DEET pisses off scorpions

Trip Start Dec 18, 2009
Trip End Jan 02, 2010

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Where I stayed
Monteverde Backpackers

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On the way from Arenal to Monteverde we met some friendly fellow backpackers and what's funny is that many are from and/or living in Southern California. We arrived at our hostel, which has great wood paneled rooms, but not the cheesy 70s variety, rather the local colorful wood of orange/red hues and also a very informative and friendly owner. We decided to head right after lunch to do a famous canopy zip line trip. One included a "superman" zip line ride; we were sold. We also met back up with Emma who also came from Arenal that morning. There was 10 lines within the trees and several long ones spanning a valley for which we traversed high above the trees below. The weather was still cloudy and windy, which carried a lot of mist with it; however, this added a certain serene atmosphere to the adventure and literally made you feel like you were flying through the unknown as the clouds were quite dense in the valley. There was also a "Tarzan" swing, for which I attempted my fiercest Tarzan yell. I was not anticipating the initial 20ft drop before you started to swing, combined with a somewhat horse voice, apperantly made my holler start off a bit higher pitch than intended, but I quickly adapted it to a nice throaty bellow. All-in-all a really cool experience. While better weather would have been nice to really see the trees, it was in a cloud forest after all.

An hour later Curt and I together with Emma go on a jungle night trek. We saw massive orange-kneed tarantalas, 3 two-toed sloths, some coatis, a huge tree-dwelling porcupine, several interesting insects -- like some mimicking the thorns of trees, and a few small/ less-than- 
interesting frogs/lizards. Definitely a highlight of Monteverde, as the morning trek we went on the next day to the less touristed Santa Elena cloud forest was sparse in comparison in terms of any wildlife; although it did have its own interesting aspects and also really cool hummingbirds. After a lunch of more "typical" Tico food -- rice, beans, steamed veges, fried plantain, and choice of beef, chicken or pork chop -- Curt and I went to a 20-yo butterfly garden that also started with an introduction to several other live insects native to the region. So our guide showed and told us more about the tarantulas and despite being venemous held it in his hand. Then came a scorpion, and I, along with others were shocked that he could pick it up and even pet it like some pet hamster. This encouraged me enough to ask whether I could hold it, and of course, get a photo with it on my hand to prove my braveness. So as he was transferring it and it just started crawling onto the back of my hand it suddenly raised its whip tail and fortunately the guide -- also surprised at the sign of aggression -- flipped it into the air and it landed somewhere on the ground behind his back. Several girls screamed and for me it happened so quick was just sort of in stunned silence. He said he'd never seen that happen and while several people speculated with tourist-related jokes, I realized why it happened. Early in the morning before the trek I'd put 30%-Deet bug spray on and it definitely seemed to work. Funny enough is that we ran into the guide that evening in a bar and Emma realized I hadn't embellished the story and that he'd ask tourists for now on wether they had Deet on.

Before that bar, Emma, Curt and I went to a neat touristy restaurant called Tree House, and as you might imagine, it was surrounding a massive tree.  We all had pizzas, which were quite huge, but also quite expensive.  In general, the food and drinks in Costa Rica are quite pricy when compared to public transportation and lodging, which are inexpensive as one typically sees in Central/South America.  Anyway, after the bar we wished Emma fair well, although we may meet up with her again for a day in Manuel Antonio.

We booked a 7am transfer from Monteverde to Montezuma on the Pacific Coast side of Costa Rica on a large peninsula. Wish us luck that neither of us will experience Montezuma's Revenge. ;)

Cheers, Barry
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