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Published: April 14th 2016
We were deep asleep. Someone started banging our door. I woke up in the dark and thought it was a robbery. I shouted, “Who the hell is this”? Dipankar was sitting on his bed. I jumped out of the bed; Dipankar said, be careful. I went to the glass door and moved the curtain. The day break has started outside. I saw a silhouette figure with a shawl wrapped around his head standing near the door. I didn’t open the door first, but shouted from inside, “What’s the matter”. The guy shouted back, “It’s your wake up call”, and then went to the next door to do the same. I was taken aback at this new style of wake up call. Perhaps this is the Costa Rican way! But how that can be? It was fine yesterday when the wake up call came over the room telephone. Then what happened now? I opened the door and asked the guy.
“What happened, amigo?”
“No electric power, no phone.” He answered.
“Why is that?”
“Look around you, amigo.” So I did. I saw tree brunches everywhere. He told that it was a bad storm last night that knocked off
the power supply for the entire hotel. That means no light in the room or the bathroom. I came inside to give the bad news to Dipankar. “That means water heater is off.” Dipankar said. That didn’t strike me earlier. “Oh, God…no hot water then”. Dipankar laughed from the bed…”I’m not taking shower today.” I had a quick shower in the semi-cold water and shave. “Get out of the bed and go and take shower,” I screamed at him. I have no idea when the power went off in the night; and most likely my cameras were not properly charged. I have extra batteries for my camera, but my sunglass video camera (aka spy camera) needs full night charge after each use of 3-4 hours. Today I was excited to experience the Superman Zip lining which is a new style of zip line and I wanted to capture it with my spy camera. Oh, well, I will try to use my Go Pro instead in case my spy camera does not work.
We finished our breakfast in the hotel and went out for a walk to check out the damages. The storm has knocked down the main power pole
near the entrance of the hotel. A big tree branch fell on the line blocking the main road. As a result, no traffic could pass through the road. Darn! That means we have to walk up to the main road with our luggage to catch the bus. Dipankar carried his luggage and walked to the main road to catch his bus. I went with him to see him off and to check out the scene. My shuttle for Extremo Canopy Tour will come around 10:30 am to pick me up, so I still have plenty of time to check-out. I came back and went to the patio to do some photography. It was a gorgeous sunny day after the overnight storm. By the time I checked out, the road was cleared of the broken tree and the traffic has started again. That means I wouldn’t have to go to the main road after all to catch my shuttle. I left my luggage to the front desk and hit the road.
I was bubbling with excitement. Extremo Canopy tour claims to be the longest zip line tour in Monteverde. Not only that, it offers a different posture that they call
Superman style. Unlike the traditional style, they fasten the harness in two places. First, they fasten the harness from the main pulley to the torso. Then an attendant helps lifting both legs so that the body stays parallel to the line. Both feet are then fastened with a secondary harness. Then comes the push and off you go like a missile! I haven’t done this style of zip lining in the past and I was looking forward to that. Besides, it is such a lovely day and it would be a lot of fun.
Once started, the first few spans I zipped using the conventional style where the body hangs from the zip vertically during the run. Yes, we need to bend our knees to get the optimum speed and effective breaking, but that is given. Taking shots around is not a problem with this posture, rather I should say it is much easier than the Sky Trek styles. I tried to turn on my spy glasses video. I heard a faint beep when it started. I was glad that after all it must be working. I realized that some spans here are possibly longer than Salvatura or even
Sky Trek, and in many occasions, I was zipping closer to the ground. It does not matter, the day was gorgeous with bright sun shining; and it was nice and warm with blue sky. I was enjoying every bit of it. I wish we had the weather like this for the first two days!
I found that the transfers from one platform to another here is different from Sky Trek or Salvatura. Usually, zip lining starts from the top of the mountain and we come down step by step near ground zero. Here, we were climbing up the mountain slope to reach the next platform. In some places, they were pretty steep. I had to stop few times to catch my breath.
In the final climb, we reached a platform which appeared to be the peak of the mountain. I looked around and the scene was fantastic. The platform was overlooking a valley. At the far end of the valley there is another peak of a mountain could be seen through a light patch of cloud. Though far away, I could see a platform on top of the peak. Two parallel zip lines run from this platform to
the other. The span between the two platforms is roughly 1 km. In between the two peaks, a green valley with dense flora lies 180 m below. I looked up. It’s a blue sky and nothing but blue. I realized that this is the jewel of the crown – supermen zip lining. I almost burst into excitement. Now it made sense why we had been climbing.
We were asked to wait until all the members arrived after completing their turns. There were few young folks before me. It was not a huge group as we had in Sky Trek or Salvatura. So, I figured that it would not be a long wait. I took off my spy camera and checked the LED if it was recording. Damn! The camera was dead. That means all this time, it recorded nothing. I should have turned on the Go Pro in the first place. Well, it was too late. At least I found this before my superman zip. I decided to fasten the Go Pro instead.
Then it was my turn. I stepped up to the podium. I told the attendant to tie the camera once I am in position. The
guy tied the harness from the pulley to my waist. Then he asked me to lean forward holding the rail which I did. One guy lifted my legs up while I was still holding the rail and keeping the balance. The guy tied my both feet using the secondary harness and hung them from the pulley. My body now was hanging from the pulley horizontally, slowly swinging in the air. I let go the rail. I could see the full valley under me. I had to lift my head slightly up to see forward. My spy camera would have been ideal for this posture. But it’s the destiny…must be my bad karma sometimes, who knows! I asked the guy to turn on the Go Pro and tie it to my chest facing downwards. The guy checked the camera and confirmed that it was working. Then he decided to tie the camera on my back instead of my chest. I didn’t want that way. But the guy told me, it would be better that way because the camera will record the front of the journey as I zip along. Ok, whatever! Yes, my hands are free, which is great! But I
didn’t want to take a chance to hold the camera in my hand in case I need my hands for something else. Rather, let the camera be tied on my back. I might as well enjoy the journey in such a gorgeous day. I will not get this chance to do superman zip line every day. (watch the video)
“You ready, amigo?” asked my attendant.
“Si,” I said. He was rocking my body slowly back and forth on the cable. He then made a couple of large swings and gave a hard push. I flew out like a missile! Wow, what a feeling. I was soaring like a bird over the valley at a high speed. I don’t need to do any control, just fly, fly, fly. My hands were free and I could clap, I could slap, I could dance my arms, whatever. Far below, the tree tops in the valley were waving their branches to cheer me up. The only sound I could hear is the gush of wind and the frictional sound of the pulley. I crossed half the valley and merrily continued. I could see the other end of the platform at a distance. I wished the journey never ended and went on forever. But I suppose all good things have to come to an end. The soaring eagle flew over the platform, overshot a bit and came to a complete halt few hundred feet beyond, still hanging from the cable. The attendants came and freed me from the harness and slowly brought me down to the ground. What a fantastic journey! I can live forever for this journey to happen over and over again. Had I lived in Monteverde, I probably would have come here on every weekend to repeat the superman journey. I waited till others arrived. Then it was a Tarzan slide far below to the ground level, which was another short lived excitement for me.
The shuttle dropped me to the hotel. My end of stay in Monteverde. I picked up my luggage from the front desk, grabbed a quick sandwich and waited at the front gate for my bus to Arenal. While I was waiting, I was thinking about the last two days, what a incredible journey it has been! True, it was a go, go, go all the time and I never had the time to think about it. Oh, man oh man, indeed a journey to remember! I had three zip lines in two days, climbing up and down the mountains umpteen number of times, got soaked in the rain, then the beautiful tree top walk, the fabulous butterfly garden, the sloths in the night, storm knocking the power off and the guy banging the door turning to be the human- wake up- call, meeting a whole bunch of interesting people during the last two days…it’s a bucketful of experience in a couple of days! Well, the fun has just started and I hoped it even gets better. I called Dipankar. He reached the Chirripo National Park alright. He was settling down for his two days climb starting early next morning. He said it was going according to the plan. I was relieved.
I heard the bus engine roared in the winding road next to the hotel entrance. I glanced at my watch. It was 1:45 pm. I felt a sudden void in me. I have to leave Monteverde. Yes, it’s a known fact. I didn’t come here to stay. I came here for fun. Then why does it pain? Well, that’s me. Only two days! But I fell in love with the cloud forest, the green valleys, the undisturbed flora and a tranquil lifestyle of Monteverde. This is a place where I could spend my pensive moods watching the fade-in and fade-out of the days. I know it’s not practical, it’s romantic and it’s like walking in a fairy-tale dream. But that’s me, that’s the way I am. With a heavy sigh, I slumped on my window seat and opened the shutter of my inner camera, the camera of my mind to capture the sights and sounds of Monteverde. I’ll store those pictures forever. They will never fade. And I will slowly open those treasures and watch them alone while walking on the crunchy Maple leaves in a golden fall afternoon.
The bus slowly rolled along the country road to Arenal.
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