Day 4 in Costa Rica — I Lost Something Because I Was Doing Something Cool

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I’m finding that it’s tough to fall asleep in Costa Rica. Maybe it’s because this trip has us swinging from one extreme activity to another. I swore I woke up at both 1 am and 3:45 am thinking that it was time to get up and tackle the day! No dice Gringo. I still had to wait for the 5 am alarm to go off. So I toss and turn and score a nap here and there but alas, the Sandman has come and gone. Holy crap was I bored at 4:45 am. I spend the next 15 minutes deciding how I’m going to convince my new roomie that he has to use his own towels because the lodge didn’t provide any towels. That’s a straight up lie. I’ve been using his towels for the last two days. How am I going to tell him that I brought two complete sets of towels? And why I used of all them in one night? A mind numbing conundrum indeed. One that’s going to have to wait because my alarm goes off and I’m out the door!

After the long hike from yesterday I decided to take it suave suave and hang out on the hammock until breakfast. With nobody around, I thought this would be a perfect time to, literally, just hang around. Just me and the morning instruments of the jungle: the rush of the rapids, the roar of the nearby waterfall, the chirping of birds flying overhead, and the creaking of the hammock as I rocked back and forth. And I can’t forget the pitter patter of this guy’s little paws on the wooden deck . . .

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This little furball’s name is Bobby! I’m not sure of the breed (Pomeranian?) or his age, but he is one cute little fella. My travel doctor advised me not to pet any dogs due to risk of contracting rabies from a bite. But look at him!

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This little “football-with-legs” is too cute to have any aggression in him. How could an adorable little rascal harm anyone? Here’s how: When he was snacking on some left over bread, I knelt down to pet him and . . . he snapped at me! The bastard almost took my finger! Good thing I was fast enough to move or I would have a “shocker” of an experience : ) Bobby was lucky that I LURVE dogs, or I would have punted him into the rapids!

After my little spat with the overgrown weasel I was bored again. Half an hour until breakfast and I’m awake enough to do some physical work. Let’s build an inukshuk! What’s an inukshuk? Wikipedia defines an inukshuk as a structure of rocks that may have been used for navigation, a point of reference, a marker for travel routes, fishing places, camps, hunting grounds, places of veneration, drift fences used in hunting, or to mark a food cache. I’m going with the reason “not to kick Bobby into the river.” : )

MOMENT OF ZEN: I’ve never built an inukshuk before so I start picking rocks that would have good stability, and would support other rocks. I would start building my structure, find that it is shaky, and then rebuild. I found some rocks just didn’t fit the inukshuk I envisioned. They were good rocks, but I had to discard them in order to have a well built structure. I tried breaking some of the rocks that I wanted to keep in order to salvage some of my work, but I found it easier to just let go and find more appropriate rocks to fit my masterpiece. What an appropriate analogy for life and people. I think it is safe to say that when we build our circle of friends we look for stable friendships with other people. People who are reliable, caring, thoughtful, and generous are usually the core characteristics we seek in our building blocks of friends. However, sometimes the people we want in our lives just don’t fit, and have no intention of fitting. They don’t support our envisioned life, they tear our dreams apart, and they rot our foundation of happiness. Try as we might we cannot change these people or force them to fit our lives. To do so would entail us to focus our energies on changing these people, then to change ourselves to accommodate them. Our connections with the people who do fit our lives start to erode, until our lives are left with people who just won’t fit. That’s not how I want to build my circle of friends and I wish the same for you my dear reader: a life filled with people who support you, cheer you, love your faults as much as your charms, and will always forgive you. People who want to fit in your life and make every effort to do so is what I wish for you and your loved ones. : ) PURA VIDA!

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At 8 am we have have a hearty breakfast of eggs, french toast (in Costa Rica?), and bacon. I also had an opportunity to meet some business students from Germany who were part of our Active Adventure Group. Being a seasoned professional in finance with an education similar to my new German friends, I had a ball answering their questions about education and possible career paths. I LURVE mentoring people at work and in the colleges back home. I feel like I’m giving advice to a younger version of myself. The question that my new friends had for me was “What do most people do after their undergrad?” My answer was this: “Well young padawan.” (Yes I said that shut up.) “What do you want to do?” “I just want to know what most people do.” “I’m not concerned with what most people do. Whatever you discovered in school that makes you happy is what you should do. : )”

As an aside to the “younger version of myself” comment . . . if you know me like you know me, I look younger than I actually am. Like 10-13 years younger. I still get ID’d when I buy liquor! You remember the saying “I wish I knew then what I know now.”? I can actually say that and mean it! However, I think “Present Day Chris” can kick the crap out of “21 year old Chris” any day of the week. Period. From here to Costa Rica to Winnipeg and back again. I would destroy my younger self in all facets of life: education, career, physical strength and speed, and all around gusto. What is my secret to staying young? Here it is: As my TeamBushidoMMA teammate @MaseAllGo says — Ask yourself “How can I be better than the latest reincarnation of myself?” I’ll leave that to you to explore and find meaning : ) Oh and I drink the blood of bats. Why do think I’m in Costa Rica : D ?

After breakfast our team packed up all our gear and headed for more rafting. This time in Class 3 and 4 rapids! And we tackle them like champs! PURA VIDA!!

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We also had a chance to stop at another waterfall and take some sick shots!

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The above pictures show just how beautiful Costa Rica is and how much fun we were having at that moment! We filled the jungle with sounds of laughter, cheers of “PURA VIDA”, and a symphony of loud splashes from each one of us diving into the cool and refreshing pool! I live for these care free moments. I think I actually flew that day!

One of the last milestones on our rafting expedition was to jump into the Pacuare River and let the current take us down the river. I’m glad to say once again that Team Power Rangers was the only raft to have everybody participate! I’ve jumped off a cliff with these people! Damn right I’m going to plunge into a river with them. That’s how we roll : ) It’s MORPHIN’ TIME!

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Here’s a an newly discovered joy that I experienced: Tossing someone overboard. I love that. Sneaking up on a raft and pulling someone over. I encourage anyone and everyone to try it sometime! Only on your friends of course!

At the end of our rafting adventure we parted ways with our guides and had lunch back at our base camp. Two people lost something in the Pacuare River. I lost my watch, and the person that I helped throw into the river lost his digital camera. Crap! My cronies and I felt bad so we put together some cash to right our wrong. As for my watch, I could have felt bad. But I just said, “At least I was doing something cool when I lost it. It’s a good excuse to buy another one.” We all lose things in our lives. Watches, sunglasses, jobs, loved ones, etc. Just think to yourself “At least I was doing something cool when I lost it. It’s a good excuse to get another one.” Positive thinking people. It works. PURA VIDA : )

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But the adventure isn’t over! It’s just after lunch we are on route to our next stop . . . the Magsaysay Lodge in the Sarapiqui Rainforest! Getting there was an adventure itself! We had to take a four hour ride to our new home for two nights. A two hour bus ride, then a two hour tractor ride . . . in the rain! Here’s what the tractor ride looked like:

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At this point I embraced the rain and the lightning. But I kind of hesitated when I was told to get in a metal cage so we can ride out in a thunderstorm! Thankfully we had a Mathematics and Physics teacher with us. He explained to me that the construction is called a Faraday cage and it blocks electric fields by . . . . zzzzzzzzzzz . . . . Here’s the link if you want to know more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_cage YAY Science!

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This was the first time I ever experienced passenger participation on any vehicle. Because the road was slippery and narrow, we all had to move to the left of the Faraday cage to prevent the entire vehicle from rolling over! Success! We avoid death again! The second near death experience was when we all had to get out of the cage, run across a small bridge, and wait for the tractor to come across. If we had stayed on, we would have been too heavy for the bridge and we would have fallen to our death. I LURVE this adventure!

We finally make it to our destination in the rainforest. It is a family owned , multi-room lodge complete with a rooster, no laundry facilities, and no internet. Perfect!

We spend the evening eating dinner together (fish, rice, and beans), playing card games, and dancing. Here’s a life tip from Chris: DO NOT PLAY A CARD GAME CALLED MIRANDA. It is boring as hell. I won’t get into how to play it, but if someone wants to teach you how to play Miranda, run the other way. Trust me ; ) For the ladies, the same goes for you if a man asks you to try the “Costa Rican Flexibility Test.” : )

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MOMENT OF ZEN: I know. I already had a moment of zen today but being uncomfortable and unfamiliar in an new country really had my brain going. So here goes: In the conventional sense, there was nothing perfect about today. I lost my watch, there was a mean thundershower for the better half of the day, we almost died twice on the tractor, someone lost a digital camera and all his photos, and we said goodbye too soon to some new friends. However, maybe that’s neither the point of this trip nor life. Maybe there’s no such thing as the perfect anything. Job, woman, man, house, car, weather, etc. The ambitious pursuit of anything perfect is noble and courageous. But maybe we’d be happier if we took more time to appreciate what we have, and not worry about attaining something “bigger” or “better.” Maybe that’s why “Tico Time” exists. People take the time to appreciate life — all of it’s faults and charms. Maybe that’s what I’m here to find: not a perfect experience. Just an experience. : ) PURA VIDA.

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