Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tonight is our last night in Santa Elena, the village bordering Monteverde, the "Cloud Forest" park reserve. It's been interesting, but not altogether without negative incident. Santa Elena is a location that definately keeps you aware of the rainy season. It's been pouring for the majority of our stay, and we also seem to have chosen to reside at the pension Grillparzer, minus the bear with the unicycle. The dogs wander in and out, everything is MOIST, and there are several scraggly, manky, unpleasant cats on site. Not to mention the perpetually stoned sex offender with HENRY tatooed in ragged black capitals inside his lower lip.

On a more positive note, the rainforests here are incredible. Yesterday we hiked through the sky bridge area of the Santa Elena reserve, and the views from the bridges were phenomenal. Last night we wandered over to the frog pond, in the company of a group of students who also attend Portland State. It was a really bizarre meeting, but yielded some much desired companionship. Costa Rica has some of the most repellent amphibians I have ever encountered, and frogs that totally glow in the dark.

Today Bobby and I rode a lurching, sputtering decommisioned school bus to the Monteverde national park, where we managed to hike for approxiamtely twenty minutes before getting caught in a torrential tropical thunderstorm (alliteration unintentional. Our apologies. - the management). This is definately much cooler in retrospect, considering that the hike was around three Km for the shortest route, and by the time we finished, we were drenched to the bone and freezing. For awhile, though, the thunder and lightning were directly overhead, and it was the loudest sound I have ever heard. Even after the storm passed (leaving the rain, however), it still left the distinct impression of wandering far too close to an active air force base.

We made it back to the main buildings just in time to miss the bus to the hostel, leaving us about an hour in which to freeze and impotently spot at our clothing with paper towels from the partially flooded restrooms. While I was involved with this sissyphian task, a maintainance employee (male) came charging into the (women's) bathroom to tell me that "Tres monkeys!!!" were outside in the tree. I think they felt truly sorry for us, and seeing how pleased we were with the monkeys, several of the employees lured me back into the forest, and proudly presented me with a poisonous snake. ("Aqui!! Mira, Miss Chica! Serpente! Mira!") I was, as can be expected, extremely grateful on the surface. (It was, actually, really, really cool.)

Tomorrow morning (6!!!) we start a long and arduous harrowing bus journey to the Carribean coast. As rad as the rainforest is, I'm sick of the attendant rain, and I think we'll have quite enough of that when we get home. Expect to hear from us next on a beach surrounded by belligerent monkeys with a profound disinterest in the respecting of personal space.

- E

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