The bus dropped us at the bottom hills of the jungle mountain we were
about to explore- Nature’s hum of wet wildlife in humid air sounded from a distance. We loaded into the “Jungle Limo” (bed of a 4×4 pickup) -four
on each side, facing in. The rock road curved and twined up the side
of the mountain, a few feet from the ledge. Looking over the drop was into a
grassy over-growing green abyss. Thin white cattle grazed, tip-toeing on
the verge of a fatal plummet. I could almost see the 400 lbs of beef
stepping on a loose rock and ending it all for himself. ¿I wonder
how the other cattle would react?
The women across from me had massive breasts kind of covered by her pink tank top and long blonde hair. They did NOT jiggle… at all. It was like they were too serious, or petrified with fear, while the rest of the truck shook and jived like a maraca of the happiest mariachi band in the world. As the truck chugged along, we passed wooden homes roofed with jungle leaves, straw and bamboo. Una niña leaned over the porch calling for attention. She had maybe 4 years. Glowing with the biggest, most innocent smile, she waved. She smiled bigger and brighter when I waved back. #Gringolove
Twenty minutes later we are strapping the harnesses on, tightly
securing me, my future, my future me, all of the above. Tico
instructor Diego explained the instructions, sternly and thoroughly.
It mostly made sense. We began to hike through the machettied path.
There were 4 waterfall cliffs to conquer.
The sounds of flowing water grew closer with each step. We hopped into the
pooled water to get started. The first fall was maybe 35 feet, I
estimate the water cut through the rock at a 60 degree angle. It was
“all about technique.”
The second cliff was very high. 250 feet, but to me it looked higher.
Without a word, Tico instructor David clicked the carabiner in, balanced and took the leap of faith off the cliff. Before I could bat a lash, he was out of sight, down into the misting heat of the jungle. Then, bouncing down the rope playfully and “woooooo”ing. For a few hundred feet, splashing in and out of the waterfall, David canyoned downward.
Diego: “¿que es proximo?”
Joey: “Mi” said with diffidence.
I had to get off that platform. That platform was where all the fear was. I
stepped to the ledge and told Diego to repeat the instructions. I
wasn´t exactly convinced that was ALL I needed to know, but still I
stepped back, lifting my heals over the edge and yanked the rope 8
times. My arm held behind my back clutching the brake rope. I pushed off,
jumping backwards into the air filled witha symphony of bird calls, monkey
play, and hundreds of insects making insect noises. I was amazed how far off the cliff I was.
I pushed off too far… I clenched the hand brake rope. Ah crap,
that was too abrupt, I´m tarzaning towards the rock wall. legs!
absorb. smack of wet moss to the face. puussshh. SHIT! too far
again, brake. OMG, Not again! ahh waterfall watering me! Yummm, I
was thirsty. Ew, too much sweat. Wall. catch and push, better and
Suspended in the heights of the tropical jungle I looked down the repel rope that faded into a tiny man bellowing encouraging spanish.
Loaded with adrenaline I stuck the landing and smashed my fist into
David´s. “PURA VIDA!!” and it´s echo.
Later was buffet of tipicale plato Costa Rican food. Later that night we went to a Tico bar called Rockoco´s. One of the blonde Tajo girls was having a sloppy good time. I loved how much energy she had, the lack of shame, the confidence in her dance moves and singing, but man was she getting out of control.
Tico dude came over, hunched, gangly, and super thin mustach. He wore areaopostle. I was having a great concersation with the Calgary dude, but Tico wanted our attention. With the most surface topic imaginable “where are you from?” He muttered. I guess the middle of my sentence was interrupting the beginning of his. I politely held up my hand to him and said “not now senior” and continued my story. He then started touching Calgary´s tatted arms and applauding them with his minimal grasp of ingle, assumably in hopes to build a connection to us. “Hey Basta senior…” and told him we are having a conversation in slow, dumbed down English, repeated with a sprinkle of spanish words I know. It took a third effort to politely, tell him to stop bothering us. I think he felt belittled. I felt bewildered.
I´m down to chill with Ticos, be a part of the culture, contribute to the economy. That’s why I am here! I think with all dialogue, enter the conversation creatively, with some relavent whit, an appropriete paralleling story, drinks, super good looks, any of those can get you involved in the convo you’re not currently a part of. But insisting on interrupting… I’d discourage such insolence.
Apparently, as told by other gringos later, I was too harsh. They blame the NY state of mind. I know it´s because I have standards, even when I’m the foreigner, a set of expectations I feel are universal. This guy, you take a look and his scrawny pathetic potsure and the plea for approval leaking through his eyes, get real. Not this guy. Maybe if he buys a round, we´ll invite him to dance a 1, 2 step in the ring, but no promises after that. He might have just been friendly and socially sucked or he might have been looking to push drugs and take advantage of buzzing foreigners- we just don’t know yet. Do I owe someone a conversation just for being a bar he regularly attends? Hopefully he can learn from this lesson and be better behaived witht he next gringos.