Archive | October, 2011

Monteverde

30 Oct

My reasons for neglecting my blog are threefold.  (That is, three excuses piled on top of my general inability to see things through.)

  1. I’ve been unfaithful.  No one who knows me will be surprised by this, but I’ve been ignoring my blog in favor of something more exciting.  Most of my creative energy has gone into starting the second book in my series.  I should probably be focusing more on my Spanish while I’m here (Harry Potter y la cámara secreta isn’t going to read itself), but it’s not often that I have so much free time to write.  Which brings us to number two.
  2. My life isn’t particularly interesting.  As much as I love my host family and our proximity to a movie theater, Heredia’s a pretty charmless place.  The past couple of months have consisted of long periods of inactivity punctuated by occasional moments of awesome.  (The highlight of last week was a morning of looking through schoolkids’ hair for lice.  More fun than you’d think.)
  3. Occasionally crippling depression.  I’ll let Allie Brosh over at Hyperbole and a Half explain this last one, as she’s the only person I know who can do so with such endearing humor.

So what’s brought me back to you, loyal readers?  (Yes, all ten of you.)  I’ve come back to tell you about Monteverde, possibly the best place I’ve been in Costa Rica thus far.  I’ve been meaning for the past couple of months to take a weekend trip by myself, but hadn’t gotten around to it. This week I made a last-minute decision less than 24 hours in advance (due largely to my horror at the thought of spending another weekend alone in Heredia) and set off. 

I’d been hoping to meet up with some backpackers at the hostel, but didn’t even have to wait that long.  I spent most of the bus ride from San Jose chatting with a Danish girl named Emma, who happened to be staying at the same hostel as me.  We rolled in with the fog at seven that night, and the owner of the Sleepers Sleep Cheaper hostel was waiting to give us a ride.  For only six bucks a night, his family-run hostel offers a comfortable bed and filling breakfast. 

Emma and I elected to spend our first day wandering.  We hiked up the Amigos trail, where we were lucky enough to get clear skies and a spectacular view.

That afternoon, and each afternoon following it, I spent wrapped up in a cozy blanket reading A Short History of Nearly Everything and listening to the rain.  I was on my own for lunch–on my own, that is, until a baby-faced German invited me to sit with him.  Well, the first thing out of his mouth wasn’t and invitation but a question.  “Are you German?”  I replied that I was American, but he seemed content to eat with me anyway.  It was an enjoyable meal, with a lot of laughter.  I made fun of him for booking every moment of his vacation in advance, and when he found out that I’m only 19 he teased me with “…and that was the year I went to my first rave.  What were you doing?”  I replied that I was in second grade, learning about bees.  It was a good year.

I had dinner that night with Emma, our roommate (one J.D. from Arkansas), and a couple of Dutch guys.  It was a much fancier restaurant than backpackers usually allow themselves–my parmesan sea bass came with a delicious glass of white wine–but I had been craving a really good dinner.  The conversation was great; travelers are definitely one of the best things about traveling.

Emma and I were signed up for the earliest tour the next morning in the hope of getting good weather.  (We more or less got our wish.  There was a light drizzle, but that’s still incredibly lucky for the cloud forest in Costa Rica’s rainiest month.)  Our extreme canopy tour included a dozen ziplines (the last of these being the superman zipline, which is as close as I’ve ever come to flying) and a fantastic tarzan swing.

As much as I loved the views and company and adventure, the high point of my stay was a strangler fig.

Yep.

This particular strangler fig was a perfect 50-foot tunnel ladder to the canopy.  And it was incredible.