Day 33: The Cloud Forest. Sort of.
Trip Start Sep 02, 2007
92Trip End Dec 25, 2007
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Our first stop for gas, a bathroom, and to pick up our local guide-in-training, Manuel. Manuel is six years old and wants to show people around his home as a job in the future
Next we went to a zoo, which was full of beautiful exotic animals intermixed with some domestic chickens, ducks, and even sheep. It was an interesting mix, to be sure. There were some incredible animals there that I had never seen, and some I still don't even know the names of. We hung out with the tapirs for a while, which oddly were each paired with a few domestic ducks for pen company. I met someone else from Australearn, and we had a good conversation while we wandered around the zoo. There were some really cool parrot enclosures, well I should say bird enclosures, because they were essentially two stories tall and had both parrots and ground-dwelling birds in them. Some of the parrots were talking a little bit, and some were just making a general racket. I watched a couple swinging in unison across the chain link, alternately gripping with their feet and their beaks. I could have watched the birds for a long time.
We visited the turtles and a pond full of goldfish, and took pictures of some really beautiful picturesque spots just scattered around the zoo that I'm pretty convinced should be on some jigsaw puzzle somewhere
Liz and I had gone all the way around the vaguely ring-shaped park and realized we'd missed the frogs, and went all the way back around. Oscar followed us; I guess we were the last ones. Turns out there was only one frog and you pretty much couldn't see him anyway. I felt really bad that we'd held up the whole excursion for that. Pretty soon we were all back on the bus and Manuel had brought a tiny iguana to show us. It was really little and really cute and incredibly green. Oscar brought it up and down the isle of the bus, we took pictures, and then we were on our way.
Ideas of the cloud forest were thwarted once again by ideas of lunch, and we stopped at a pretty little place along the road to eat
When we were finally on the road again, Oscar explained that of our two options for rainforest experience, one of them was a long hike back into some pools that were kind of nice to maybe swim in and one was a short walk into a waterfall that he knew we would find more interesting and would give us more time for the craft market. I think he thought the craft market was what we were all there for, but we were all there for the hike. We ended up going on the short walk of course, because that was all we had time for at this point. I asked Oscar specifically if we would see orchids; his words were "of course, you're in the rainforest there are always orchids." So we get out of the car and out on to this hike, the employees caution us about the suspension bridges and hand us all walking sticks
It was probably ten minute's walk to the waterfall. It was beautiful, the walk and the waterfall both, but I've seen so many waterfalls that I was just not overwhelmed by it at all. There was this incredible blue butterfly there that was probably six inches or more across when it had its wings open. When it closed them it disappeared into the dirt because the underside of its wings was dark brown like the earth. It was really beautiful. The waterfall was nice, and someone took my picture in front of it, then I chased the butterfly around trying to get a picture and couldn't. The walk out was shorter than the walk in and just like that we were handing back our walking sticks and getting on the bus. I hadn't seen a single orchid. And believe me, I'd been really looking.
We were all sleeping on the way back, or trying to; I had a really hard time sleeping in that bus despite how tired I was and was really relieved to get back to the ship. Our arrival deadline was four o'clock; it was now almost five thirty and the ship was leaving at six. So we all rushed to get on the boat and then dispersed to dinner. I for one had dinner, shot the sunset, and went right to bed.