How it Started

When I was 12, I found a blank ledger book. It was a treasure beyond treasure to me. I debated and debated about what to do with it - it had to be something special. Finally I decided to make a list of things I wanted to do and places I wanted to see in my life and then cross them off when I had accomplished them. At first they were simple things, but soon I was adding dramatic things, impossible things, but things still worth dreaming about. Oddly enough, putting them on the list somehow made them attainable. I have kept the book and updated the list my entire life. Here is the story behind some of the entries - successes and failures, embarrassing and proud moments, laughter and tears - the ridiculous to the sublime!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spend the Night in a Rainforest - DID IT

We flew from Seattle to Houston to San Jose, Costa Rica, then boarded a small 12-seater for the last leg into the jungle to land at the Puerto Jimenez Airport located on the Golfo Dolce near the Panama border.  Every plane is met by the ground crew shown here.  They are fully equipped to handle any emergency - as long as it doesn't require anything more than a fire extinguisher and three orange traffic cones... that's it!  The pilots get out, stroll into the village where they use the toilet facilities in a villager's home. To buy tickets for the trip home, we went to the house (two rooms, dirt floor) of the local agent, gave her cash, she wrote our name on a list - she had a clipboard, so we knew it was official, and told us to watch for the plane the next morning "sometime."  The plane buzzed the runway once then circled back, there were two reasons for the flyover; 1) it chased the kids, dogs, pigs and goats off of the runway, and 2) it served as the arrival announcement, and, consequently, the departure announcement as well.  To board, we gave our name to the same village agent who crossed us off the list with her pencil - amazingly uncomplicated.

During our stay we rode horseback into the mountainous jungle to see coffee plantations and a tiny farm. We took a jeep safari through Matapalo, a huge jungle nature preserve.  We swam in jungle waterfalls and went deep-sea fishing (Dustin snagged a Marlin, we saw the fin, but it escaped) and we became converts to the wonders of fresh-caught yellow-fin sushi.
Poison arrow frog

We saw and heard bands of Spider Monkeys, Squirrel Monkeys and Howler Monkeys in the trees.  A playgroup of juvenile Squirrel Monkeys edged closer and closer to the hairless apes gaping up at them from the base of their tree. When they were nearly at arms length the adults dashed down and chased the brave little explorers back to the safety of the upper canopy.  We saw jewel-colored poison dart frogs up close, toucans in the trees, and moss-covered sloths hanging from branches. We stopped in the road to let a troupe of coatimundis scuttled across. 
Howler Monkey
Scarlet Macaws hung upside down from almond trees to get a better look at us as we walked near their crowded colony, and they woke us in the morning with their loud plans for divorce - bird style!  Dozens of vibrant colored parrots fluttered from tree to tree, and the haunting calls of the Howler monkeys rolled like waves of sound through the jungle.  We were warned not to get too close to the Howler trees as they were known to fling feces at intruders. You don't have to tell me twice!
 We stayed in a small cottage in a clearing in the jungle.  Before we left home, our teen-age sons were heard to say, "Do we have to go?"  By Day Three of our stay they were heard to say, "Do we have to leave?"  It was a wonderful adventure, thanks to my lifetime friend Karen, who seems to turn up in many of my adventures!

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