Costa Rica – Day Nine

Wednesday, August 11

We, the Britons, arose with excitement to embark on the last day of our journey.

We started with a good breakfast and loaded the bus with our driver, Minor, and our new strapping Costa Rican tour guide, Roberto.  He did a very good job informing us about the history of the city (San Jose) as we drove to our first destination – the flea market.  Roberto showed us a variety of things: beautiful churches, significant parks, important government buildings, theatres, museums, and his and Ana’s own university.

We arrived at the flea market with the hustle and bustle of the vendors, holding our purses close.  We scampered about with our US dollars and Colones, bargaining for souvenirs for family, friends and even ourselves.  The vendors were very persistent with their sales and informed us multiple times of their “handmade, handmade, yes I make them handmade” merchandise.

While most of us were shopping for deals at the flea market, Christian, Mills and Kathy spent some quality time at the U.S. Embassy, happily getting their new passports.  They met us at the market and then we all left with empty wallets, full bags and hungry bellies.  We headed back to the hotel for yet another great lunch.

After lunch we had some free time to mentally and physically prepare (or nap) for our match.

We loaded the Marvi and headed out to our final match.  To no one’s surprise it was raining yet again – for the third game in a row.

We faced a strong Costa Rican team, Arenal, some of whom have played at the national level.  The first half was highly competitive and we went into the second half trailing 1-0.  Arenal proved their talent in the second half by scoring an additional 4 goals.  Despite our loss, we enjoyed the challenge and will use the learning experience to our advantage as we prepare for the upcoming season.

Back at the hotel, our team showered and got ready for our evening out on the town at the local Tony Roma’s restaurant.  We enjoyed salads, sandwiches, and pasta dishes as we reminisced about the past 9 days.  Our main man Roberto joined us as we captured the fun in numerous photos.  We concluded our final evening back at the hotel with some quality team bonding time.

As the saying goes “we are sad to have it be over but we will smile because it happened.” :)

- Sarah and Mary

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Costa Rica – Day Eight

Tuesday, August 10th -

Early Tuesday morning, half the team felt spontaneous enough to wake up at 5:15 am to watch the sunrise from the beach. They took beautiful pictures and also met the pool cleaner who introduced them to his pet iguana. The iguana was very friendly to Sarah Polnasek who he peed on.

Before breakfast the whole team met with our purple attire to have a photo shoot on the beach. We took a lot of pictures as a team, everyone contributing their ideas for team shots. Many frameable pictures were taken! Also, our favorite beach bracelet sellers had completed our purple and yellow bracelets which we all put on right away.

We quickly enjoyed our last breakfast at the Flamingo Resort, packed our bags, and enjoyed the last hours at the pool under the sun. Sadly we had to say goodbye to the boys’ team that had just arrived - Polnasek was the saddest to leave them. We thoroughly enjoyed our “beach days”‘ at the Flamingo Resort and the weather was great for our tans.

Once again we boarded our bright orange turismo bus – ready for our seven hour bus ride back to San Jose for our last two nights. After two hours on the road we stopped for lunch at a little restaurant that served us chicken and potatoes. The team was not surprised when we came back to the bus to find that it had a flat tire, and poor Minor, our bus driver, had to change it. While we waited we took pictures with a large T-Rex and his babies. The seniors of course found the playground and took awesome pictures on the monkey bars. There was a small shop that some girls bought souvenirs in. Soon the team was on our way again – this time to a mall!

Once we were in the mall we split off into groups to shop til we dropped. Saprissa jerseys that are purple and orange were our main goal, and we succeeded in finding some! However, Stetser and Beattie had their eye on a different prize – Pizza Hut! Soon the whole team was gathered in the food court eating an array of different American foods: Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, and Taco Bell. After enjoying more than two slices of pizza, we headed off to the hotel, an “hour” long ride that took five minutes.

Arriving at the hotel, we found our final rooms and met for dinner after a long day in the bus. The team enjoyed our last meal with our favorite tour guide - Ana. She was leaving to go back to college so we said our goodbyes and gave her a signed soccer ball by the team and three sweet Albion shirts for her to wear and remember us. Ana teared up as she told us we were her favorite group and she was so happy to be with us for the week. Some of the team met her boyfriend, who we watched play soccer on TV a few days before. He is even cuter in person – lucky girl! We will miss Ana so much, but facebook will keep us in touch.

It was a relaxing night for us. Some of us did laundry, and most of us spent a good amount of time in the hot tub. The bubbles were getting a little intense for us, but we had some communication barriers with the other people in the hot tub so we weren’t able to stop them. With all the excitement of the day, we ended with an early night’s sleep to prepare for our last full day in Costa Rica.

Love, the two best friends that anyone could have…Beattie and Stets

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Costa Rica – Day Seven

Monday, August 9th – A poem

Day 7 was lots of fun, we started it off in the sun

Breakfast was served at 8, thank God no one was late

There was time before training, good thing it wasn’t raining

We all worked on our tan, and played out in the sand

We got suited up in our purple and white, and went for a long run under the hot sunlight

After sprints and other stuff, we did abs and push-ups so we can be buff

We jumped in the water to cool down, then we took a walk into town

They served a delicious lunch, it was chicken and pasta so we all had a bunch

Then we went for a swim, though the weather was starting to look dim

It rained quite a bit, but that won’t make us quit

Time for training number two, there ain’t nothing we can’t do

We did some plyos while watching the sun go down, we know after these workouts we’ll be the best team around

Dinner wasn’t that great, but we all had a full plate

We all hung out for the night – oh man, wasn’t that a sight

We are all sad to leave the beach resort, it was fun but way too short

Only a few more days left here, we’ll live it up, have no fear

Pura Vida! – Hannah and Alyssa

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Costa Rica – Day Six

Sunday, August 8th – Since we arrived in Costa Rica, every day has been packed with training, games, traveling, and touring.  The days seemed to last forever with all that we had planned.  So it is such a surprise that today marks the second half of our trip.  The days have become irrelevant in our exploration of this beautiful country.

We started the days with an early 7am wake up call for breakfast.  However, we had to eat light because we had training on the beach at 9am.  When we arrived at the beach, we did a ten minute warm up job down the sand, it was refreshing hearing the waves crash and looking out into the beautiful ocean.  Next we split up into groups and ran for twenty minutes. One group ended up running up some hills that led to beautiful scenery looking out over the ocean.  Other groups ran on the road and saw a lot of crabs during their run.  By the end, we all met up at the entrance of the beach and went down to work on some sprints. The sprint workout was intense after our run but much needed to prepare for the upcoming season.

After the beach training, we went to the pool to do an hour water work out ran by Ange.  Everyone had a lot of fun doing the leg lifts and punching under water, and said that they really felt the “burn”. We even did some sit ups on the edge of the pool, but Beck ended up going all the way under and we had to wait for her to finish before we could move on.  Everyone stood around laughing and didn’t want to tell her she was doing it wrong lol. Steph Beattie was having to tred water basically the entire workout because she so little, she had to focus on not drowwning the entire time which was somewhat comical. Finally, we ended up sprinting in place under water and some of the girls were invisioning papa johns pizza as a motivation factor to complete the workout.

We finished around 11am, and had free time before our 1pm lunch.  Most of the girls ran out to enjoy the beautiful beach weather, while the rest of us changed into our swim suites and jumped in the pool.  Once everyone was together, we even took some cute team photos in the wading pool.  Overall, we just took advantage of the beautiful Costa Rican weather before lunch.

After lunch, we still had more free time before our shopping trip, and of course spent it on the beach and in the pool.  However, it ended up raining really quick, so we went in side to prepare for our shopping trip.  By 2:30 all of the team was ready to head out to Tamarindo, a smaller town with a long road filled with stores.  It took about 30 minutes to get to the town.

Once we arrived, everyone split up to check out the stores.  Many of them were smaller and filled with hand made items, such as pots and painted feathers and other unique Costa Rican art.  They also had surf shops (which included some very cute locals) and many wood work items.  As we started walking around shopping, it suddenly started to ran and caused us all to run inside.  It was pouring rain for about twenty minutes, and when Stetser attempted to rush across the street through the storm, she unfortunately didn’t make it and slipped right as she hit the tiled path.  Although she ended up not getting hurt, she did happen to fall right in front of coach, so her pride was slightly bruised.  However, we all got a good laugh out of it, so it was a highlight of the shopping day.

When we ended our shopping trip, all of the team wanted to go and get ice cream, so we walked down the strip to the ice cream shop.  We compared all of our shopping prizes, and many of the team got cute wood plaques that said “Pura Vida”, as well as t-shirts and other gifts for family and friends.  As we walked, the ice cream store ended up being closed, so we got a chance to shop some more until our bus arrived.  Christian was able to purchase a cute seat hammock that she saw Stetser buy earlier before they left. Many of the girls bought unique headbands including Mal’s bright lime green one that will soon be used throughout the season. On the bus ride back to the hotel many of us took pictures with our favorite individual purchase, all laughing and carrying on in the back of the bus.

When we arrived back at the hotel, we ended up having about an hour before dinner, but it still was raining out.  Most of the girls relaxed in their room and made plans for the night, so after dinner the team got ready and headed down to a room to meet up and hang out.  We hung out in one of the rooms dancing around and singing to beck’s ipod player for about an hour until everyone arrived, than we decided to go out to the recreation pool to play some water volleyball.  Everyone ended up jumping in, including Ana, so it was a large game of 7 v 7.

Right away volleyball became intense, with a quick team meeting and a lot of fun trash talk.  It was competitive, though we never ended up keeping score, because in the end it was just for the fun of the game.  Because Ana was there, often we would start our sentences with “Como se dice…” and then the word in english we wanted to know, such as how to say “time out” in Spanish.  After awhile though, one of the girls pointed out that we could easily speak in English, and we all just started laughing.  We also ended up using a shallow ledge for a taller advantage, and when Mills attempted to hit it, both times she ended up missing the ball and falling into the pool. Beck rocked out with the “Hip and Hook ’93″ hat all not which was quite funny to watch. Z didn’t feel like getting in the water that night so she became the photographer the entire game which worked out great because we got some really good photos of the night.

The teams worked hard to distract each other through splashing across the net, and heckling the other team.  But in the end, we had a lot of fun until we lost the ball in the woods.  When Alyssa ended up getting up to go get it, she slipped and sliced her toe open, so we ended up calling the game and heading back to our rooms.  Though it ended on a down note, we all agreed that the night of volleyball was a lot of fun and a great experience with all of the team.  It was an awesome change of pace from practicing, and a relaxing finish to a fantastic day.

- Beck and Christian

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Costa Rica – Day Five

Saturday, August 7th – Today was a travel day, so we were up by 7am to eat breakfast and on the road by 8am.  It was a four hour bus ride to Guanacaste, on which we stopped because a cow decided to take a stroll across the road.  Once it reached the other side, we were on the road again.  Later on, we stopped again because our bus driver, Minor, spotted monkeys in the trees.  We all got off the bus for a few minutes to take pictures of “los monos”.  After these few stops, we finally made it to the Flamingo Hotel.  We were all amazed by the breathtaking views and beautiful hotel.  We all went to our rooms and met back up for lunch.  The food was delicious!!

After lunch we had our first beach workout.  We jogged along the shore to warm-up and then we did sprints and abs in the sand.  After practice, some of the girls went swimming in the ocean.  Later on we showered and went to dinner.  Then, we had some downtime and everyone got ready to go out. 

We called a van to ttake us to Aqua, a club in the town of Tamarindo.  The van was late so we played charades while were were waiting.  When the van finally came, we sang all the way into town.  The driver decided to join in and tried to teach us La Bamba and other songs in Spanish.  When we got to the club, no one was really dancing, but we decided to just dance by ourselves anyway.  After a while, other people joined us on the dance floor.  The DJ played old-school American jams and we were the only ones who knew the words.  After a couple of hours, we headed back to the hotel for bedtime.

Pura Vida! – Z & Eckler

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Costa Rica – Day Four

Friday, August 6th – Due to the adventurous activities of the previous night, we were granted an extra hour of sleep.  Though still a tad bit tired, we all promptly got out of bed and made it to breakfast by 8am where we were given a buffet of tomatoes, sausage, omelets, plantains and more.  In addition to great food, we also observed our first foreign wildlife of the trip, an assortment of iguanas.  There were iguanas in the trees, in the grass and right next to the open dining area.  Due to our late start, our river guide Gerald from Wave Expeditions met us at the hotel to ride with us over to the site of whitewater rafting, the Rio Toro.  On the way to the river, we passed through cities, farms and forests filled with many cows and random plants.  We essentially had to go off-roading in our bus in order to reach our site.  Once we arrived, we walked about 100 meters to find the rest of the tour guides and equipment waiting for us.  It was then that we became acquainted with our other 2 guides, Abel and Johnny.  After getting geared up, we set up and loaded into the rafts.  We separated our team into 3 mini groups, one for each raft, and each went through a mini training session with our guides.  During the session, we were taught the commands of the river and how to work as one.  We practiced moving forward, backwards and getting down.  Once we passed our training, we headed downstream.  Mallory, Sam, Z, Christian and our soccer guide Ana started off by leading the pack down the river.  They consistenly kept the lead the entire trip and were named the rescue boat due to their abillity to retrieve paddles and shoes from other boats.  Angela, Mary, Sarah, Stets, Beck and Beattie were next down the rapids.  Right after we passed the 1st rapid, the senior boat stopped to to wait for the boats filled with other tourists.  As this boat rushed down the rapids, they hit the rock wall and 3 of their members were flown off the raft.  Our guide then had to throw our safety rope out to one of the floating women and pull her to the safety of our raft.  This instilled a little bit of fear in us and we realized that we had to take the paddling seriously.  The next boat filled with Eckler, Mills, Alyssa, Rachel and Coach was the first to experience the international whitewater position when Mills flipped over the edge.  She proceeded to lay on her back with her feet facing forward when Gerald and Coach lifted her by the straps of her lifejacket to pull her into the boat.  After continuing downstream, Sarah Polnasek took a quick dip in the same rapids that knocked Rachel and Alyssa around, causing Rachel to continue downstream and Alyssa to be momentarily lost.  Alyssa’s feet were spotted sticking out from under the boat, but her head could not be found.  The rest of the boat paddled vigourously to release her and she popped up gasping for air.  As if this wasn’t exciting enough, one of the other boats attempted to dodge Alyssa’s boat and headed straight for a low overhanging tree.  This tree clotheslined the entire raft and knocked everyone into the rapids sending shoes and paddles everywhere. 

Once everyone was safely in their rafts again, we spotted more wildlife – Abel pointed out some monkeys in a tree.  Only some of the team was able to see the monkeys and others refused to paddle until they did.  Gerald screams “Forward! Forward!” and Beck replies “I don’t care!”.  After that incident we were all in need of a break and arrived at our midway stop.  The guides quickly flipped a raft onto the shore.  It was then that they pulled out their safety knives and cut up watermelon and pineapple, using the raft as their personal cutting board.  After we enjoyed the fruit, one of the guides decided to start throwing fruit which evolved into a full on fruit fight.  Once the fruit was gone we used the shells of the watermelon as skipping stones.  Some of us wanted to be one with nature and decided to turn the rainforest into their toliet facility.  We then packed up our gear and headed further downstream.

During one of the many level 4 rapids that we went through, Stetser slipped off the side of the raft but was quickly picked up by Gerald.  Towards the end of the voyage it began to thunder and lightning which wasn’t out of the ordinary since it is the rainy season.  Once we made it to the end, Alyssa decided that she hadn’t had enough of the water and proceeded to float downstream once more, this time without any boats and kayaks ahead of her.  This put her competitive swimming experience to the test as she had to swim upshore.  We all headed to lunch after that with our guides and the other tourists.  We were extremely tired from the great workout so the food tasted great!  We ate at a place called Rancho Tonos and had our choice of chicken, beef or fish.  We also had rice, black beans, pasta salad and fried plantains.  After lunch we headed back to the hotel and made a quick stop at the Super Market to pick up a few snacks for later.  Once arriving back at the hotel, we had a two-hour break before the hot springs in which most of us decided to take a nap.

Around 6pm we all boarded the bus to begin our journey to the hot springs.  Once there we were greeted by a fat latina statue (huge!!) at the entrance.  We placed our stuff in the lockers and a majority of us headed to the waterslide.  On the walk there, we passed multiple pools, some of them included swim-up bars.  After about an hour of walking around and being challenged by three different waterslides (short, fast, slow), we headed to the Mayan pyramid for dinner.

Dinner consisted of a buffet including asparagus soup, rice and beans, chicken, pasta, beef, salad, sausage, fruit and a chocolate fountain.  As we enjoyed our feast, we discussed what each of us had imagined the hot springs would be.  While most of us thought that it was going to consist of natural water pools built into the rocks outside the volcano, Rachel believed that the pools were actually on the inside of the volcano.  :)  During the discussion, we all heard a loud boom that sounded similar to thunder.  This sound was so loud that we all looked around to see bright red colors in the sky (it was dark already).  Most of us originally thought there were fireworks in the sky, but quickly realized that the color we saw saw was actually hot lava from the volcano.  We weren’t sure whether we should start running or not, but then the server informed us that this event happend about once every month.  We joked and called it a volcano burp but the thoughts of hot lava were still in the backs of our heads.

After dinner we still had about 2 hours to enjoy the pools before closing time.  During this time, we attempted to go to every single pool, all of which had different temperatures.  There was even a pool that was 152 degrees, but of course no one was swimming in that one.  Most pools had waterfalls, lounge chairs and bar stools which we really enjoyed.  Each pool was also secluded by native plants.  About 10:30pm we returned to the hotel, exhausted from an adventure filled day - ready to awake and head to our next destination.  

Pura Vida! – Ange and Mal

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Costa Rica – Day Three

Thursday, August 5th – We started day 3 bright and early at 7am.  But for one room, they went to breakfast at 6am.  Hannah, Mary, Ange and Eckler actually woke up thinking they were late for breakfast, but then shortly after realized that they could go back to sleep.  The rest of us appreciated their story when we all sat dow to eat breakfast for real.

At 8am, we left for a two-hour bus ride to our canopy adventure, a.k.a. zip-lining.  On the way there, a few girls had somewhat of a bumpy ride, and ended up pretty nauceous.  We also watched “Gracie” which is a movie about soccer – perfect for this group of girls.

When we arrived at the zip-line tour, we geared up with helmets, gloves, and harnesses and met our awesome tour guides.  They went on to explain the correct technique for zip-lining and then we were on our way.  We traveled through the rainforest on a total of 8 different cables AND one surprise.  There were a few re-occurring jokes, but one that stood out was “¡O mi gato!”. (Gato means cat in Spanish).  The tour guides got a kick out of making fun of our accents.

After four zip-lines – halfway through – we arrived at our surprise: a Tarzan swing!!  Stetser was the first to go and she was a natural.  We all had a chance to take a turn and most of us got it on video.  A few of us held on very tightly to the harness, like Beattie, while the rest, like Ange, went upside down and let go with both hands.  We had the most amazing view while on the Tarzan swing.  It was beautiful and very green.  If you were daring enough, you could look down and see a river below.

The last four zip-lines were just as fast and breath-taking as the others.  However, the 8th was the best.  Each girl who wanted to could start by hanging upside down on the zip-line.  The tour guide would then push you on your way.  After a few seconds of being upside down, we could just as easil sit right up in the harness.  After the two-hour adventure, the last of our team made it safely across and we handed ACWS t-shirts to our wonderful tour guides.  They loved them and immediately put them on for one last photo of our entire group.

After we got back to the bus, we traveled to our next destination, the Tilajari hotel which was only about a 35-minute drive.  We went straight to lunch which was waiting for us at the hotel restaurant.  We were all starving!!  We got our belongings into our rooms and most took a cat nap before we were on the road again.  The bus rolled out around 4:30pm to head to our second game against San Carlos.  It was about a 30-minute drive from the hotel up into the mountains.  When we arrived, we were greeted buy the other team’s coach who showed us to a locker room where we changed and prepared for the game. 

When we walked onto the field, we were in awe!  The two-toned turf field was beautiful!  Wider than the normal fields we have played on but very nice.  It was a stadium with bright lights all around it.  Before starting the game, we did the National Anthems of the U.S. and Costa Rica.  Then we gave good luck handshakes to the other team and started the game.  The first half was intense.  With only about 5 minutes left in the first half, Alyssa made a  great save by kicking the ball away as it almost crossed the goal line.  With about a minute left in the half, San Carlos received a ball from a corner which then ended up in the upper right hand corner of our net for a goal.

Half-time pumped us up and we knew what we needed to work on so we came out strong.  We played a strong 39 minutes minutes when received a free kick right atop the box.  Mills lined up to take the kick and GOAL!!!!! – the ball sailed in right above the goalie’s head.  We had tied the game up with only a minute left.  We piled off the field to start the closing ceremony.  The San Carlos coach said very nice things about our team and thanked us for coming to play against them.  He awarded Beck the MVP of the game!  She smiled as she received her Powerade and got a picture with their coach.  San Carlos has prepared fruit for us to eat after the game.  Everything was very good and everyone was very nice to us.

With a planned dinner set for 9pm back at the hotel, it was time for us to load the bus again.  Before getting to the bus, we heard bad news from our tour guide Ana that our bus was broken into and some things had been taken.  Our bus was not the only stop that the thieves made on their way.  Three other cars that were parked outside the stadium were also broken into.  We were really upset about our lost belongings.  We had to wait outside the stadium for a while before leaving and made a list of everything that we had left on the bus so that a police report could be filed.  When we actually got back onto the bus, luckily some people’s things were still there.  There were four of us that had things stolen.  We drive to the police station where teammates who had gotten their belongings stolen went inside to figure things out and file reports.  After about an hour at the police station we finally headed back to our hotel where our dinner was thankfully waiting for us – still three hours late.  We ate quickly and went back to our hotel room, took showers and went to bed.

- Rachel and Sam

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Costa Rica – Day Two

Wednesday, August 4th – ¡Ah Visitas! – Day two started off with a kick. . . at the door.  Beattie woke up Mal, Beck and Polnasek just in time to scramble down to breakfast.  Lesson learned early – Check Costa Rican alarm clocks TWICE!

The meals thus far have been great and quite filling – breakfast was no exception.

We then all piled onto our team bus and headed to our community service project at a local daycare.  We were led into a room full of crying babies which only got worse when they saw massive amounts of blonde hair – something not easily found in Costa Rica.  The older children were all smiling with excitement as they were yelling ¡Ah Visitas! – apparently they all like visitors.  :)  Ana, our guide, introduced us to a group of at least 50 children.  They all yelled our names back to us and then we had a competition to see who could yell “Pura Vida” the loudest (“Pura Vida” is a Costa Rican saying that means “pure life”.  It’s used in everyday life as a greeting, a response and with tourists).  The children came away the victors thanks to one young enthusiast who quickly found a ride on Beattie’s back for the rest of the visit (she blames Rachel).

After many games of tag, piggy-back rides, broken Spanish conversations, we passed out suckers which eventually made their way back to Christian and Alyssa’s new white t-shirts.  The children were very fun, energetic and amusing as one little girl pointed out Polnasek’s fashion mistake (azul y morado. . . no).  Blue and purple obviously do not match.  :)  Another attempted to steal Beattie’s camera and Z’s sunglasses – luckily they didn’t get too far.

Near the end, everyone gathered into a circle and one of the teachers led singing and dancing (Spanish hokey pokey).  And it was amusing to watch Coach get tackled by 5 rambunctious little chicos.  Let´s just say that Coach´s motto “I don’t like kids” hold true. :)

In the early afternoon, we had a light training session to prepare for our first game against Dimas of Costa Rica!  We learned from Ana that the Costa Rican players complain during practices if they have to do a drill that they don’t like.  We found this hysterical because we would never do that with Coach because we would quickly find ourselves on the line to run sprints.

The night brought our first game of the trip, as well as the rain.  It was good playing together for the first time since November and we quickly got back into the swing of things.  It was a well-played game but disappointingly it ended in a 0-1 loss.

It is tradition for Costa Ricans to have an MVP ceremony after every game.  The Dimas coach chose Mills and rewarded her with a Powerade and a photo opp.  The team ended day 2 with a nice dinner and some stretching in the jacuzzi.  We look forward to the eventful days to come.

¡Pura Vida! – Beattie & Polnasek

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Costa Rica – Day One

Tuesday, August 3rd – 4:45am, the adventure begins.  We all come into the Detroit Metro ariport greeting each other like it has been 16 months.  With excited anticipation and our bags 50 lbs and fully packed (or for some 52 lbs), we gather our spankin’ new gear and board Delta 2133.  A short hour and a half later we arrive in Hot-lanta.  Polnasek and Stetser showed off their speed and determination in their ability to pee as fast as a race horse.  Despite the bikinis, boys and bathrooms, we stayed focused on the prize and got a snack.  As if Ange wasn’t in shape enough, she decided to take a jog back to our flight for her forgotten fleece.  Thinking our slip-ups were thru, we board Delta 415 just in time for Mills to come running from the toilets, Rachel to grab Mills’ belongings, and amongst the confusion, Mills’ boarding pass vanished.  The courteous Delta staff took care of the problem and our trip kept going according to plan.

We finally landed in San Jose, Costa Rica – our final destination!!  Our team made it through immigration smoothly despite the occassional flirting, especially for Alyssa.  After a short wait, we huddled around the baggage carousel to find our bags.  Mary was one of the few who ran into trouble when she saw another family rolling away with her suitcase.  The luggage mix-up was taken care of, we proceeded through customs and were happily greeted by two ladies in bright red shirts – “Costa Rica Soccer” (Lilly and Ana).  We loaded up on our temporary Brit Bus, the Marvì.  On our way to the hotel we had the opportunity to see San Jose and take in our new surroundings.  The beautiful mountains and lush green scenery was breathtaking.  We arrive at La Cantina (Hotel Iraszù) our amazing new home for the next 2 days.  It is very welcoming and we enjoyed a slideshow of our trip adventures and a delightful lunch.  The food was deliciòso.

After lunch we headed off to our first training session.  We played at a nearby local school with a turf field – not only great to train on but the view around it was just as amazing.  Although it was our first session, we worked hard and had fun.  After training, we ventured back to the hotel for showers, dinner and a night of cultural entertainment.  To our surprise, following dinner, there was not only music and dancing to watch, but also hands-on entertainment.  The dancers, who were doing several traditional Costa Rican dances, took the opportunity to include our team in the dancing.  For example, Eckler, Rachel, Mary, Ange, Mal and Coach all enjoyed the tradition of dancing together in a circle and in a romantic movement with a broom.  Coach especially enjoyed this dance!!  Following that, the dancers brought the entire team out to get down and some girls got to show off what they’ve got.  Beattie impressed the bunch with a little booty dancing.  Stets was party boyed by the four male dancers and Mal did her best rendition of her Cha-Cha.  Polnasek has some mean kung fu dances that she was very proud of and Alyssa took her turn in the circle to turn her swag on.  Overall, our team laughed and cried tears of joy during our cultural entertainment surprise!  We concluded the evening by parting to our rooms, some enjoyed time in the luxurious jacuzzi, and then headed off to bed – after a very exciting first day of this adventure.

Love, Mary & Stets

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Costa Rica – Here We Come!!

Monday, August 2nd – Well, the trip is almost here!!  Tonight, everyone should be making their way to the Detroit area so that we can catch a very early flight in the morning.  My hope is that everyone makes it to the airport on time!!  Check back later as I will have each of the players contribute to this blog during the trip.  Io Triumphe and Go Brits!! – Coach Roschek

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