Friday, November 5, 2010

Leg 3...Costa Rica

I am tired of speaking in third person.
Since we arrived at our hotel room after dark, it wasn't until morning when we realized that sleeping less than 2 miles from an active volcano provides a fairly magnificent reason to get out of bed.  We spent two nights here at the Arenal Observatory Lodge, which  grew out of buildings originally built for housing scientist and researchers from the Smithsonian Institute and Earthwatch.


We took advantage of the guided stroll that the Observatory offers to visitors each morning.  Eduardo, our tour guide who spoke very accented English, gave a humorous description of the history of the Volcano, only 50 percent of which we understood.   The fellow tourist in the yellow shirt is on an 8 month round the world vacation with his wife. I hope that Corey and I can do this someday.  Except, unlike his wife, in order to save the lifeforms in our vicinity, I will insist that Corey change his shirt occasionally.

One of us was too small to zip line, one of us was too scared, and one of us was a nice enough spouse to allow the other one to have all the fun.  While the other two were souring through the trees, the remaining three were enjoying a very leisurely stroll with Rudolpho, their tour guide, who must frequently be presented with some very lame tourists, because he assumed that he needed to explain to us that a spider has eight legs.  It took us 2 hours to walk a half of a mile.     I am pleased that we chose to mix some of our solo adventures with some guided adventures. It wasn't so much what the tour guide was teaching us, but the opportunity to get to know non-tourists.   Ansel still reminds us with atonishment that poor Rudolpho, who lives in a cloudforest, has never seen snow or leaves of autumn hue. 

The girls were thrilled that we had to pay for two of these rooms, giving them their own spacious apartment in the middle of the jungle. 
Ansel was thrilled with the towel swans.  It is always the little things. 

I will never forget the smell of this room key.  For the record, if you ever own a hotel, a large leather key chain is NOT a good idea.  It stunks, not to high heaven, but to low hell.   I made the kids sterilize themselves each time they touched the darn thing....which for some reason was quite often after I told them I didn't want them to touch it. 

Darkness fell by 5:30 each night and we spent these hours swimming in the pool, reading, and unwinding from the day.  
Our second night here, a torrential thunderstorm broke just as we sat down for dinner in the open  restaurant.  Ansel was too scared to eat, but staring in the face of such thunderstorm at the base of a volcano was a reminder of how our humanness is absolutely meaningless when compared to the power of Nature.  It was beautiful.

Shakespeare from The Tempest:
"Jove's lightning, the precursors O' th' dreadful thunder-claps, more momentary And sight-outrunning were not; the fire and cracks Of sulphurous roaring the most mighty Neptune Seem to besiege, and make his bold waves tremble, Yea, his dread trident shake."

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