Day 9 in Costa Rica — Bring the Rain!

This is me looking for creative ways not to die : )

This is me looking for creative ways not to die : )

Here we are on Day 9 in Costa Rica!  I’ve done A LOT on this trip so far but I realized that I have yet to do something that I always do when in another country . . . . run!  I’ll be honest with you I HATE running in familiar surroundings.  Running in my neighbourhood is great for the first three or four times., but then the scenery becomes repetitive and I get bored.  And when I get bored fatigue starts to set in quicker.  That’s why I always need new places to run in.  The scenery will keep my brain off the time and distance, which will aid with prolonging my endurance.  Running with super cool people helps a lot too.  Stimulating conversation with good peeps keeps the fatigue away : )  Too bad I’m flying solo this morning, but I’m not going to let this opportunity go to waste!  Time to tear up these streets!  PURA VIDA!

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Watching the sun rise is a one of the simple joys of life that I enjoy!

Watching the sun rise is a one of the simple joys of life that I enjoy!

In addition to watching the sun rise during my run, I had the pleasure of playing charades with a local Monteverde resident.  I was able to use my well-honed charade skills to find out that the coffee shops opened at six in the morning!  I’m finding conventional modes of conversation are boring when compared to our fun, childhood guessing game : )

I found something on this mountain that you will rarely see back home in the major cities in Canada.

This brought a tear to my eye!  Why can't we have this back home?

This brought a tear to my eye! Why can’t we have this back home?

No words can describe how beautiful the above picture is to a motorist : )

I didn’t have an actual destination for this little adventure of mine, so I decided to try and find the highest point in Monteverde within the 1 hour I had.  Guess what I found?  A children’s school!

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I thought that having a school at the top of the town was a neat gesture towards the importance of education.  On the other hand, if I had to walk up a steep hill to get here everyday, I’d be calling in sick to school EVERYDAY.   Just think of all the little kids who have to complete the same trek!  And the parents who have to accompany them!  What a workout!

Time to return back to the Hotel Amanecer . . . and I had three companions to escort me back home:

Two kind stray dogs . . .

Two gentle stray dogs . . .

. . . and the Costa Rican Sun : )

. . . and the Costa Rican Sun : )

So the first adventure of the day is pretty “suave suave” . . . a visit to the Monteverde Nature Reserve!  A lush rainforest full of monkeys, tarantulas, creatures with 16+ legs, and a view you wouldn’t believe!  Words definitely cannot describe the wonders of this forest:

Creepy crawly creatures . . .

Creepy crawly creatures . . .

. . . hairy caterpillars . . .

. . . hairy caterpillars . . .

. . . some lush forest . . .

. . . some lush forest . . .

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. . . and Photobombs! : )

The highlight of this experience in the Nature Reserve was having our guide poke a random hole with a stick to get a tarantula to come out.  And man was this thing huge!  It’s wild to think how something as big as my hand can kill me in instantly.  However, I’m not one to test this predator’s killing prowess.

This thing was scary as hell!

This thing was scary as hell!

And this is what tourists do when faced with imminent danger . . . Take a photo!

And this is what tourists do when faced with imminent danger . . . Take a photo!

So after a suave suave morning it was time to go ZIP LINING!  F********CK YEAH (there goes the 10 year old boy in me again) !  The idea of flying through the rainforest at break neck speeds gets me so jacked up for adventure.  What are we looking forward to on this second phase of our day?  13 zip lines, rappelling down a HUGE tree, swinging on a vine like Tarzan, and flying through the air like Superman!  Let’s kick this off with another bad ass group shot!

Friends who fly together, stay together : )

Friends who fly together, stay together : )

Zip-lining is super fun.  It’s even more awesome when you have to go tandem!  Then it’s two screaming people for the price of one : )

Netherlands and Canada teaming up for this 50 second long zip!

Netherlands and Canada teaming up for this 50 second long zip!

Off they go!

Off they go!

Amazing amazing amazing time with my team zipping from tree to tree.  And then it started to rain.  I think having wet steel cables made us go faster!  It was tougher to break because the equipment was slippery, but our minds were more focused on the tasks of going really fast and not dying: )  BRING THE RAIN!

After about 10 zips we get to our next challenge: The Tarzan Swing.  The challenge was to leap off a platform high in the air and swing like a pendulum  until you are ready to slow down.  Like my waterfall rappelling adventure from a few days ago, you had to give yourself up to gravity and the rope in order for you to indulge in the thrill of the activity.  And, like my waterfall rappelling adventure, the same teammate started to have second thoughts.  On our waterfall rappelling adventure I was kind of bummed that he chose not to continue due this fear of heights.  F*CK THAT.  I went first last time and he bailed and robbed himself of an exciting time.  Not this time.  This time he’ll go first.  Whether he likes it or not : )  So being a person who is in front of 20 people waiting to do the Tarzan swing, I didn’t want my soon-to-be-2-time-chicken-champ of a friend to give in to his inhibitions.  So I act: ” THIS LINE ISN’T MOVING UNTIL YOU GO!”  Oh sh*t.  I went and gone did it now.  Not only is my team cheering him on, the 20 strangers behind me are giving my teammate the stink eye.  So, he says “F*ck it.  Let’s do it.”  He marches up to the swing, gets strapped in, and jumps . . . . AND THE CROWD GOES WILD!!!!!!! The whole line cheered him on!  I was so proud of my friend.  He didn’t choke this time!  And he swung on the vine LIKE A BOSS.  I really felt that my teammate overcame his fear.  I hope he felt a thousand feet tall for doing it.  I for sure know that I did : )  PURA VIDA!

"If you can make one heap of all your winnings and risk it on one turn and lose, and start again at your beginnings and never breathe a word about your loss yours is the earth and everything that's in it and, which is more, you'll be a man, my son."  -- Rudyard Kipling's "If" paraphrased by Grampa Simpson (Simpsons reference!)

“If you can make one heap of all your winnings and risk it on one turn and lose, and start again at your beginnings and never breathe a word about your loss yours is the earth and everything that’s in it and, which is more, you’ll be a man, my son.” — Rudyard Kipling’s “If” paraphrased by Grampa Simpson (Simpsons reference!)

Now it’s my turn . . . Holy sh*t I was scared.  Leaping into the unknown, going all in with gravity, and trusting the rope.  As I double and triple check my harness all I hear is “Ok Amigo” and the guide’s knee hits my back . . . he kicked me off the platform!  And that’s exactly what I needed.

This is my PURA VIDA : )

This is my PURA VIDA : )

After beating death once again, my team and I had smiles on our faces as we finished the remaining cables save for the last one . . . the Superman Zip Line!   Since I was a kid I’ve always wanted to be the Man of Steel.  I watched and read any and all media that featured the comic book hero.  Just picture a fat nine year old boy with a cape and that’s my childhood!  So instead of zipping with your feet forward, you strap yourself face forward on the line and go.  I really felt like I was flying over the rainforest!  I don’t know how fast I was going but the rain drops felt like needles hitting my body.   It was very comfortable but I didn’t care.  It’s just me, the sky, and the jungle . . . and no kryptonite : )

What a great day in Costa Rica!  I had a very memorable morning jog, stood at the highest point of the country, swung on a vine like Tarzan, and flew through the air like Superman!

MOMENT OF ZEN:  One of my favourite memories of this trip was not giving up on my friend at the Tarzan Swing.  I was just paying forward the “tough love” that I’ve been blessed with by the awesome people in my life.  Many times I questioned myself, my choices, and who I was.  I’m thankful for those in my life who challenged me to be better.  To my family, friends, teachers, bosses, coaches, and competitors . . . I say “thank you” for kicking me off my platform of comfortability so I can make mistakes, experience life, and grow as a person.  My days aren’t always filled with sunshine and rainbows . . . but I’m perfectly comfortable dancing in the rain.  And on this day, I learned I can fly.  PURA VIDA : )

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