Read the following passage carefully and then fill in the table at the bottom of the page. TIP: Use ReadWriteGold and listen to one paragraph at a time then find the definition of the word. A Walking Holiday in Costa Rica by Mary Novakovich
It was hard to avoid a slight sense of panic in the arrivals lounge at San Jose airport. Scores of taxi drivers swarmed round us, making it difficult to find our guide who was to look after us during our walking holiday. I know it’s a typical scene in many airports, but the lateness of the hour and the unfamiliar warmth of the night were having an unsettling effect.
Finally, I spotted Juan Carlos, who quickly took charge and deposited us in the Hotel Buena Vista in nearby Alajuela. Daniel, the waiter, ignored the late hour and gave us a free fruit drink. “You’ll want to drink this while you’re in Costa Rica,” he said. “We call it Refresco, because it freshens you up.” I speak the barest minimum of Spanish, so the addition of “dos Refrescos, por favor” to my limited vocabulary was very useful.
We also learnt the Costa Rican catchphrase “pura vida”, meaning pure life. Costa Ricans say pura vida to mean “hello”, “cheerio”, “that’s great” – whatever you like. It’s one of the many beguiling things about this small country. Costa Rica is full of bewildering contrasts with some of the most unreasonably beautiful and bizarre scenery I’ve ever seen.
Alajuela was only a stopover, so we set off the next day to Lake Arenal, home to one of the country’s many volcanoes. But we had a few mini-wonders to experience along the way first. There was the small café in Mirador Cinchona, for example, which is a lookout post over a vast garden that resembles a compact rainforest, complete with toucans, hummingbirds and a huge waterfall in the distance. It also had a pet spider, a tarantula, whose six-year-old minder offered us a chance to hold it. I was the only one to take her up on it. It felt deliciously creepy....
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