Phoenix, Ben and I have been having a great time in Puerto Viejo. The small town is quite the tourist spot and I do feel like I'm on holiday. It's a completely different atmosphere to our little corner of paradise in the mountains. First, it's really hot and muggy. The temperatures seem to hover above 30°C/86°F all the time... even at night. There is no glass in the window frames... just screen mesh to keep the bugs out. I'm used to our comfy duvet covers at night, but even with the overhead fan above the bed, the thin sheet is not needed.
I've not slept well. Well, I slept very well from 10 pm to 2 am... that's when the rooster started his "wake up" song and dance.Then other birds would chime in... then the barking dogs (near and far). It was a cacophony of jungle sounds. And loud!!
Yesterday, we were picked up at 6:15 am by the white-water rafting tour company. We were ready! The trip up to the base camp normally takes about an hour and a half; however, the locals had blocked the highway in protest of something (not really sure what). They wouldn't let anyone pass. Our tour guides knew a detour, which we took. A half hour later, we are stopped at another blockade. Our tour guides and other people in cars got out of their vehicles to try and reason with the people blocking the road. The road was strewn with branches and logs. One guy had a machete and no one wanted to test his unpredictability. At this point, we were convinced the day would be cancelled and we'd have to turn back. We set up a different road, where there was another third blockade. This wasn't looking good. Then, the cars ahead of us starting moving... they let us through... AMEN!!! We were late, but we made it to the base camp in time to have a quick pit stop and woof down some breakfast. Then our guide gave us safety instructions, taught us the boat commands, handed each of us a helmet, life jacket and paddle. And off we went.
The rafting expedition (strong word, but I like the essence of it) followed 18 km (approximately 4 hours) down the Pacuare River. Apparently it's considered one of the best rafting rivers in the world. Because it's the beginning of the rainy season, the water is quite a bit higher than during the dry season and can provide up to Class 4 rapids in the section we were in (Class of rapids go from 1 to 6, 6 being for the ultimate expert. Class 4 includes long, difficult rapids, narrow passages, turbulent water that requires precise maneuvering and sends hearts racing). And Class 3 and 4 is what we got!
Between the rapids, we also enjoyed some calmer waters, too. It's hard to fully appreciate the scenery when you're hanging on for dear life and paddling like a demon, so it was nice to be able to coast and absorb the environment from time to time (and catch our breath). In this particular narrow passage, we were given the opportunity to get out of the raft and go for a swim, which many people did.
White-water rafting has always been at the top of my bucket list. It's just one of those adventures I'm drawn to. It did not disappoint! I loved every single minute of it. Phoenix kept saying she could do this for a living... and Ben, who wasn't quite sure what he was signing up for had a great time. I have both my sisters to thank for this amazing experience... it's my early 50th birthday gift... so thank you Lyne and Lucie!! A gift I will never ever forget.
I Skyped Kevin last night to tell him all about it and told him that if we plan all our vacation trips around white-water rafting, that would be just fine with me!
This morning, we'll have some breakfast, pack the car and off to San Jose to drop Phoenix and Ben off at the B&B near the airport. Today, we say goodbye. I will drive back to the mountains, back to Kevin and Frankie... back to my life. They will fly to Panama where they have an overnight layover, will stay in a 4-star resort, hang out at the pool and finish their trip together, having shared what I think will be the beginning of many travelling memories.
It's been an awesome week, it filled my cup and spilled over! Feeling so, so blessed.
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Dave and Krista are a couple from the Pacific Northwest that led overwhelmingly busy lives.
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