n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Friday, December 16, 2011

the mountain cloud forests

Okay... backing up... notwithstanding the fact that I am now on the Oso Peninsula and have already seen crocodiles, egrets, kingfishers, and swimming children... I will talk about the first part of my journey.

So, after arriving at Costa Rica Backpackers the first time, not sleeping well and fretting about my back all night, I got up at about 530am and caught the bus up to the mountains at 630, specifically a place called Monteverde, which means green mountain, and is two towns, close together, that are right on the edge of two cloud forests. It is supposedly the place to see certain unique animals like sloths and quetzals, although Ill quickly dispell any ideas you might be having about me seeing animals.

I guess the town of Santa Elena has been there for years, whereas the town of Monteverde nearby was settled some years ago by Arkansas Quakers who were briefly jailed for refusing to join the Korean War. Decided to go to a country where there was no army, they selected Costa Rica, and settled down to start farms in the area. I actually visited the lecheria (or dairy) run by the Quakers the second day I was there, and had myself a delicious blackberry milkshake and bought some gouda that supplied the cheese side of affairs for at least ten sandwiches Ive had since then.

The ride up to Monteverde was bumpy, that much I can tell you, but I was totally exhausted and slept most of the time, so I cant tell you much more than that.

Once I got there, the sun came out of the clouds and I walked around after finding a neat little hostel with clean beds near the bus station. It was strange because the sky was blue, but I felt a constant spritz of moisture, like light lawn sprinklers were poised just above me. However, it was warm and the trees were amazing so I wandered around town and took a look at everything after a brief nap at the hostel. Then I ate at a cute little spot called Cafe Maravilla, and again hit the pillow at an early hour.

The next morning I got up early with the idea that I wanted to swap hostels. I am still undecided about whether this was a good move or not, but Im going to call it adventurous and in the spirit of connecting with others. The pluses of my first hostel were that, for such a cheap price ($10), it was incredibly clean, I ended up with a dorm room to myself, and the breakfast in the morning was fine. The minuses were that I was almost the only person in the hostel (two couples other than me), and I felt like I wouldnt meet anyone, which is something I wanted to do... and second, there werent any comfy chairs to sit on and rest in between doing things.

So I traded for the lavishly recommended Pension Santa Elena, which is run by a Texan brother-sister combo. The pluses and minuses of this spot were pretty much the opposite of the other. Dank dorms with crummy beds, but lively activity and a sweet communal kitchen and common space. Like I said, Im not sure it was a good trade-off, but I did have several good conversations... ironically with Scottish couples (sister: check out Surf Louis in the inner Heberdies - the nicest travelor Ive met here, Rodney, runs the joint). Although I have yet to meet anyone to hang out with (until today, when I was asked by the proprietor of a surf school-tour spot to take pictures for his place in exchange for free tours. I blathered a bit, unsure whether my photography skils are up to snuff, but told him that I would go and do my best). But it was lively people (and dog) watching at the place.

Anyhow, after the first light spritzing of the afternoon walking around post-nap, the weather rolled in: high winds and pouring rains. And it never rolled out. Even down here at the Oso Penn., where it is warmer and muggier, it is still raining off and on and expected to through the weekend. In the mountain towns, it was cold on top of this, though not like home cold, just colder than I expected, and the cold I thought I was down with took a turn for the worst and turned into full-fledged coughing, which I still have. I wonder if its allergies though? Not sure.

So, my time hiking in the area was damp, to say the least. The first day, I hiked up the hill along the road, stopping at the little art and souvenier stores, the co-ops and one little resturant pastry store (pastry stores here are disappointing... the selections pretty lame, if you ask me). I then hiked over to the trailhead for El Bosque Del Ninos, which is the Childrens Forest, where some of the `save the rainforest` moneys go... apprently a good cause for eco-tourism. I hiked along its well kept and fairly steep trails, to the `mirador` where there were some exceptional views of the mountainside on down to... I think the Pacific Ocean! Water in the distance, at any rate.

Towards the end of the two-hour hike, I saw an agouti and a mama black-chested wood quail with chicks... both of which I had to look up in the books. Thats it for animals in the Monteverde area for me!!}

Afterwards I was exhausted and so walked just a bit further to the lecheria I mentioned before, where I waited hopefully for a bus that fortunately came. I went home exhausted, made a sandwich, ate it, then fell painfully into bed.

The next day was similiar, with a trip to the Santa Elena reserve on the other side of the hills... I took a shuttle this time, thankfully, and when I got there, took a trip along what basically became a streambed. It was POURING!! Beautiful, but hard to see anything past the close canopy. I rode back down to the hostel, went out for supper, hung out and people watched, hatched plans for the next day, then fell into bed early again.

Thats it for right now! Maybe tomorrow, I will catch up to today for my one or two readers?
Comments:Post a Comment