Insert Tarzan yell here! Wheee!

Trip Start Sep 02, 2010
Trip End Aug 17, 2011

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Cartago,
Saturday, September 4, 2010

Well, I am sad to report that we did not yet play a game of Giant Scrabble. Last night was just hilarious. We were both super tired and saying the most random things to each other. For example, Adrienne broke up with her Spanish-English dictionary, then named her book light Herman. Then Herman went exploring, and when I asked her what she was doing with the light, she said, "He's investigating." It was just too funny, and the evening was full of giggles and then we passed out hard core. 

This morning I woke up at 6:30a local time, because my internal clock says "HAHA I will never let you sleep in!" But, it was just as well. My shower was less interesting this morning until I was done and couldn't get the faucet to turn off because the knob was broken. We still have running water because the guy hasn't fixed it yet. 

While we were waiting for breakfast to be ready, we had a conversation with a guy from Maine. He was telling us different things we could do around her for cheap, and told us how to get to the central market by bus. He was super nice and it was really cool to get advice from a fellow traveler. He also thought it was awesome that we were two sisters just here for the sake of an adventure. 

Breakfast was more pancakes and pineapple. The guy who made the pancakes today made special pancakes with designs in them! I saw a foot, turtle, and rose in various pancakes. It was so awesome! I also discovered that this hostel serves the Cafe Britt coffee, needless to say, my taste buds were in heaven!!! I can't wait for tomorrows breakfast now, too! :)

So, today was the day of the canopy zip-line tour! We were picked up at 10:30a by the Aventuras La Carpintera people. We were the last two picked up, and when we got in the van, realized that we were the only two girls in the group. It felt like jumping into a boy's club, but the rest of the people in our group (Oscar, Costa Rica native; Mark, from Atlanta; Rich, I think was from Atlanta, but maybe not; Vinod, who I think said he was from India living in Florida and Chris, born in Africa living in Florida) were putting off great energy, and it was a very enjoyable, and friendly van ride to the place.

When we got to the tour place, we had to sign a waiver saying we were going to fly through trees, then we hung around waiting for the truck to take us to the beginning of the tour. While we were waiting, we took some pictures and enjoyed the view of the city against the volcanoes. And, we saw a sloth! He was so cute! I was so excited to finally have seen a monkey! Well, kind of, not really. He was resting, and had the cutest face. :) 

Then we had the bumpiest ride of our lives! We drove in an old Chevy truck along a very bumpy dirt road. It was like four wheeling in a big ass truck. The road we traveled puts country roads to shame. We're talking off roading. The road did change eventually, and was paved with bricks for the tires to have traction, but it was the bumpiest ride of my life! I was very glad I'd had my breakfast hours earlier, other wise I might not have kept it down! Later, one of the other tourists said we bounced so high we almost hit our heads on the roof! 

When we made it to our destination, we were dropped in the middle of a field, and told we had to walk 600 steps to get there. And when he said 600 steps, he meant 600 stairs! I don't know how high we trekked, but it was probably at least 100 meters. It was enough to bring us very high and give us great views of the rain forest! We had to stop a few times to catch our breath, and some of the guys took pity on us and offered to carry our sacks since they could tell we were struggling. When we reached the top, everyone geared up in a climbing harness, helmet, gloves, and a hand guard, and we carried the equipment to hook us to the wire on the front. The whole set up weighed close to 15 lbs. I used the bag the equipment was in to hold my water bottle and camera, so convenient! :)

With the group assembled, one of the guides, Gabriel, gave us a lesson on how to zip-line. It seemed simple enough, and there weren't too many things to remember. The first line was very short, and very easy. For me, getting past the first one was the main thing, and I was able to convince myself that I could do this. The second one was about three times as long as the first, and even though I knew I could do it, it seemed very daunting. Adrienne, on the other hand, just ate it up! She couldn't get enough of the zip lines, and she did it like a pro on the very first try!

There was a total of 22 different lines that we zipped through. The lines varied in length and incline, and some were much scarier than others. Memorable ones were the super long line where the guide instructed you not to break, and then they threw you off with a spin, and bounced the wire. The effect was spinning and bouncing through the rain forest. It was a little dizzying, and very nerve wracking, but very exciting! Definitely got the panorama view! 

The next line that sticks out is the one that lead to a platform where you had to complete a 90 foot drop. The platform was horrible! Imagine a chain-link fence laying down at the top of a tree. It was way too wobbly for my taste, and I made the mistake of looking down. I just about passed out when I realized that I was going to have to go straight down. To go down, you were hooked onto a rock-climbing caliber rope, and when the tension at the bottom was released, you were in a free-fall. It was TERRIFYING!!! And exhilarating...! To break the fall at the bottom, the guide who was waiting at the bottom pulled the rope and released the tension slowly till you came to a nice stop. I was wobbly on my feet after that, and had very shaky hands. Adrienne said she was impressed that I did as well as I did. Of course, Adrienne did a wonderful job and did not appear to have any jitters when it was all said and done; just a big silly grin! :)

The third memorable line had an enormous decline and took about 20 seconds to get to the end. If I recall correctly, they said the last, and longest, was about as long as an American football field. This line was the fastest and most intense of them all! It is hard to judge how fast I was going, but it was fast. They said to break the entire way down the line, and even breaking as hard as I could, I still collided with the breaker at the end and swung at the sudden stop which brought my feet above my head. When I swung to a stop, the guide asked, "Where were you going?" Then I got my breath back and watched as the next person came in. By the way, Adrienne, who went before me, apparently didn't need the breaker because she has such good arm muscles and stopped herself just at the incoming edge of the platform.

The next person was a heavier dude, and when he was about 50 feet away, the guide started waving frantically and screamed "BREAK! STOP! STOP!" because in order to use the breaker the guide has to manually stop you using his body weight to break your momentum. When this guy stopped, the guide was out of breath and wore an expression of, "Oh my GOD." 

From this last platform, we went down another rope, but this one was a much more controlled fall, and was a lot slower. I did not feel my stomach in my mouth, and I could actually enjoy it without spazzing! :) When we reached the bottom, a guide helped us take off helmets and gloves, and we began the hike back to the restaurant. The hike back was thankfully downhill, but it was very slippery. This is where I fell twice, and got myself full of mud. Even though it was slightly treacherous, it was beautiful. 

Back at the restaurant, we turned in our equipment, thanked the guides, and went to clean up for lunch/dinner. At lunch/dinner, our whole group sat together to continue the adventure over food. We had some of the best chips and salsa I've ever had, pineapple juice, and dinner with an option of vegetarian, pork, beef, or chicken, with sides of black beans, rice, and plantains. Both the dinner and conversation were wonderful.

After dinner, the waitresses came back out with a piece of cheesecake with a candle on top and sang "Happy Birthday" to Adrienne in both English and Spanish, complete with maracas! :) We had mentioned a few times about Adrienne's birthday, and Vinod was sweet and ordered the cake for her! Adrienne was also sweet and shared the cheesecake with everyone! The waitress had brought enough spoons for everyone, and she took a bite, then passed it around the table until everyone had a little bit of cake to celebrate with her. It was so much fun! 

After cake, we waited for a little while for two extra people to join us for the ride back to San Jose, and enjoyed a round of fruit juice on the house for the extra wait. While we were waiting, the group shared pictures with each other, and I snagged a picture of Adrienne and Gabriel, who was flirting adorably with her the whole time. :) 

When we were back at the hostel, we kind of crashed and decided we didn't want to do anything else that involved moving for the rest of the day, so we relaxed, and relaxed some more! My poor muscles are going to be talking to me tomorrow. Maybe some dinner will be in order, but that is quite debatable. 
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Chris on

Wow, Erica, I am so impressed that you did this! It sounds so amazingly beautiful and strenuous and scary!! I can imagine it was A's cup of tea, but I can tell from your smile you enjoyed it just as much!

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