The Tortoise and the Hairy
Trip Start Nov 26, 2012
25Trip End Dec 30, 2012
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Originally we were to spend two nights here in the jungle but we skimmed one off so that we could get to Puerto Viejo to visit a place called the Jaguar Center, which no longer has a jaguar but is a facility that helps wild animals and we may be able to pet a monkey. Now that we've seen the jungle for a few hours, we are comfortable tossing the second day.
Back to the lodge for breakfast. This time eggs will be playing the part of "chicken" long before they've grown into the role, rice will be embodying rice and beans will be closing the show. Grab the stuff from the cabin, back in the boat with Silent Eddie a bit worse for wear. Apparently he had a tete a tete with a young park ranger chicka last night. All the texting paid off.
We Ipod-soundtrack our way back up the river (Gimme Shelter and a tropical river will always provide a perfect "Apocalypse Now" moment)
Bump, bump, bump, bump (repeat for one hour with a desperate need to pee in the second half hour). We forgot to mention that on the way out in the bumpy van we got a look at how banana's are grown and harvested. Banana production makes humans and animals sick, renders soil useless for other purposes and uses men like burros. We will be switching to organic bananas immediately (it really matters).
Back at the base the day's triumphant rafters have been drinking their beer and preparing to board their vans to whichever of the three Exploradore cities they want. A special lunch has been prepared for Tortuguero returnees, whose number includes us, period. Plenty of decent food and we eat. It's interesting, they are hurrying the rafters to board the vans but they are telling us to take our time and relax. We sense the invisible hand of Miguel; The Fixer
As we pull into Puerto Viejo, we see the accuracy in what we we've read about it. Apparently the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica has an island flavor. This a backpacker town, a surfer destination, a hippy holdout. Reggae spills into the street from the rickety wooden stalls full of trinkets, dreadlocks cling to the tops of pseudo Rastas and drop out white boys, bicycles outnumber cars and scooters and the locals either outnumber or simply outshine the tourists. Barely out of the range of the brief, busy "downtown," the van cuts a right into a tiny street and a left into the parking lot of the Hotel Blue Conga. The place is compact but has an obvious charm. We are greeted by Marise, a warm French Canadian transplant and shown our room. Small, no frills, but fine. We drop the luggage in the room and seconds later Julie jumps into the small but stylish pool.
The day has been long and we need some food. Marise tells us the sushi place in town is good and we are giddy at the thought of "food." The hotel offers loaner bikes to guests so we grab a pair and head into town. This, we can now see and smell, is Stonerland. The streets are lined with people hanging out or hustling around. They seem to have some purpose though we couldn't conceive of what it might be. Chile Rojo is the restaurant we want and we find it with no problem. We are told to lock the bikes carefully because, as everyone knows, hippies steal. The place is on the second floor so we take two seats at the counter that aim toward the street. We can see the bikes and everything else that happens on a typical night in Stonertown
Back at the Blue Conga we submit to enough Downton Abbey to finish the job our physical fatigue and mojitos started.
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