by Becca Hurliman
As a continuation of last Friday’s post, I am answering the question “What do you do here?” with active pursuits in mind.
In the small town of Potrero, there are definitely no bookstores to browse through, coffee shops to pass the hours at, or museums to wander around. No concerts, no shows of any sort, and a lovely but quite limited selection of restaurants and bars. So what is there to do in Potrero?
1. Beach Time (it is Costa Rica, after all!)
In Potrero, there are more than a handful of beaches within walking distance – all of them beautiful in their own way. Playa Penca is a favorite: easily accessible, often empty, and the perfect place to watch the sunset. I am quite fond of the late afternoon hours at Penca, when the sun is not so scorching and I can leave feeling refreshed instead of sun-dried and parched. Playa Prieta is a small beach with shade, perfect for long lazy afternoons and (watching) some skimboarding.
2. Yoga in nearby Surfside
On Saturdays I like to roll up my dirt-covered yoga mat (it will never be as clean as it once was after a dry season in Potrero) and head off to Bahia del Sol, a half hour walk away along Playa Potrero. It is there under the palapa, to the rhythm of Colleen’s voice and my breathing, that I find my energy. Afterwards, perhaps a stop at the nearby fruit stand or some banana pancakes and coffee at The Shack along with some friendly conversation with the waitress or owner, and my weekend is off to an excellent start.
I’m not a fast reader. That being said, I am making my way through some good books. I read La Nacion, the nation’s main newspaper, to get the scoop on what’s happening around Costa Rica. I read my dictionary and verb book, slowly but surely improving my Spanish. My favorite reads are messages sent from friends via the magical internet – words from another home that help keep me up-to-date on a life that feels quite distant some days.
There are two times of day to run: early in the morning or at sunset. At sunset, and when I’m feeling ambitious, I run along the road to Las Catalinas – a road with many ups and downs that feels like the setting I used when I ran on a treadmill, only the road feels more real. The mornings I wake up early with the need to get going I head to Playa Potrero, where I jog to Surfside in the low tide. If I start too late, the sun feels more oppressive than life-giving, but a morning run on the beach can’t ever feel too bad.
In recent weeks zumba has become a standard part of my Tuesday and Thursday evenings. As soon as I walk out my door, I can hear those latin beats bumping on the other side of town. Who can resist it? Taught as part of our Women’s Empowerment program, zumba classes are a great way to end the day (in a puddle of sweat) with some lovely local ladies.
6. Whatever comes up (there is something to be said about the culture and not planning ahead)
This may mean buying a snack and sitting at one of the three tables near the plaza, waiting to see who walks by first. It mostly means making a scrumptious dinner with volunteers and interns, baking banana bread to enjoy our abundance of tropical fruits, dancing at Brisas, sitting on the fence at the annual fiestas to see the finest bull riding Guanacaste has to offer, watching a movie, stopping by the women’s office to chat, playing an impromptu game of monkey-in-the-middle with some kids, watching a soccer game or practice, the occasional afternoon on a catamaran with fellow AMers, helping a young student with difficult homework, talking for hours with chatty students, treating myself to delicious gelato, weekend trips to nearby parks or towns, or simply sipping coffee on a friend’s porch.
Potrero may not offer a fast-paced life, but it does offer a full life!