Tuesday, January 22, 2008

un viaje recordó


I’ll try to make this quick.

we arrived at the airport in pants and sneakers and t-shirts and the sun burnt down on us but it was without harm, like a gentle blessing beaming through a hole in the sky. we hopped on a shuttle going straight to Montverde. from the airport it was all paved. I stared from the window a while and then read a book. she slept on my shoulder. I rubbed my cheek on her forehead. just as we began climbing the mountain to Santa Elena the road grew holes and pavement gave way to dirt and earth. tress grew wild beyond the cliffs. the driver said in broken english that the ride would grow bumpy and slow. I asked how to say slow in Spanish. the driver said lento. I made a mental note of that.

when we arrived at the hostel it was night and the insects screamed out from the darkness of the forest. our room was four walls and a bed and a shower that dripped weak cold water. we laughed at the luxuriousness of it all and put down our bags and went to dinner. by the time our plates had been scraped and our heads were floating in cheap beer and whiskey everything in the small town was cerrado. there was no where to go except an empty local bar where they played loud merenge music and the bartenders spoke no ingles. we went in and tipped a few more back then retired to our palace, tired and drunk, a film of dirt covering our skin.

the next morning we woke up early. we hopped on a shuttle with 6 other people who spoke english. we arrived at Selvatura and settled into our tours, first one being the zip line. I'm not sure yet what picture I will post for this entry, but if its one of me doing the zip line, gather how epic soaring from 10 stories above the rainforest must feel. There were moments of calm where I, hanging loosely from my gear and sliding down the line, would lose my breath and surrender to the silence below me. You marvel at it all as you would anything that defeats what your imagination provided. the grandness of nature, the peace and violence of the wild, far under you as you move in comfort across the cold blue sky. I never once felt I would fall.

that night we went on another tour. this one a walking tour, through the rainforest holding onto nothing but flashlights and our wits. it rained and the wetness falling rumbled beneath the conversation of wildlife in the trees and dirt and the holes burrowed along the path. we saw a viper hanging from a tree in attack position. a tarantula scurried from me as I tried to take a picture. a sloth sat, unmoving at the edge of a high limb. a scorpion glowed on the stump of a fallen tree.

that night we went back to the local bar and had a few more beers. there was nothing open with food save this barren diner with no tables or chairs, just a television and a counter and a small room with curious pinball machines that the local’s gambled on. we ate fried chicken with ketchup and drank wine from styrofoam cups.

the next morning we made the trip to Mal Pias, a small surf town on the tip of the Costa Rican peninsula. when we arrived the sun hung large and fiery in the clear azure above the earths horizon. the air was warm like a blanket. our friends were already at the villas. our room was wide and majestic. there was a private patio overlooking the beach and sea where we would later smoke cigarettes and talk about the future and the past and kiss open mouthed with only the moon as our witness. there was a large bathroom with a shower big enough for two. we opened a few beers and sat in the hammock enjoying the heat and letting time fall loosely from the sides of us like meat from a well cooked bone.

we went to a cafe every morning and ordered cups of cafe con leche in broken Spanish even though the baristas spoke perfect ingles. in the afternoon we would walk to the beach and dive into the warm surf letting the salt wash our eyes, giggling. the tow was strong and unforgiving. far out beyond the beach I panicked, flailing in the water. a series of waves escorted me back in and I never again went further than a surface beneath my feet.

one day we drove to Montezuma and hiked up a mountain to a waterfall. hugging the stream, finding holds in the rock that were sturdy enough to support us. asking each other did we pass it? how much longer? donde esta la cascada? then finding the waterfall and the Tico children jumping from the top of it howling from their darkened bellies all the way down 50 feet and crashing deep into the water. we were too afraid to jump from that high. she jumped from 20 feet. I jumped from about 40. it took us half an hour to work up the courage. standing on the side of rocks looking down at the water, murky yet clean, small burst of nervous laughter and looking at each other dripping wet saying with our eyes its ok, you´ll live. I promise.

it might be that picture I post. We’ll see.

the final day and on the way to the cafe we saw a howler monkey hanging on the electrical wires that crawl along the tops of the road. we stopped and stared at it for a while before we realized it wasn’t moving. she frowned and a jeep drove by and a thick cloud of dust rose up and consumed the howlers drooping body, limp y still en muerte.

On the trip home we took a small boat from Montezuma to Jaco. we had to stand in the water on the beach then board the vessel with wet feet, sunglasses sliding from the tips of our nose. our luggage was wrapped in big black hefty bags then tied so that if they fell off the boat they would float in the ocean, ready for retrieval. I took off my shirt and let the sun beat a dark brown into my skin. she pointed to a whale and I turned quickly shrieking donde? donde? but it was submerged by the time I faced where it was. she laid her head on my shoulder and rested. I rubbed my stubbly cheek on her forehead. the ocean was a glassy blue and stretched far beyond the shore of mountains, further than the clouds in our eyes. endless.

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:gray matters: by jkg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at downtownalleys.blogspot.com.