As many of you know I am a ‘reluctant’ traveler. Give me a reason and I’ll stay home, it’s safe ( baring fires, hurricanes or tornadoes). My house will not smell like a farm when I come home after ten days of enjoying myself, having seven animals does have drawbacks. Not many people want to clean up cat hairballs, lost dinners or mounds of fur while you are away so when you arrive you do know what will await you, it’s enough to ask to have the cats fed and litter robots cleaned, thank you Tracy. The dog greets us as if we’ve been gone for months, but then she does that when we buy groceries!
Hal and I went on a cruise to the Panama Canal. Seeing travel plans are most often made in advance I had plenty of time to conjure up all sorts of dreadful things that could befall me or our home while we were away. All for no good reason, you would think I would learn! Panama was a good draw for me, it’s historical and I like big ships and I enjoyed the locks in Sault St. Marie Michigan. (A bit smaller scale) The other ports of call were tropical and of more interest to Hal, he’s a beach guy, me, not so much other than photo opportunities, you never know when an intriguing window or door may pop up (one of my favorite subjects) or an especially interesting critter wandering the beach (sometimes human). Costa Rica and the Veragua Rainforest were the last stop on this cruise, with my love for nature both plant and animal, I did want to take the trip.
There is a 12-section zip line available in the forest, that was Hal’s aim and to see the forest and some of what lives there. I was there to absorb the air, the smells, sounds and amazing sights; for those who enjoy houseplants, it would be heaven on earth. If you want to see a sloth at home, you will and it will stay that way until you come by once again. They really don’t move very often, tend to look like a large gray basketball high up in a tree.
Like many people in the 1960’s and 70’s I tried to grow suffering houseplants at every window in my house, until I discovered growing plants outside was much more rewarding and stopped torturing jungle plants. I still enjoy seeing where the plants I tried to confine to containers, dry houses, lack of sun, too much sun, all manners of plant torture, do grow and what they look like happy, and at home. Before going into the forest and a tram ride we were given an informative tour of what we might expect to find if we were to wander in this forest, who and what live there. I can’t imagine who would want to set out wandering in this mass of gigantic trees, wet, dripping, lush, solid foliage and intriguing sounds, certainly not me. I’ve been told a machete is usual equipment if you are going to find your way through a jungle, and I can easily believe that is true.
The rainforest has a pulse; I could feel life all around me, I could smell and hear it, for me it was a very emotional experience. At times I wasn’t certain if it was raining or just amazingly humid. The tour and information of what to expect in the forest was a good beginning, much of what was explained to us before we took our tram and walking tour we did see, these critters do indeed live in there and aren’t hiding! Don’t touch anything, rule number one, rule number two, DO NOT touch anything, no hugging trees!
The family we were taking our tour with and Hal were all going to zip line high above all this beauty; I was to meet them at the end point. Our trusty and entertaining guide and his driver drove me to the ‘end of the line’; there were a couple of times I thought I might literally be ‘at the end of my line’! Many men speaking a language I didn’t understand, in the middle of a Costa Rica rain forest, laughing and joking, me wishing I had learned to speak Spanish instead of Latin and French! They were gracious, I had no reason for concern, and in fact everyone we met was so pleased to show us their remarkable forest.
When the men understood I wanted to take photos they were more than helpful showing me the treasures that could be found right next to and around me. Including an adorable red (poisonous) frog. The guide told me I would probably not die if I touched it, I’d get mucho ‘high’ for a pretty long time. Well, all right then, more information than I needed right then, I’d wait until I was back on the ship and have a glass of wine. I took his picture instead! All around their cabin, any piece of fruit they tossed out that had a seed remaining, was a growing plant, bananas, mangos and pineapples, for a plant woman, I had a great time. I could hear the whooping of the zip liners and had no wish to be zipping above the forest, wandering on the ground was excellent for me. The zip liners did have a wonderful time with little to no mishaps. The zip line guides are remarkably skilled.
The Veragua Rainforest is not in a prosperous part of Costa Rica; the trips into this forest have only been taking place for about eight years. The people are proud of the forest, they want it preserved, the gigantic trees with valuable lumber left alone, to be enjoyed and to continue to grow, the reptiles and animals, butterflies left to live without intruders unless guided by the people who love and live in the country.
The cruise lines bringing travelers to see these beautiful places are a good source of income for many of the residents. The cruise lines do invest in the countries they take people to visit, just the docking area it’s self employs and improves the area. There are open air markets enabling visitors to buy products, some made by hand, often the artists are selling their own creations. Poverty in this part of Costa Rica was clear away from where the ships dock. All the people we met were friendly, proud and industrious Costa Ricans. I hope they are able to keep more and more of their beautiful country protected from people whose interests are in harvesting trees, plants, taking animals, it is a pristine area and should stay as it is.
I survived another trip, nothing fell off my body, my house did smell funny (it doesn’t now), but like the houseplants that grow so well in the Veragua Rain Forest, I do well in Cedar Creek Texas, although my life is now richer having seen an amazing structure (the Panama Canal) and a beautiful work of nature, the Vergua Rainforest.