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2008-02-06 - 5:46 p.m.

Right, I'm determined to at least write about one more day in Costa Rica this evening. It's so hard to get anything done after work- well, that's not entirely true, but you can't go for a run, cook dinner, watch TV and write in here. There's not enough hours in the day.

Mon 7/1: The group split up today to do basically whatever they wanted to do. We had to organise ourselves (or Silvia had to organise us) in the short amount of time between when we got to our accommodation in La Fortuna the previous day and when most of us went walking through the forest at the base of Arenal. Ursula and Joanna opted for a day of canyoneering and whitewater rafting, while Deb, Catrina, Emma and Ian decided to stay close to home and explore the surroundings. I think they all went to the waterfall, and Emma and Ian walked further to an adjacent summit to Arenal.

The rest of us- ie Michael, Margaret, Robert, Bruce, Jo and I went rafting (the tame variety, not the whitewater kind) down a river. It rained a bit, and we got a little muddy, but it was thoroughly enjoyable. We saw howler monkeys in the trees, plenty of birds, and even a very small crocodile on the bank of the river. After about an hour of paddling we stopped at a farm run by a 95 year old man and his 3 daughters. I think these days the guy just sits in his bedroom out of the heat, but you can sense his pride that all these visitors are seeing his farm. So when the raft ride was over, we headed back via an area packed with Iguanas, which was also pretty cool. That felt like a full day in itself, but by the time a got back to our lodges it was not even midday.

So after having some lunch (actually, I didn't because I'd snacked on good cheese and plantains at the farm) Jo and I decided to check out Catarata de La Fortuna (ie La Fortuna Waterfall), which was a definite highlight. It poured down rain on us several times as we walked the steep track to the falls, but it's not like we were cold. Never believe any distance markers you read in Costa Rica. 2km may well turn into 5km- and it's quite amusing when you're travelling a long distance in a bus and the mile markers actually go up as you get closer to your destination. The lookout to the falls was good, but I'm glad we walked the 600 steps down to the base of the falls. I don't think I've ever seen that volume of water cascading down- I suspect the likes of Wentworth Falls is higher, but this was far more impressive. And I went for a dip as well, before tackling the 600 steps back up.

We probably had about an hour between getting back from the waterfall in need of a shower (or at least a towel) and heading into La Fortuna town for dinner. This was pretty much the first time that all of us including Silvia went out together- which was nice since La Fortuna was her town. I had an awesome seafood concoction served in a coconut- with a whole crayfish perched on the side, and looking around the table even the boring sounding dishes (eg Tandoori Chicken) looked fantastic (if a little unconventional). That night was also the first night anyone did any serious drinking, not including Jo and my first night in San Jose. Joanna, Ursula, Jo and I shared some red wine, and Jo and I also had a cocktail, and by the end of the night those of us who stuck around were drinking shots of Guaro (sugar cane liquor) with beer chasers. That, incidentally, was at a Karaoke pub. It was just Silvia, Joanna, Ursula, Jo and I at that stage. Silvia sung a latino song, I sung "Creep" with Ursula chiming in for the higher-register bridge (and singing an Aerosmith song herself), and the two Jo's fumbled their way through "Mrs Robinson"- confused by the fact that the words on the screen were not-quite-right.

I had a good night but I felt it the next day.

 

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