Nauru Travel Diary

From Houston to Sydney 2013

From Houston

to Sydney



I have wanted to go to Liberia ever since I was an undergraduate at university.  I remember writing a research essay on the somewhat esoteric topic of “Foreign Investment in Liberia” in 1974 or 1975, and I found the subject absolutely fascinating.  Liberia was unique in Africa as the only country never to have been colonized by a European power (that is if we accept Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia in the 1930s as a form of colonization).  When I wrote my research essay, Liberia was still ruled by the descendants of freed slaves from America who had been forcibly resettled in Liberia in the 1840s and 1850s because it was felt that there was no place for freed slaves in the US at that time.  Called Americo-Liberians, they bore no ethnic relationship to the local indigenous people of Liberia, and dressed in the very formal attire of Southern ladies and gentlemen, they effectively proceeded to treat the local people as an inferior underclass.

Those who know me and my attraction to unusual places will immediately understand why I have been so keen to visit Liberia for so many years.

And today, I ‘sort of’ achieved my goal.  I boarded my flight in Miami and just three hours later I arrived in Liberia – although in this case, it was Liberia, a city in Costa Rica.

Liberia, the city, is a very different place from Liberia, the country, which of course means that Liberia, the country, remains high on my list of places to visit.  Furthermore, Liberia (the city) was just a transit point for our ultimate destination, Langosta Beach in Tamarindo, a resort town on Costa Rica’s northern west cost.

The next few days are designed to be the relaxing and unwinding part of our trip (as opposed to the stimulating geographical explorations preceding our Costa Rican interlude, and hopefully following it also).  We are staying at a resort hotel, hopefully to the delight of my wife.  I am not normally a devotee of resorts, but this one is located right beside a rather spectacular stretch of coastal geomorphology (‘coastline’ to the layman) with some very interesting features on its wave-sediment interface (‘shoreline’ to the layman).  I am sure I will have enough to look and explore at without having to resort (excuse the pun) to resting.

I first came to know about this resort (called the Barceló Langosta Beach Resort) about six years ago.  At that time, I was Head of the United World College in Hong Kong, and the Heads of all the UWCs met for a strategic retreat.  As UWC had recently opened a new college in Costa Rica, the Head of that College very kindly arranged the retreat at this resort in Tamarindo.  As we met from sunrise until after sunset we had almost no time to ‘enjoy’ the resort or to explore its facilities, but I made a mental note to bring Di here one day so we could enjoy it together.

Today is that day.

The drive from Liberia to Tamarindo took just over an hour in a minibus, passing through some small towns and many fields where sugar cane is cultivated.  We arrived at about 1:30 pm (having gained two hours with the time difference from Miami), but our room was not yet ready so we enjoyed the drinks and food that are included as part of the stay.  We finally got access to our room at a little after 2:30 pm, and an hour and a half later our luggage finally joined us – the pace of life seems to be very very relaxed here.

Although the weather was sunny during our drive from Liberia to Tamarindo, a tropical downpour began at about 2 pm and the skies remained overcast with drizzling rain for the rest of the afternoon.  Contrary to my natural tendencies, I therefore had little choice but to rest and relax, enjoying the pristine coastal (or to be more precise, estuarine) rainforest scenery from our room.

Day 15 - Miami to Tamarindo


20 July 2013