rainforest

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Tales from Costa Rica – Part 6

Published 30/10/2012 by julierkendrick

Friday 26th October 2012 dawned nice and sunny and as humid as ever. I was glad because it was Annie’s 50th birthday and we had big plans.

Zip lining was first on our list and we had arranged to be there before 8am. Funnily enough I wasn’t actually nervous which is strange considering I’m not a fan of heights, not phobic but not keen either. I think it was the thought that I was going to be doing this through the rain forest that excited me. When we arrived we were introduced to our guides, Eric and Victor, two very handsome Tico’s who teased us mercilessly throughout the experience. All in good fun, we played up to the “we throw English off the platforms” humour. We were strapped up to within an inch of our lives and shown how to zipline safely. Then we were off. The first couple of lines were great and eased us in gently, the breeze and the views were gorgeous. We had two other young men on our session they were a lovely couple called Geraldo and Roy and they were so excited to be doing this that their mood was infectious and we were all laughing and giggling at the silliest things. It was a heady experience. Between some of the lines we had a couple of quite steep walks up hills and between trees. Now if any of you have seen pictures of me you will notice that I am not the fittest person alive and I was huffing and puffing like an old steam roller. As I trundled along, holding everyone up I kept apologising but they were all so lovely and waited for the fat English chick. 😉

Half way along the route we came to the “Tarzan” swing. Now, I was not familiar with this, although had I given it any thought it would have been obvious. Roy and Geraldo threw themselves, almost literally into this with gusto and I stood back swallowing the lump that had suddenly appeared in my throat. Mmmm so I would be strapped to a single rope and thrown out over the tops of the trees. Easy. GULP! I looked around me at the happy faces and my unbelievably beautiful surroundings and decided that there was no way I was going to chicken out. So when my turn came I was strapped up and on the count of 3 thrown out into the blue. On my first swing, my breath was taken away and I realised that this was an amazing feeling. I swung back and the guides swung me out again (This was no mean feat considering the size of my rear but they did it with aplomb). This time I remembered to bend my legs and I actually soared above the treetops. On the third swing the lump left my throat and I completely enjoyed the feeling of flying above the rain forest. When I swung back for the last time and was unhooked I was shaking with the adrenalin and was so glad that I hadn’t backed out.

I was feeling pretty invincible by this point so when we came up to the “Superman” swing I was ready and raring to go.  We had to be strapped into a new harness which meant we were hooked onto the line by our feet, bum and back. The line was the longest of the experience and I couldn’t wait to get out there.  Annie went before me so that she could film me coming in at the other end and after everyone else had gone I was all harnessed in. I took some deep breaths determined to drink in every moment of this last line. As Eric let me go and I started down the line my breath was truly taken from me. The view was almost indescribable, I soared across and looking deep into the forest I could see a waterfall and the river it flowed into, I flew over the tops of the highest trees and if I had put out my hand I could have touched them. The spray from the waterfall bathed my face and the lump came back into my throat. My eyes teared up and my breath caught in my lungs. There was no greater experience of nature than this and I felt so blessed to be able to be taking part in it. I longed for a photographic memory so that I could recall every detail when I felt down as I knew that I could not feel any negativity when faced with landscape.

The experience was over and I readily hugged Eric and Victor and the other two zip liners. I felt so emotional and said to Annie at that moment I felt I had the courage to throw myself out of a plane. (I’m actually glad there wasn’t a convenient plane right there).

It is worth mentioning that almost as soon as we had finished the rains came. I feel that it waited just for me so that Mother Nature could show me the wonders that she had created in perfect light.

After the drive home, a shower and change of clothes we went to Marios (the scene of my earthquake experience  for Annie’s birthday lunch. Everyone that I had met was there (with the exception of Any and Norman, as Any was ill) and we had a wonderful time celebrating with our lovely friend. We all had some to drink but Lily, Monroe and I left at a reasonable hour leaving Annie and a couple of others to party the night away. I didn’t think I could take any more excitement for one day and sank into my bed with dreams of trees, waterfalls, good friends and fantastic food.

My time in Costa Rica was not over yet. What else did this wonderful country have in store for me?

See you tomorrow

Julie 🙂

Tales from Costa Rica – Part 3

Published 26/10/2012 by julierkendrick

So, you remember the story so far? Finally arrived, no case, went to bed? Good. So I got up in the night for a pee and what was outside my bedroom door? Yaaaay my suitcase. It had been delivered at midnight, although how the guy found this house I will never know. There are no road names and few decent road signs. You just have to direct people by landmarks. i.e. turn right at Charly’s bar then go north down the pothole road and it’s the pink house on the right. Madness. But hey I was happily reunited with my clean underwear.

Showered and smelling of Molton Brown gorgeousness I came downstairs to the smell of french toast and maple syrup. I ate on the back porch looking over stunning views of the rainforest and the mountains. Absolutely breathtaking.

We then went to visit some friends of Annies who lived about half an hour away. They are Cubans who move to Miami 40 years ago and then to CR 5 years ago. They are what the locals call “Gringos”. I am told that this is not an insult but a name used to differentiate between the indigenous and those from other American countries. The Costa Ricans are called “Ticos” and the Nicaraguans “Nicos”. Any (pronounced Annie) and Norman are a lovely warm couple who are completely devoted to their 5 dogs. 2 pugs called Joey and Matilda, a large red dog of unknown breed they call Red, an Alsatian called Osso and an old black Labrador called Nina (pronounced Nine-a).

After taking us for some lunch in the local tin shack where once again the food was outstanding (this waiter was lucky enough to possess a full set of teeth), we went for a drive up the mountain to see a river that flowed down the hills and was apparently a sight to behold. We drove for about 20 minutes higher and higher up a gradient that felt as though the 4 x 4 we were in was about to tip over backwards and I was holding on for dear life much to the amusement of the two Annies. We stopped at a rickety old bridge and got out. To the dismay of Any the water was completely brown and the banks beside it had sunk into the water during the recent landslides. There had been an earthquake here about 4 weeks before I arrived (more about earthquakes next time!!) and this was some of the effect that it had had on the beautiful landscape. As we could no longer climb down to the banks we headed back and decided to call on some more friends called Mike and Earl.

Mike and Earl are realtors who live in a mansion in the clouds. No I haven’t transported you to Enid Blyton’s mind they really do live in a fantastic Spanish hacienda cut into the side of a mountain. They had it built for themselves about 7 years ago and Earl, who is a very talented painter, filled the walls with his brightly coloured art. The main focal point of this residence is the amazing back porch on which they have a suspended day-bed facing out across the mountains. However when we arrived the clouds were low and the porch was obscured. After we had been there for a while the clouds parted and I was treated to the most magnificent views that really did take my breath away. A lump formed in my throat and at that moment I was truly glad that I was there and a feeling of complete peace came over me and I realised what a stunning world we live in. I am very blessed.

We drove back to Annies with a feeling of contentment and as I went to bed that night I thought about the forthcoming trip to Tortuga the next day. In my mind Captain Jack Sparrow would be there waiting for me to sail off into the sunset and I couldn’t wait.

The next morning another disaster befell us….

See ya next time

Julie 🙂

PS Any excuse to put a pic of Johnny in my blog and I will take it 😉