EWH Summer 2011 - Central America Blog
This weekend, all of the students participating in the program took a trip to Monteverde, the cloud forest, in Costa Rica. We had to be up very very very early to catch the bus there but here is how it went:
We woke up at 6:00 am to catch an early bus to the station. The bus station is in a sketchy part of the city so we had to take a bus to our usual stop then catch a cab from there to the station. One of the boy's group was going to get there first to be sure that we ladies weren't there alone. They themselves went out there to get the tickets a few days earlier and felt very uncomfortable themselves! Once we got there, we went ahead and grab some snacks for the road, waited for everyone, then got on the bus! Unfortunately, they sold us more seats than there actually were on the bus so two people had to stand up for the 4+ hour  bus ride through the mountains. We stopped after 2 hours for a break (and a bathroom which was needed badly!) but it was still fun! The roads are not as paved as you would hope so for some of the ride I was very queasy but still having a good time sitting with my partner Leah :). We FINALLY got there and the hostel we are staying in had a very nice, cabin like feeling. The place was opened to the outside to an extent and there were 3 beds to a room, but we managed four people per room.  We ate at a local restaurant (rice, beans, meat, and plantain which were all amazing!) and had a couple hours to kill before the tour of the cloud forest. Unfortunately, I didn't budget for regular prices for the tour of the forest so Anjuli and I stayed behind and checked out the town and browsed the local shops. The cloud forest is often described as having characteristics of the amazon but without the animals. Because the cloud forest is very high up in the mountains, animals typically do not live there other than birds and some other wildlife. BUT LUCKILY as some of the other students were leaving the reserved, A MONKEY came out of nowhere and made a quick guest appearance. Anjuli and I had a great day with walking around the city looking in tourist shops. I was able to pick up a couple of things. As we walked further, we ran in an Inc-an side store. They sold all hand-woven materials from bracelets to bags. It was a little hole-in-the-place but very cool things. I've only seen the imported goods in the states but this time I actually saw the back of the store where they were weaving and creating these wonderful gifts to be sold. I was tempted to invest in a rug but realized the budget wasn't there plus I have no idea how I would get it back to the U.S. with my 1 bag limit. Still, it was very nice and a good change of scenery. We got back to the hostel before everyone else and I had a chance to write out a postcard to my loved ones, but was immediately falling asleep in the process which ended up with me taking a quick nap in the room and waking up to the roomies calling for me through the window. A few of us lounged around in the open "living room" and watched a movie in spanish then X-men Wolverine in English. The other half of us walked around the city at local restaurants and bars for the night just enjoying each others company.

We woke up early to have breakfast as a group at the hotel then head out at 8:00 for zip-lining. This would be my first time zip lining and I was incredibly nervous. We all bused over to the site then took another bus up further the mountains into the forest. We were all given the basics about how to be positioned on the zip line and how to move faster, brake, and the hand signals. You're suppose to have your strongest arm behind you to break and the other hand holding on to the cord knot which is usually near your belly button. To go, we held a circle with our fingers around the cord, less grip on the cord = faster and to break 1 handed, just use that arm grip and pull down on the cord. If it still isn't enough, use the other hand as well BUT NOT IN FRONT OF THE WHEEL ON THE LINE otherwise you'll end up with a sad story how you lost your fingers zip-lining. We did a few practice lines just to be sure that we got the hang of it. IT WAS NERVE RACKING! Being up so high over the trees :p. The first line I could hear my heart pounding in my ears but as soon as I started on the line, it was such an amazing sight. The view from up above was beautiful! Now that I think about it, I can't believe I was high that high in a harness sliding down a line. After the first 3 practice lines came THE REAL STUFF! The lines got longer and higher up. There was one where I felt like I was in a glass bottom airplane just looking down at the tops of the trees and seeing birds flying by. From one line to another, there were a few instances where we had to walk through the path in the forest and I had the opportunity to take pictures of the forest and wildlife around. The scenery is just breathtaking. I love seeing all of the flowers, different types of plants, and even butterflies. There was one line where it was muy largo and we had to partner up. One person was in front only holding onto the cord hoisted on them and the other has their legs wrapped around the others waist and is controlling the breaking and speed. I had Sam behind me and I would have to call out the signals as I see them. It was awesome! (and Leah got it on video!). Lastly, we had the option of testing the "Tarzan Swing". It's basically just as it is named, where you are latched onto a rope but you jump off the ledge and swing back and forth. Every time you get ready for another line or for the jump, I get extremely nervous and can hear my conscious telling me "OH MY GOODNESS! What are you doing?!" but I completely ignored it and went ahead and jumped every time. Standing at the edge was the WORST because you know you are going to be dropping down and usually, you're first instinct is to not be so close to the ledge. As soon as they said "GO!" I jumped off and screamed! I could feel my stomach jumping but it was absolutely awesome and I encourage EVERYONE to try it at least once! Personally, I am excited to try it again!
Afterwards, we waited and watched everyone have their turn and took pictures then headed back to the main station where we would bus back to the hostel. Since the bus back to San Jose didn't leave until 2:30 PM, we had 2 hours to kill in the town. We were all adrenaline-drained and I for one was ready for a long nap. Leah, Catalina, Anjuli, Mindy, Liz, and I stopped for food but Leah, Catalina and I found a place to sit and sat down for about an hour just chatting. We finally got up and walked into the local shops browsing their goods and tried to kill time until we could take a proper nap on the bus. By that time, I was ready to topple over and pretty much asleep as I was walking. The bus finally came but once again, there were not enough seats, this time 4 seats were unavailable. Cliff, Gavin, Tom and James all stood for a majority of the ride back but definitely made it look like a fun ride. Tom was able to open the hood (size of an emergency latch/door) enough so the boys standing up had air but became more creative with its use and decided to hang from the ceiling AS THE BUS WAS MOVING. It was so entertaining, the locals who were riding the bus as well were taking photos of the tourist hanging from the ceiling. Imagine that conversation later on when they show the photo to their friends! Speaking of which, it was mind boggling when the bus would pick up people then drop  them off in places that were very random and almost in the middle of nowhere on the mountain. Quite a few of us were very confused. 6 hours later, we made it back home! All of us were extremely exhausted, but then realized we have another week to do it all over again :)

9/3/2012 09:48:17 am

THX for info


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