Thursday, February 12, 2009

Costa Rica pt. 7: hanging around

[01/30/09; transcribed from my trip journal. Mouse over the pictures for occasional comments!]

Today we drove to the San Carlos Valley to hike through the rainforest canopy. We had the option of choosing a long, medium, or short hike; I decided to take the longest one. We saw a toucan and tons of monkeys, as well as this guy:

No, that’s not a turd; it’s a pit viper, and it’s deadly. Needless to say, I took full advantage of my zoom lens!

Even though it was really hot and humid, I was glad I picked the long hike, because it was stunning.

This was the first bridge we crossed, and as you can see, it wasn’t very intimidating.  That would change…


Cool shot, but taking it made me a little dizzy

My friend Roxanne is in the foreground.

Hanging on for dear fucking LIFE

Ahhh, now that I can live with!


Awwww, bless.

Ask your doctor if Boniva is right for you

Afterwards, I got a really good ice cream bar shaped like a clown’s head in the cafeteria, and then I hopped back on the bus for a drive around Lake Arenal.

A coatimundi

I have no idea what this is, but it looked cool from the window.

We stopped in the Guanacaste province for lunch. Yup, you guessed it: chicken and rice.

Back on the bus, Jose passed around samples of Costa Rican moonshine, which tasted like nail polish remover smells; I’ll stick to Coke, thanks. We stopped at an ice cream stand and I had my first licuado of the trip: lime juice with milk instead of water. It was excellent, but I only drank half of it because it was huge!

Just before we arrived at our next hotel, the Doubletree Resort in Puntarenas, Jose announced that it was all-inclusive. True, we’ve had all of our meals paid for anyway, but THIS place also offered unlimited booze, snacks, classes, and entertainment! A woman behind me groused, “He could have told us that before I bought all those snacks at the last stop!” and I thought, Really, lady? You’re gonna bitch about THAT?

After a brief orientation with the hotel manager, who passed out entertainment schedules and warm chocolate chip cookies, I headed to my room. It was still being cleaned, so I dropped my bags off and wandered around. I stopped at the bar and got an Amor Eterno: Bailey’s, Kahlua, and condensed milk. You’d think I would have had to wait for a long time, considering that the drinks are “free” and the bartenders can’t accept tips; you would be wrong. I waited 30 seconds, tops. The drink tasted like a boozy milkshake and was very strong.

I bought flip-flops and an internet card in the gift shop, and then I went to my room and freshened up. I was thrilled to see their toiletry selection: all Neutrogena products. And not just shampoo, conditioner, soap, and body lotion…oh no. They also had a tube of facial moisturizer with 45 SPF and a bottle of face wash! I happily stuffed my toiletry kit, and then I climbed into bed for a short nap.

The view from my hotel room.  This was one of four pools on the property, and it was also on the beach…so of course I didn’t swim once while we were there.

At dinner, I sat with a nice couple from Atascadero; she was a dead ringer for Jennifer Coolidge. It’s funny how many people on this tour have told me how brave I am for traveling by myself. If I was that brave, I’d have REALLY done all of this by myself, not gone on a tour! But I like the way this is set up, because I didn’t have to arrange the transportation (except my flight) and hotels and attractions. True, not everything we’ve done/eaten has been to my liking, but for the most part I’m having a blast, and it’s great to have a bilingual guide, someone who notices if you’re not around. If I was really by myself, and I got sick like that woman (who’s fully recovered and back with us, by the way), what would I have done? But still, I’ve come a long way from that girl who couldn’t stop crying during outdoor school and had to be sent home!

After dinner, I went to the amphitheater to see the “Vegas-style spectacular”. I got there a little early, and the previous show was finishing up: a tribute to High School Musical. There was even a Costa Rican teenager in a bad Zac Efron wig! I had just downed a Blue Lagoon, so I found this even more hilarious than I ordinarily would have.

The next show had an international theme: dancing (including the gayest man I’ve ever seen in my life; seriously, he couldn’t have looked gayer if he’d had a dick in his ass while onstage), a singer, and a guy who did the moonwalk on a tightrope. I left after his act because I was beginning to wilt on the vine.

…too bad, because it turns out that this is a big party resort, and this is the last weekend before the kids have to go back to school. (They get their “summer” break in the winter.) That’s cool and all…unless you have to get up at 5AM. I can hear the music from the disco in my room, and it is LOUD. My bed is actually shaking! I might have to take a couple of Simply Sleep if I have any chance of getting some Z’s before my big, monktacular (fingers crossed) day tomorrow.