Paddler? I hardly know her

Trip Start Nov 12, 2005
Trip End Nov 29, 2005

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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Ok, Itīs November, and Iīve got poison ivy!!! Marvo..
And I thought HERPES was forever.

For starters, letīs be painfully clear. I DID warn him. I told him, in front of many of you, to start working out, to start eating right and to be ready for an intense 17 days. I simply did not lie.

And now, Iīm going to tell you the story of how being UNTRUTHFUL to people has consequences and how ONE lie blossoms into several lies and pretty soon you are caught in a web of dishonesty. And then this deceitful monster that you have created saves you and your friend $40 each. Yeeeeeeaahhh!!

In planning for this trip, many rafting companies I emailed tried to strongarm me into making advance payments or deposits on day trips in Costa Rica. Not only can this blow up in your face due to a missed bus, swollen river, or a case of the terrible trotskies, but Iīve found out that if you wait until you get to their office, you can get a cheaper trip. Case in point, last year in Peru, I just showed up and got the advertised $257 3 day Apurimac Trip for $80. So I basically bullshitted this company here in Fortuna that was trying to have me pay in advance full price, and I told them that I was travelling through South America doing various rafting trips in Peru and Ecuador and could NOT commit to payment until I got to Fortuna. But this lie backfired, because after 3 or 4 emails of correspondence with the company, they became very friendly and asked me (I shit you not) to be interviewed for their newsletter and to submit pictures of my "South American rafting tour"! So because of my deceit, (well, I HAVE rafted all those rivers, just not in the last month) I had to get JJ to lie with me to keep "the story" straight. This made him more uncomfortable than Mike Meyers next to Kanye West. But I soldiered on with the story like GI Joe with a store bought tan and $1 sunglasses. And the company rolled out the red carpet for us, offering kayak time, letting us pick our days, and even offering the possibility of running a river they donīt even offer people. And the kicker is, due to my, ahem, "showmanship", I got $40 discounts for each of us!! Todd lies, Todd lies, Todd LIES, . . . when he cries, when he cries.

Needless to say, we have already spent the money we saved at our new favorite restaurant in Fortuna, Don Rufino. More Guaro, more Imperials, and then, as if you are surprised. . .the caipiranhas started to flow!! Now immediately before these Brazilian concoctions were imbibed, JJ and I underwent a semi-dramatic moment of clarity in our friendship and by the time these lime-infused glasses of liquid amnesia were emptied, all may not have been forgiven, but it was CERTAINLY forgotten. And to celebrate our newfound honesty and forthcomingness, we proceeded to order a 42 OUNCE STEAK!!! As the tropical rain flowed through the humid streets of Fortuna, the bovine blood flowed down our chins. Hell, MY chins. This BEHEMOTH of meat was cooked rare. How rare? Rarer than Terry buying light beer, rarer than me peeing in my home standing up, rarer than cheese covered fries in London, rarer than Steve Ruecker getting the check!!
JJ stared at me, then the steak and then back at me as if I was the Vampire Lestat giving him "the choice I never had". But Iīve never backed down from a steak fight, and we dined, and then we stopped, and then we dined, and then JJ started to put some sort of gravy on his because it was too rare, and then I dined. And then, I finished that Madre, because I didnīt fly 13 hours to let a cow punch me in the penis. JJ got his RED WINGS and I got to say, "I can`t believe I ate the whole thing" for the second time in my life. You forgot, I dated Erin Schwab.

So with blood covered shirts and a level of male bonding rarely seen outside of prison, JJ and I went skipped into the rainy evening towards our casa to play some poker. I fell asleep in the patio hammock to the beautiful sounds of the crickets, the rain, and the soothing sounds of the Lesbian Costa Rican Yingfah getting stoned with the Italian chick next to me and speaking in Spanish that I could neither comprehend nor participate. What happened after that, thatīs a story for the campfire, but I was NOT involved.

So letīs get down to bidness: After a day of semi-strenuous activity and JJīs one man wet t-shirt contest (turns out he WON), it was time to shoot the Rio Toro. But as I was showering yesterday morning, we got a torrential, heaping helping of rain that woke JJ out of his caipiranha coma. The rain proved to be the death knell for our Toro Trip and when the rafting guides got us to the put in, they said it was too high. For THEM, maybe!!

So we headed a half hour East to the Rio Sarapiqui and shot 7.5 miles of Class 3+ water and JJ popped his rafting cherry. He also got a temporary reprieve from the Agua Grande. For now. Tomorrow, I will be attempting to scam us another shot at the Rio Toro, which means River of Bull. How deliciously appropriate!

After JJ licked his wounds (he was spent), we went to a place famous for Roast Chicken called La Choza. Chicken, ceviche and Coca Cola! Soda, you say? For him, he chose to lay off the sauce for one night and I guess thatīs just how he was raised. I had some beer, No Surprises here, folks. I think that he is finally realizing that when I said I like to "do it up" on my trips, I donīt flock around. Sitting next to us at the table were two couples who ordered this insane dish that had pork chops, steaks, shrimps and lobster in it. They offered us some, but we learned our lesson with the steak the night before. We did, however, stop and bought some 40 dogs of Imperial (which I alone drank) and retired back to our house. We both fell asleep on the hammocks and when I finally went to my bed, I had the best night of sleep on this trip. Not SO, for Mr. Johnson.

I woke up early, stretched out, ate some Costa Rica Frosted Flakes (Theyīre BUUUUUUENO!!!) and attempted to prepare my fallen friend for another round of Agua Blanca on the Rio Arenal (our second scheduled trip). I kept suggesting things like caffeine, breakfast, or codeine to speed things along. But youīve got to hike your own hike. He admitted that his hike was one day behind mine. So we get on the van, and who is sitting in it? The people from the restaurant last night. All that protein seemed to work for them. Those four opted to raft, but me and the Double hit that shizz in inflatable rafts. We rode to the river down a steep and muddy hill, sitting on top of our boats in a trailer whose hitch wasnīt locked. As JJ would say "Pretty shady". We got on the river with little fanfare and I am happy to say that JJ was all smiles the whole way. There was a few dumps, (more from me, I gots to surf) but the water was awesome Class 2-3 action with better scenery than the day before. One of my best paddles of the year. SO FAR.

I was all over doing a canopy tour when we got back, but the Old Man Johnson is sleeping on the hammock. We are crossing our fingers, (well, I am) to do the Rio Toro tomorrow. The rain has not stopped since we were on the river today and it is not a good sign. We still have yet to even see the top of the volcano that looms above us scant miles away.

Well, a lot has happened in 4 days. But the REAL test of our stamina (and our friendship) will be this weekend. Three Class 4-5 rivers in three days doing the most difficult commercially run rivers in Costa Rica. The rain shows no sign of dying down, but Iīm beginning to think that Joe IS. . .

Pray for us, or at least pour some malt liquor on the ground for us. We are doing fine. My apologies for my lack of correspondence to many of you, but there will be a time and a place. And right now JJ is sleeping soundly.

Until we next meet.

Peace Love and Patience,

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