Sorry about the lack of posts, things have gotten busier! This weekend we went to Monteverde, which was about a five hour drive through the mountains. We left right after lunch on Friday, but still ended up getting caught in the rain. We hired a driver for the weekend named Max, who we are pretty sure was our guardian angel, which I'll get to in a minute. Everything was going fine--just watching movies, until we get to a part of the road that had construction signs all around. We continued on to find nothing but dirt roads in the works of real roads. Add in winding winding winding curves, high slopes, steep hills, and cliffs on either side of us and you pretty much got the picture. It started raining and so the roads got muddier. All of a sudden we started sliding and fishtailing back and forth coming literally a foot from the edge of the cliff. It probably doesn't sound as scary here, but I have NEVER been that terrified before. We all were panicking and my roommate was up in the front seat trying to translate what our driver was saying. Right at the second I thought we were going over the edge we somehow stopped--and got stuck. After about ten minutes we were able to get someone to tow our van up to the top of the hill. Here's where the guardian angel comes in--max had us get out of the van and walk/slide down the hill while he risked crashing again by himself to get us down the last dangerous hill. We all made it, but it was so scary!!!!
So after our adrenaline rush settled, we finally made it to Monteverde. Our hotel was beautiful and we only paid $50 for the whole weekend per person. Hydrangeas everywhere, a view of nothing but rainforest, and floor to ceiling windows all around our room. After eating dinner in a treehouse....literally a restaurant built in a tree, we went back and settled in for the night
Saturday was a full day. It started at 7:00am with a hike/tour through the rain forest. Our guide Melvin was so great, he found everything from monkeys, tarantulas, and vipers, to walking sticks and a toucan! It was so much fun and it was incredible to actually be IN the rainforest. We learned alot about Costa Rica's forestry and global warming. The preserve we were in was called the Cloud Forest which meant we were walking in clouds most of the way. He told us that the humid sea winds from the Caribbean come to Monteverde and create the clouds. Throughout the walk it was lightly raining from the clouds which we learned the Ticos call it "pelos de gatos" rain or cat hair rain because of the soft feel of the rain.
Its hard to explain how beautiful it was, but I will try to post some pictures so you can see. That night we went on a night-hike with Melvin again and saw a sleeping porcupine and a SLOTH. He was so determined to find us a sloth. It was just waking up from his day's sleep. We saw a lot of other night creatures like snakes, spiders, etc.
Sunday we went on a bridges tour which consisted of 14 swinging bridges that hung over the canopy. After lunch and walking around tour we loaded up with the help of Max and started for home. We took a different way home--thank goodness! These roads were much nicer, which we found out later were on the land that was mostly owned by Americans. That was a little disheartening to see that the parts we thought were the nicest weren't even inhabited with Ticos. I don't like to think that other countries are buying up the most beautiful parts of their land. In these parts, the poorer looking houses were pushed off to the edge of town. I have noticed that in Costa Rica there isn't a separation of the poor and rich into separate neighborhoods. There definitely are nicer houses, but Ticos don't seem to be ashamed of the poorer people like many people in the US seem to.
We finally made it home at around 8 before the other group got back--it was nice to have the house to ourselves for a little bit.
Today was another so-so day at the nursing home. The schools are on vacation for two weeks so we have extra help which is great! We are going to start planting trees around the home so we are thinking of some crafts we can do with them. It still is frustrating, but I am trying to be more positive about things. My friend Mary wrote me today and said, "Sometimes its the things we dislike the most or think we are getting the least from that end up teaching us the most." I am really going to try and keep this in mind and stay positive (Thanks Marebear :D)
Sorry about the long post today! Thanks for the messages--I appreciate it!