Quaker Monkeys & Milkshakes (Andy)
Trip Start Oct 04, 2009
70Trip End Nov 20, 2010
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Where I stayed
Tim is working in the Quaker school in Monteverde; the Monteverde Friends School. We went to visit him on our first day in town to catch him in action. The school is much bigger than I pictured. Hosting about 100 kids it has the setup more like a farm than a school. The classrooms have enormous ceilings and windows that let in some of the great Costa Rican sun and a gentle breeze. Tim just started working here about 3 weeks ago and already seems really comfortable in his spot. It was just very easy to see that he is happy in his role as a teacher.
Monteverde is located in the middle of a cloud forest. To be completely honest I have absolutely no idea what a cloud forest is. I'm assuming its a tropical forest located in the mountains and therefore has a cooler temperature and more clouds than a normal tropical forest. But thats just a guess. Either way, its pretty cool to come out of a classroom and run into a group of monkeys hanging out on a tree. As this was our first monkey encounter we kind of freaked out, breaking out the camera and running over to get a better view of them. A normal occurrence for the kids, they just looked at us and laughed. I can only compare it to the erupting volcanoes in Antigua. The first day we were there we freaked out about the erupting and asking stupid questions like "are we going to have to evacuate the city?" and by the third week we would turn to the new person next to us all calm and collective like and say "you probably want to go check that out." But whatever, monkeys are cool and I'll freak out just about every time I see one.
That afternoon we all went off to the Reserva Biologica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde (Monterde's Cloud Forest Reserve). It was a good hike through a living cloud forest getting a chance to see a few insects and butterflies in their natural habitat. The look out points were kind of a waste since as it is a cloud forest we were covered in clouds. The highest point was located (supposedly) on the continental divide.
Afterwords we popped into a small place on the road back down to Monteverde called "Hummingbird Cafe." Thinking nothing really of it other than a chance to get a coffee we were blown away to be greeted by about 20 hummingbirds flying around our heads. The Cafe has been feeding these birds for 10 years and has grown a small family to take care of. Not exactly sure how many types they have, the owner of the cafe told us a few fun hummingbird facts such as they are extremely possessive and if you leave bird feeders out overnight they will continue to eat even if they freeze themselves to dead in the cold.
Our Lonely Planet book recommends a hike called Cerro Amigos. Its a free hike and on a clear day you are supposed to be able to see the active Volcan Arenal. Little did we know that the "hill" was more like a mountain and the "trail" was a utility road leading to television towers. After two hours of sweating, complaining and overall discomfort we made it to the top to find pretty much no view whatsoever. I guess thats why they call it a cloud forest. We did run into a somewhat crazy satellite worker while we are up there that for his job must live up there for weeks on end.
You can't visit Monteverde without doing a canopy tour, they practically make you sign an agreement before entering the city. Tim was able to get out of school early and we took off with an outfitter called "Extremo" to another section of the cloud forest. Strapped in our extremely uncomfortable harnesses we went careening from tree to tree attached to a cable.
That night we wished a fond farewell to Timmy. We've been traveling with Tim for almost four months and this was probably the last time we would see him for a long time. So after a few individual and group hugs we wished each other luck and promised to keep in touch.
And just like that we left Monteverde, en route to our next destination, a farmstay near San Isidro de El General. I need to find my innnermost farmer, I figure it must run in my blood right Brie? Wish us look and hope everyone is doing well!