Friday, October 14, 2011

flashback friday

This week’s post is from our second trip to Arenal (to read all about the first time we were there and how God saved me from zip-lining with what I thought was jungle rot, but turned out to be from squeezing a lime in a margarita click here) to see the volcano with the Costa Rica team and 3 friends who had flown down from Atlanta.  It was a great weekend with friends and we had a much better experience this time with getting to see the volcano so clearly and getting to see it erupt, although just reading about the zip-lining again makes my stomach do flips. 

I’ll never forget that jerk, Eban, and his torturous  laugh as I screamed bloody murder flying through the jungle. 


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Arenal- Take 2

The guys arrived from Atlanta on Thursday night with enough time to grab a couple drinks before heading to bed. I had booked a fairly early trip out to the Poas Volcano the next morning.

When we got to the volcano we were told it was releasing too many fumes to go up to see the crater. After standing around for just a few minutes it was obvious they were right not to let us up…

Our insanely annoying tour guide, Mike, gave us a few options and we chose to try to see the Poas waterfall. There had been an earthquake last year that caused devastating landslides in the area where houses, business and roads were destroyed.

To his surprise the road was open so we drove down to the waterfall. He decided to see how far the road had been cleared and we drove for what seemed like forever while he talked incessantly about what used to be there and how dangerous it was for us to be driving in the area- just what you always want to hear from a guide. Where the road used to be…

We finally made him turn back, but did get to see some other waterfalls along the way…

On our drive back we stopped at a local fruit stand and gorged ourselves on fresh cheese, fried plantains, mangos, bananas and strawberries. We also made a quick stop at a coffee plantation to enjoy the views and grab a drink. The highlight of our trip was really the views and the delicious cool mountain air…

The worker bees met us at the hotel later that afternoon and we piled up into the two cars and headed out to Arenal. Once we got close enough we pulled over with the other people on the side of the road and got our first view of the lava flowing down. It was awesome.

Our hotel sat just under the volcano on the side where the lava flows. It was amazing to watch and listen to it spew and spit boulder size lava rocks that rolled and crashed down the side of the volcano. Unfortunately it was not so easy to capture on film…

We were up early the next morning to take a nature walk around the grounds of our hotel...

We then grabbed a quick lunch and made our way to the zip lining place. As soon as the instructors started instructing I was starting to panic. I was going to be responsible for braking myself…and if I did it too soon I was going to be stuck hanging there and have to pull myself hand over hand to the next platform…uh, what?1?

As we ascended the stairs to the first platform my knees were weak and when we reached the top I had tears in my eyes and said I couldn’t do it. I’m deathly afraid of heights and have been my entire life. As a kid I wouldn’t even ride on my dad’s shoulders and now you want me to jump off this thing attached to a metal wire?1?

We had two guides with us and the very sweet one assured me that I could go with the other one, Eban. He would be with me the entire way.
That meant I had to go first. I screamed the entire way to the next platform and enjoyed it about as much as a root canal. It was also very clear Eban was not going to be nurturing me with my fears. Instead he was going to take pleasure in screaming out “no brakes!” and mocking me as I screamed in terror. If Hazel had not been in worse shape than me I would have demanded to trade him in for the sweet guy. Everyone else loved it though and really enjoyed the experience…

By the 5th or 6th line I was still just as scared, but at least able to stand on the platforms without feeling like my legs were going to give way. The 8th and final line I made Eban swear to be nice and tried really hard to enjoy the views and the experience. I won’t say I enjoyed it, per se, but I did feel less like I was plummeting towards my demise...

After zip lining we stopped at a restaurant and grabbed some much needed beers and had some delicious ceviche. Every muscle in my body felt weak so I chose to skip the old lava flow tour that afternoon. I felt like I had just finished the most grueling workout of my life. I guess that’s what happens when you have tensed every muscle in your body for 2 straight hours. Jules was still struggling with the virus she caught so we went back for a quick nap before meeting everyone at the hot springs.

The hot springs were a great way to relax after the day and the swim up bars only made it that much better. We were all exhausted so after dinner there we came back to the hotel and crashed.

We had amazing luck with the volcano. Normally the tip is covered in clouds, but it was pretty much visible to us the entire time. The weather held out and Saturday had been amazing.

Of course, sometimes luck runs out. We had a minor little issue with a car key on Sunday and spent most of the day dealing with it before heading back. But, we got back to San Jose by dusk and went out for a great dinner at a nearby Peruvian restaurant.

I hated putting the guys in a taxi the next day, maybe almost as much as they hated going back to work.

It's been a while since we traveled with a big group and it was great. We're so glad you guys got to come down!!

We had planned to go to the beach in Tamarindo this weekend, but after hearing about the 7 hour drive we decided to stay put and maybe try to see some of the attractions close by

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