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Published: March 26th 2016
“That’s it! These two guys are going to fight each other to death during the trip. “
“You know, even if they do survive, that would be the end of their friendship…what do you think?”
“Absolutely, they won’t see each other’s face after they return, I can bet.”
“Well, let them go! We will watch the fun from the sideline”.
This was the conversation, and possibly wishful thinking of our respective spouses before Dipankar and I headed out to our fun-trip to Costa Rica. The spouses had a choice of joining us, but they declined. No, Dipankar and I didn’t kill each other during the trip and we are very much alive. We had fun of a life-time and we are living happily ever after as good friends!
This is a preamble.
I don’t know many people who don’t want to get away from the bone-chilling temperature of Calgary in the winter months to travel to a warmer destination. So, we decided to travel to Costa Rica, Dipankar and I. Dipankar is an avid mountain climber and I am an adrenaline junky. We planned to
combine our mutual interests so that Dipankar would join part of the trip to enjoy zip lining with me and then he would head out to climb Mount Chirripo. I will continue with my zip line expedition and we meet again in San Jose to travel to Tortuguero together. The plan clicked very well.
We were to catch a very early morning flight from Calgary to Houston on 28th
December. A dusting of snow and a light blizzard was going on since the evening before. “Who goes to the airport early in the morning in this cold and snow? Let’s stay tonight at a hotel near the airport.” Dipankar said to me. Not a bad idea, I thought, but the expenses would go up. When I travel alone, I am probably the most miser person in the world trying to save money in the hotels and air tickets. I recall, once I nearly slept on the sidewalk in Kow Loon to save some pocket changes. When Dipankar cut a deal with the Delta at the Calgary airport to stay for the night, hey, I knew for sure, this kind of opportunity does not show up in my
horoscope every day. I grabbed the luggage and jumped in the cab with Dipankar to head out to the airport.
We all know that, air travels are not fun now-a-days, rather it’s a pain in the back side. But I tell you, I don’t recall a time when I had such a relaxing time in a hotel knowing so well that I don’t have to wake up in an ungodly hour in the morning to rush to the airport. We took a leisurely walk to the check-in counter next morning to catch our flight to Houston. San Jose
Flight from Houston to San Salvador was uneventful. We reached San Salvador in the evening for a transfer to San Jose and the transit passengers were also required to go through the security check. San Salvador airport does not carry x-ray machines to check hand luggage and that means every item from our luggage were out for hand scrutiny. So be it, it is the law of the land and you follow through!
We Landed around 9:00 pm to San Jose. It’s more than fourteen hours since we left Calgary
in the morning….I could reach Hong Kong from Vancouver by that time. We came outside the terminal after the formalities were over. Wow! What a lovely warm weather outside. Coming from bone-chilling Calgary, I wanted to jump up and down. We were not tired, rather we were bubbling with excitement. The hotel sent us the transport and when we reached the Cristina Apartments, we met Roy in the front desk. We were guided to a suite and…we loved it, two bedrooms with a large living room, decorated with comfortable couches…fantastic. Too bad, we have to leave for Monteverde tomorrow morning. “Don’t worry, we will give you the same suite when you come back”, Roy assured us. Really! I was taken aback! I must admit, Dipankar has a good luck with the hotels than I do. What a great start! Monteverde
Our first stop was Monteverde and we had a loaded program in Monteverde for two days we were going to stay there. Three zip lines, butterfly garden and the night jungle tour. The shuttle service came to pick us up from Cristina Apartments sharp at 8:30 am. I was wearing a base ball cap
with a logo from a Canadian news group. I told the driver that I am working on a documentary (which was a lie) and I have to take photos and videos. As the reporters are given special privilege for making documentaries, I was given the front seat near the window. I fixed my video camera on the dashboard and I was taking shots through the front window. Besides, I was wearing a sunglass with a built-in video camera to take more shots from different angles. That was plenty of gears to convince our driver and earn my reputation as a journalist who is supposedly making a documentary on Costa Rica, A little lie gave me ample of opportunity to watch the landscape outside and take photos. We reached Monteverde in the noon time after a short lunch break on the way.
The Trapp family lodge was a delight. Spread across a large compound with gardens with beautiful flowers, the cottages were short walk from the front desk and away from the regular traffic. The mountains not-so-far-away with the dense green vegetations were half covered with grey clouds. Light fog was rolling in the lower section of the
mountains and kissing the green tree tops. One Robin was dancing from one branch of a tree to another in the cottage compound. A short spell of rain showered the flower garden a little while ago. Rain drops are still slowly dripping down from the tree leaves. Everything looked so serene, so peaceful. This is a place where I can take a chair and watch the days go by. I don’t need to talk to anyone, I don’t need to hear anything…only the sound of silence! I can quietly watch all the colours of this universe, all the shades of pastels being constantly painted and erased on the canvas of nature from dawn to dusk! I wish, I had some time to do that in this somber afternoon. Zipping in the cloud forest
Dipankar and I both ran to the front gate where the shuttle was waiting to take us to the Sky Trek for zip lining in the cloud forest. After the initial orientation, we boarded the sky tram which passed through the mountain slopes and trees to take us to the mountain peak. Well, not quite, the sky tram took us to
a point where we got down and climbed up to the peak. In some cases, there were wooden stairs and the rest we were walking on some pathways. A couple from UK were with us in the sky tram. Four of us climbed up to the peak. It was all cloudy, visibility was almost zero. No wonder they call it the cloud forest. I could see only a few feet of the cable then it has disappeared in the cloud. About a 100 meter below I could see some silhouette of the dense forest. I have done zip lining before, so I didn’t find it scary at all; rather, it was all exciting! I think Dipankar was excited as well. We let the UK couples make the run before us. Then Dipankar flew like a missile. Within a second he disappeared in the cloud. I was the last to jump. One large push and off I go! Whizzzzz…zipping in a cloudy sky with a foggy dense forest down below. I was rolling on the zip line at more than 70 km an hour. I couldn’t see a thing! Human speed is sensed by the brain only when it compares the
body movement with an object. Nada! No object, only the cloud. It was only the sound of the pulley and the pulley itself was giving me some idea that I am moving at a very high speed. While I was zipping through the cloud forest, I was slowly turning around my own axis as the earth rotates. I could control the rotation by guiding the pulley, but I didn’t. Let it be! I was enjoying the whole dynamics. I could feel the air gushing at me as I was moving through the cloud. Small water particles were pinching on my face. I think the longest span was 800m. The forest was 100m down below. Within half a minute, I reached at the other end. Attendants braked the cable and I came to a standstill while hanging like a monkey from the cable over the wooden platform. I came down from the harness. Dipankar was taking the video. Even I had the sunglass video on me, but I was pretty sure that no useful clips were recorded in such a poor visibility. I couldn’t care less about the video, as the fun has just started.
Zip lines have
different styles. In Sky Trek zip line, the harness come below the butt in a way that the body is almost parallel to the zip line, knees folded and body is half crouched slightly facing the sky. It’s difficult to take video from that angle, whether using a handycam or a sunglass video. Well, in the next few runs, we got used to it. I was glancing sideways hoping that the sunglass video will record something. I gave the camera to Dipankar when he was ahead of me so that he could take a clip when I am approaching the deck. I did the same for him. Sky Trek has total 8 spans and it takes almost 2 hours to complete all the spans. Every span is a lower elevation from the previous one, so that with the last span done, one is almost at the bottom of the hill. By the time we were done all the spans, sun was just going down the west horizon.
It was a bundle of excitement. It was the first zip lining for Dipankar and he has enjoyed it thoroughly. We went back to the hotel and afterwards we went
to ‘downtown’ Monteverde seeking a good place for dinner. Monteverde has a typical hill station climate. Fogs are rolling in and out. Sometimes it starts to drizzle and then it stops suddenly as it starts. Then perhaps the fogs start roll in again. The downtown part is very small, if one can really call it a ‘downtown’. This is a tourist hang out and all shops around the downtown cater their needs, tours, mementos, food, you name it. We found a nice restaurant, but it was crowded. We had to wait a little longer to get a seat. But the food was excellent. On the way back to the lodge, we took a cab as it was dark and real foggy, and there is every chance that we may miss our hotel. Fortunately, it didn’t rain. But the rain was waiting for us on the next day when we started our journey in Salvatura Park.
The next one is about my exciting zip lining in Salvatura Park, tour of Butterfly garden and more. Plenty of fun! Stay tuned.
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