Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Costa Rica: River Rafting and Onward to the Pacific

Monday, Jan. 20, 2014

Today we had a two-hour safari float on the Rio Tenorio.

Our first transporter was Erik, who picked us up at 6:50am. About two hours into our travel, he stopped at a small town for a snack break. We were not hungry after having eaten a large breakfast at the hotel. It turned out he had not eaten anything yet. He was consuming a hefty meal. It would have been fun to eat with him.

As we continued the drive, Erik would give a brief history of this town or that. Also he stopped our car so that we could get out and see a two-toed sloth crossing the road in the rain by hanging from the power lines. We stood there without umbrella and rain gear and took pictures. It was a steady drizzle. 

During the next hour of the drive, as we were coming down from the mountains, the weather changed to dry, sunny, and hot. When we reached the rafting site, Erik introduced us to 2 other transporters. He unloaded our luggage and drove off.

Our two new transporters were Diego and Salim (Tom heard Alan, but to my ears Salim). Diego would point out highlights of our travel. Whenever we hit an especially rough patch in the road, he would blurt out, "Yeehaw!" (cowboy style) which amused us. Quiet Salim/Alan told us that he would be our raftman. He asked us if we were married. Then he asked us if we had any babies. When we told him we had four, he exclaimed, "Four babies!”  When we told him we were grandparents, his eyes got big.

This was a WONDERFUL and such a peaceful raft ride down the river. Just Tom and I and Salim, who loved what he was doing. He said he was on vacation every day, and he gets to exercise the whole time rowing for us. He would point out interesting trees, such as mahogany, balsa, cashew, and paprika. He stopped for animals such as crocodiles, howler monkeys, various types of iguanas and oh so many different kinds of birds (blue heron, kingfisher, osprey, ibis, tiger heron) for Tom to take pictures.

He said because it is dry season, the river water is much lower. He learned to speak English by talking to people while going down the river.

We stopped for a snack.
Salim cut up a fresh pineapple,
and we drank orange juice.
After a two hour ride, Diego met us. He said he napped waiting for us to come down the river. So he was happy and chipper, and Yeehaw-ed when he saw us. So these two drove us to a restaurant for a meal. Then they drove off.

So what happens now! We were eating our lunch but wondering where our connection to our final destination was. I asked the restaurant host if we have our luggage. He said Yes. OK now what!!? When we were almost done eating, Diego and Salim/Alan drove up. I was a bit relieved. Now I could ask them what happens to us!

Diego told us that he would be driving us to the town of Tamarindo on the Pacific coast. Whew!!! Now the car was in full A/C. It is hot, dry, and sunny outside!

We made a brief stop in the city of Liberia, where Tom bought a charger for his iPad from a street vendor.

Then on to Tamarindo and the Pacific.

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