Some funny things happened to me on the way to "the mountain" last week in northern Costa Rica...the types of things about which I can think of nothing else to do but chuckle, maybe laugh. Yes, laugh - what else is there to do?
First, while eating breakfast waiting for the cab driver to carry me to the Rincon de la Vieja National Park, my brand new camera, in my possession for less than twenty-four hours, was stolen out of my backpack. Shit. Well, it was hot-pink anyway, and its theft probably saved me a lot of explanations.
Then, when I got to the park, I was informed that camping was no longer allowed anywhere inside the boundaries. So I set up camp in the parking lot - not the ideal place, but still high on the mountainside with good views of the sunset and the land below. However, it turned out that the tent which I bought was more of an "on the beach, sun-shade" type shelter with only three walls and flimsy poles. Talk about a learning experience on spending money - you get what you pay for, I guess - this thing had cost me about six dollars. For an extra twenty dollars, I probably could have found a real tent to keep out the no-see-ums and mosquitos and ticks and other small animals...but I had a great, unobstructed view, which was nice. Until the wind picked up after sunset and collapsed the poles on top of me all night long. Literally. So much for me learning to make good, safe decisions.
But the hike through the forests of the park and to the top of the volcano and along the crater rims was unforgettable - lush jungle teaming with birds and rumors of large predatory felines, sounds of hidden wild turkeys running over dried leaves (making me think constantly of large predatory felines...and their claws and teeth), moonscapes bleached white and purple by the sun, blasted with 40 mph wind, reaking of sulfuric steam from the active crater.
It took a long walk and a couple thumbed rides (one on the back of a dirtbike), but I made it back to town and to the boat. We've now made it to our last stop in mainland Costa Rica, in the Gulf of Nicoya around the middle of the country. We're here to take advantage of one more grocery store and one last swimming pool (at the marina) before leaving Friday morning for Cocos Island (250 miles offshore, called 'the most beautiful island in the world' by Jaques Cousteau) and then the Galapagos Islands. Adventure is sure to come...as if I can't construct it anywhere I go.