconds, we were dislodged and smacked on the next rock down the rapid, this time the full force of the rapid was pushing against this rock and there we went. With we I mean David, Jeroen and myself. Niels and Pepe managed to hang on in the back of the raft, the 1/6th of it that was still above water. With the rest of the raft pushed under water it was no surprise we were lifted out either.

David had a fairly easy ride down the rapid and managed to scramble on to a rock in safety. My ride was a little bumpier, getting recycled in some deep holes a few times on the way down. For those of you who don't know, recycling is where you get pushed under water in holes untill the force of the water against the bottom pushes you back up again. If you are lucky, you get pushed out, if not.... you get recycled... again and again and again. Problem is you don't have time to breath in the short moments you are above water and if you don't know what is going on, it can be a frightening experience. This is exactly the experience Jeroen had! He hit the biggest hole in the rapid and while trying to fight it (apparently this is not smart but we only found this out afterwards) got recycled for a good half a minute; not that long but enough to make him think he was going to die in the whirling waters of the Paguera. Of course I wouldn't be writing like this if that had really happened and sure enough, he got pushed out and further down the river I managed to get a paddle to him and pull him out. Missing one shoe and his paddle, the only words he could manage were "thank you Sam, thank you Sam". Looking back it was hilarious though at the time we were not laughing... I think it is Jeroen's last time in a raft, so next to diving I guess the only watersport he will still tackle is swimming.... You will understand that back at the hotel that evening Luc was happy to hear that he didn't go along and further haphazard his neck!

To be continued... see part 2

Posted by Sam I Am 00:00 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

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