On the way to the rain forest

It was such a great surprise to have Carolyn fly to Costa Rica just to visit us for the day. Mark captured a lot of our time with Carolyn in the posts he wrote. I (Tina) wanted to add a few more stories about our day with Carolyn.

We were the first ones to be picked up by the tour van and we headed into the heart of downtown San Jose, Costa Rica, to pick up the other passengers. The van driver wove in and out of traffic, coming within inches of other cars, as well as the motorcycles zipping by on either side.  Carolyn was sitting in the middle, between Mark and me, and had a full view of the road. With a gasp she cried out "Oh, oh, that was so close to that car. Oh, watch out for those people!" I told her that pedestrians do not have the right of way (at least, in practice) and they need to watch out for the cars. I said "It might be best if you don't look out the front window. Just look at me and focus on the conversation."  Every once in a while she would look back out the window and a motorcycle or two would whiz by on either side and cut right in front of the van. She would just say, "Oh, oh my, oh-no, oh!"

After we were out of downtown and on the freeway, it was pretty smooth driving. As the van drove through the rain forest preserve, on the way to our drop-off point, we drove across a low, flat cement "bridge" that was about the same level as the river. The river flowing under the bridge was rushing pretty good and was almost spilling over the top. I wondered out loud, "I wonder if we'll be able to get back across this if the rain gets heavy?"

As the tour progressed, the rain did start to pick up. That was a bummer, not only because we got really wet, but the animals also hide from the rain - so we didn't get to see any monkeys, birds, sloths, etc.

After the tram ride and lunch, the guide took us on a walk through some of the forest. Near the end of our tour, he mentioned that we might have to take a hike across a swinging bridge to get to the other side of the river (a pretty good distance away). "Umm, what?" I said.  Leo (our guide) stated, "Well, the cement bridge is under water right now and the van can't get back to pick you up. Ok, friends, follow me, we are going to see the butterflies and frogs."  So, the group went to see the butterflies and frogs while we waited for the river to (hopefully) recede. Sure enough, an hour later, the river had gone down enough for the van to cross over.  We made a hasty exit, giving Leo a ride as well.  The driver didn't want to get stuck on the rain forest side of the bridge.

After we had returned to Caroyln's hotel, had dinner, and visited for a while, it was time for us to go. We needed to catch the last bus out of Alajuela, which was at 10:30 pm.  Since it was Sunday, we didn't think the bus would be very full - but it was packed out!  We couldn't even find two seats together.  The bus ride usually takes 45-55 minutes - sometimes longer if the bus has to stop a lot and let people on/off. Well, this night the driver must have had a hot date because we made it back in 35 minutes!! He was flying around the twists and turns of the road.  Mark had the suitcase we brought laying on the floor in the open area designed to accommodate wheelchairs.  On one turn, the driver was going so fast that the suitcase slid clear across the aisle and hit the side of Mark's seat.  When the driver stopped to let people off - he stopped quickly and only long enough for their feet to hit the ground. When it was time for us (and others) to get off, we stood up to get prepared to get off in a hurry. The bus stopped short, once again, causing me to fall backwards into Mark. Mark fell back and grabbed the seat back to keep from falling on the floor.  Tired as we were, we didn't fall asleep on this ride home...

Just another adventurous day in Costa Rica!

Posted by Tina