Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Travelog from the Past: Part IV

We are up as early as possible and after breakfast on the road. In retrospect I wish I had written down every meal like Annette did. I have checked my memories with Dexter's and we agree that the breakfast was buffet style with, of course, fresh tropical juices, rice and beans, handmade tortillas (so good, well it was all SO GOOD), stewed beef and more "regular" American food like scrambled eggs, bacon, cereal in a box, toast and coffee. I didn't have any of the coffee because, unfortunately my adrenals just can't handle it (I know you are thinking I'm a basket case) but it smelled fantastic and I did had a tiny sip, yum.
Today is River Rafting on Class 3 rapids. One of the guides, Pablo does a very funny intro, his delivery really hold the kids attention. I am shuffled off to a raft with 2 girls, a boy, Zack and a river guide, Luis. Once again we wear the ubiquitous yellow helmets which signal safety to the adventurous tourist but may not do so very much in an actual situation. Since this is river we wear life jackets too. On a raft you wedge one foot under the seat in front of you and the other under the seat behind you. We are given group commands to follow; forward, backward, left forward, right backward, stop, lean in, high side, get down. These the guide calls as he steers with his paddle.

Our boat gets stuck on a rock during the toughest rapids. We get unstuck but the boat buckles. The buckle makes me loose my "wedge", I loose contact with the seat completely and am thrown out of the boat. I do keep hold of my paddle and am able to grab the "Chicken Line" on the side of the raft. I get pulled along, bumping and scraping my knees on the bottom of the shallow rapids. Luis hauls me abroad. We are going along pretty well when suddenly I realize that Luis had disappeared, I put down my paddle and pull him in. He says the bumps he received to his ribs are nothing compared the the hard time his fellow guides will give him. We make it through the rest of the river without incident. Arriving at the river access to the hotel Pablo gives a speech about rivers and damming. At the hotel we are greeted by pictures of ourselves taken by the rafting company for 5 dollars US each.

Selva Verde is set in the jungle with the various units of rooms connected by covered passages. We all do a super quick change and enter the dining room just in time for the end of lunch. Annette and I are on chaperon duty for the rest of the day. The kids have a cooking class(empanadas), then dinner and salsa dancing. They are well occupied and the pace is beginning to wear on me. The jungle is green, and damp.It is gorgeous and loud with birds, insects and rain. I feel sad because I am too tired to draw. While walking along one of the covered passages I hear a thump in the foliage and find that an enormous, and I mean very very large, Iguana has dropped out of a tree and is unconcernedly making his slow way to wherever Iguanas go.

After dinner BF and I talk on the phone. The phone card he got is finally working, though I can barely hear what he is saying through the rain and the cars outside. It is the first months of our "courtship" and feels excruciating to be separated. OTOH my senses crave these new sights, sounds, and smells.

Since we are leaving for Punta Mona tomorrow we must pare down to the bare essentials. These instructions are given to the kids several times. We can only take as much as will fit in a small backpack. Considering the the usually outfits for the girls this could be two weeks worth of clothing. Annette and I are in charge of overseeing the boys and go room to room checking on their progress. Two of them are particularly rude, not letting us in and repeatedly calling us "Dude", which, I inform them, is not an appropriate form of address for an adult. We suspect that one of the girls is in their room and quickly check the whereabouts of the usual suspects to find that one is not in her room. On our way back to the rude boys room we pass her.....


Mary-Laure said...

I love your encounter with the iguana.
And that tropical buffet, with fresh fruit! A dream.

PJ said...

New cultures are always so exciting! How bittersweet to be the one to leave. I wonder how it would have felt if BF had been the one to go?? Great job, Diana. Keep 'em coming.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the time me and some friend went white water rafting at a nearby river. It had been a particularly rainy season and the rapids had gone up to Grade 6. It was so much fun!! We made it safely through the last 'S' shaped bend in the river, the trickiest of all. Some of my friends were not so lucky, their boat flew into the air as soon as they hit the bend, people and oars soaring everywhere. It was hilarious to watch, but not at all funny for those in that boat :p Luckily everyone came out OK. Great times!!

The iguana would have scared the daylights out of me!

P/S: Thanks for the Hans-candle. He's so lucky to have so many caring friends :)

d. moll, said...

ML-Yes, all the fruits were fantastic!
PJ-Oh, awful, if he were having the adventure and not me.
FB-Iguana was very nice, quite polite, in a reptilian sort of a way.