A Walk In The Clouds

Trip Start May 23, 2009
Trip End May 30, 2009

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Limon,
Sunday, May 24, 2009

We awoke this morning to the songs of birds.  After getting ready we went to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and hired a guide, Juan Carlos, to show us around.  It ended up being important to have a guide as we would have never seen several of the things without him, not to mention all the info. he gave us.  While on our hike we saw several birds, the most distinguished of which were the 3 waddled bird and the one that Monteverde is known for, the Resplendant Quetzal.  The Quetzal is a gorgeous bird of striking blue, sapphire, and turquoise plumage that is also irridescent.  We also saw some bugs which included a large beetle, white snake catepillar (10 catepillars that walk in an absolute line with one another to look like a snake so they don't get eaten), a tarantula, and another catepillar which dropped from a tree narrowly missing Doug.  We saw 2 mammals: a squirrel and an agouti.  We heard something crashing through the jungle and could tell something was headed our way towards the trail, it got louder and louder as we all stood motionless as statues to see what it was and all of the sudden this "thing" came bounding out of the jungle right at me!  It missed me be about 2 feet and darted across the trail and into the jungle on the other side.  Doug was laughing at the astonished look on my face as I asked Juan Carlos what it was.  He explained that it was an agouti, which is a member to the rodent family.  He said it appeared that something was likely chasing it.  It looked like a cross between a miniature pig and a huge rat.  It was about the size of Daisy.  We also saw lots and lots of foliage: bromiliads, orchids, ferns, vines, trees, heliconias, palms, etc. by the thousands. There was one flower they called "Hot Lips" due to its shape.  Some folks have started calling it the "Angelina Jolie" flower.   At the end of our trek, we saw several different kinds of hummingbirds enjoying the feeders near the entrance to the reserve.

During our hike I came up with an entertainment idea for the guides at Monteverde to run and make some extra cash.  I told Juan Carlos that since many of the guides know how to mimic bird and monkey sounds, that at night they should run a show called "Costa Rican Idol" where the guides get together and have a contest for who can make the best bird/monkey calls.  I told him they could record the bird making the actual call so that the audience would know what it sounds like.  Then the guides could each take their turn making the call.  The audience could then vote on the best imitator.  I told him that as there wasn't much to do in the area during the evening, I thought people would pay $5 to come to the show.  He seemed to like it, so maybe they'll start it.  You heard it here first!

After touring the Reserve, Doug and I decided there wasn't much left to do or see, and I think Doug was really curious to see what my cousin was up to, so we checked out early and headed off to La Fortuna.  Let me say that we had read and been given many warnings about the road between the 2 towns (about a 3-4 hr drive).  People reported it to be difficult, dangerous, horrific, and death-defying.  While it was dirt and gravel, narrow, and rural, we found it to be no big deal.  In fact we never even needed to engage the 4-wheel drive.  I guess some people have simply grown too accustomed to the big city and are only using their SUV's to get over speed bumps in the mall parking lot or something.  Then again, perhaps the road gets much worse during the heavy rains.  Regardless, it was a piece-of-cake and a picturesque drive.

We arrived to our lodging at El Silencio del Campo in La Fortuna around 7:00 that evening and Eliomar at the reception desk already knew about us and talked about David like he was an old friend.  He informed us that our cousin was taking a massage currently.  No suprise there!  He also told us that my cousin had been ziplining earlier in the day!!!!!  It seems that my cousin had taken Doug's pleas to heart and had stepped outside his comfort zone.  We said we'd believe it when we saw some pictures. 

While we were speaking with Eliomar, up sauntered my cousin with an Imperial cerveza in hand and looking all relaxed.  We exchanged hugs, caught up on the last 24 hrs., unpacked our bags and went in search of dinner.  Enroute to El Novillo steakhouse Doug started his usual exchange of describing how this and that weren't quite up to snuff with his expectations or former travels.  My cousin shared with him Grandma's secret to a long, happy life which was avoiding the 2 C's: complaining and criticizing.  Since Doug is known to do both on a daily basis (not bad but just little comments here & there) we developed a nickname for him whenever he engages in such behavior "Dos C".  Whenever he starts, we just yell out "Dos C" to bring it to his attention.  I also shared with my cousin that I had already given Doug another nickname earlier in the trip which was "Bart" and to call him it whenever he exhibits a Bob or Art-like characteristic.  Such as whenever he gets ridiculously cheap or whenever he focuses too much on poker. 

Our cousin had picked out a great spot to spend our time.  El Silencio del Campo had everything you could want and then some.  It was a cabin-room with enough space for the 3 of us, private bathroom, small fridge, TV (unnecessary), restaurant, pool and a volcanic hot pool.  The gardens were very well manincured as well.  You have to give it to my cousin, he can always find a nice place to lay your head and relax.

We had our churrasco steaks at El Novillo and the guys dropped me off at our cabin as they went in search of a 6 pack of Imperial and some cigars.  When they returned we were entertained by my cousin, who evidently has a big aversion to all things insect, trying to free our room from a cicada.
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trockie on

Para Ginny
Everything is staying zipped up. Tu sobrino es in control. You will get to see the pictures... no worries. Looking forward to hearing the new family member's name!

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