Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Costa Rica - Part V - Zip Linin'!

Rock and Roll Casabas!

Pura Vida!  JJ here! Back again! More Costa Rica! Sheesh, you'd think JJ never goes anywhere, by the number of posts!  And you'd be right! So I'ma gonna just keep posting!

Zip-lining day! We get up, I go grab a bite to eat, my co-traveler is like "ah, I'm not a big breakfast guy, I'll just have a big lunch.." Ok, amigo!

We get on this bus, and drive north along the coast for about an hour and a half.

During the ride, we have a tour guide in the front of the bus telling us about the history of Costa Rica.  She is going on about the economy of Costa Rica, how its reliant on technology, tourism and agriculture.  Cool.  The same kind of stuff you always hear.  But then she starts talking about how these big companies are deciding what should be grown where.  And that they are choosing to grow more and more pineapples.  And that the way pineapples are grown there and with the pesticides they use, after a few years, the land is stripped of all nutrients and useless to grow anything.  And I am like, "That's cool! Getting the real lowdown from the locals!"  But she is speaking with a lot of conviction.  And I am rich North American consumer of said pineapples...  Hmmm...starting to wonder a little whether we are actually headed to a zip-line...  Next stop, hostage-hut?  No, no, just JJ paranoia!

And then...up a mountain.  Scary?  Sorta, but I gotta say, one thing about Costa Rica that somebody pointed out to me, and I agree with? The drivers are really not crazy.  They drive the speed limit, follow traffic signals, drive on the correct side of the road.  Which I did not expect.  Which is pretty culturalist or whatever of me.  But, in my defense, when I went to Italy, it was a gong show.  And Naples?  Could there BE any more infants sitting in front of their parent on a scooter as the parent goes through a red light?  I was terrified just to cross the street in that town!  And it wasn't a lot better in Greece!  On the islands?  Those drivers are maniacs!  "Why would I drive slowly?  I am only on the side of a mountain on a road with no guardrail! Opa!"

Of course these countries and Costa Rica have very little relation to each other, so it's a pretty poor defence.  I may even be making things worse.  But in any event, way to go Costa Ricans! You get JJ's "Safe Driving Certificate"!

Back to the story! We get dropped off at the restaurant you see above.  Sign these waivers! Important! And go pee, because no bathrooms on the way!  Especially women! know...

Head on down to the loo.  Hey what's that on the wall?


A big spider.  Well, I'm tough.  Not afraid of a mere spider! I go in and take myself a pee.  

After I got back, I took that picture and blew it up:

Probably not Charlotte

Yeesh.  It's all fang-y and stuff. If it had hopped on my shoulder I would have doubtless ran down the mountain screaming.  So I am glad it didn't.

Now let's go get strapped in to our zip-lin-y harnesses (I am pretty sure that is the technical term)! 

These guys are too sexy for their pants!

The dudes with the red pants are our instructor/guides.  We line up and they help us into the harnesses. I get to the front and the guy looks at me and then looks at his coworker and says something in Spanish and the guy says something back and it's evident that they need another harness for me.  The ones remaining on the ground weren't big enough I guess? Man.  I was like "now I know how Kevin Smith felt on that airplane." But I didn't tweet about it or nothing. And doubtless it was just because I have such strong broad shoulders anyways...

I am so happy they found a harness to fit me!!!  Thank you, red pant men!

Then to get to the first line we hop in this vehicle that looks like a terrarium on wheels.  I am the last on this thing so I have to sit on the "tour guide" seat.  Which is right at the front but facing everybody else.  And inexplicably lower.  So that my face is crotch level with everybody.  So I have to spend the entire trip looking anywhere but straight ahead, lest I be branded a "perv".  And its hot.  And the guy sitting directly in front of me, facing me, very nice guy.  But the previous day he had gotten extremely carsick taking a cab to town. So much so that he decided to take a Gravol before we left that morning.  And now we are off-roading. In the heat.  In a terrarium-truck.  So I am waiting for him to puke on my head.  But he doesn't! Thank you Gravol!

Then we get to the drop off area.  Put on helmets and gloves.  They give you one regular leather gardening type glove, and one with a thick piece of leather on the palm.  My thick leather piece is a bit old and kinda folding over itself, but no biggie, it'll do!  I think. I really have no idea.  But whatever!

I'm ready...I'm ready...I'm ready... 
(note how this picture is not terrible...and how un-coincidentally I did not take it)

We all gather around the first zip-line so the head red pant guy can give us the instructions on what we have to do ("pull down on zip line with thick leather glove to slow down - ease off to not slow down").   If you don't slow down enough, they have an emergency brake thing they use so you don't ram into a tree.  And if you slow down too much and stop before the end? You have to turn around in the harness and pull yourself slowly to the end.  And then we start going.  One by one.  While those who haven't gone yet watch the person. And all I am thinking is "Please don't over-brake and stop halfway down the zip line...please don't over-brake and stop halfway down the zip line."  My turn!  Zip! I make it to the next platform!  Relief! Plus its pretty fun!

Now, I was taking pictures while we were doing it. Just snapping one here and there.  I figured I took quite a few.  And I figured I would get some good ones maybe.  I mean, how bad could they be!?  And, besides, I was concentrating on zip-lining!  I looked the pics over later that day, when I got back to the hotel.  Well, I guess they could be pretty bad after all.  Behold! The JJ Zip-line photo album!

Is this why they call them thumbnails?

This one seems ok, although I am not really sure what I was aiming at.  
But still...hmmm...what is it missing?

Ahhhh! That's better!

We stopped about halfway down at this gorgeous pool that had a 20-foot waterfall running right into it. 
And where you could, and we did,  go for a swim.  
This is my picture of it.  Note: no waterfall in sight. It's somewhere to the left, I think.

And...that's it!  Those are all the pics I took zip-lining.  Needless to say, the running partner/photographer extraordinaire just shook her head in disgust.  Final review? It was very fun! Exciting!  Great way to see a rainforest! But it took about four hours.  And I hadn't eaten since 7:00 am that morning.  And my roomie hadn't even had breakfast. So if I had to do it again, I miiiiiiggghht bring a granola bar.  Or a box of Granola bars.  But after we were done, we went back to the restaurant where we were originally dropped off and had a delicious Costa Rican meal.  Which was great.  So there you go.

Next thoughts and...did JJ see a monkey!??!

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