Well, there was another landslide (or maybe it was the same one), so the bus ride to Arenal was rather interesting. Instead of taking three hours, it took six and most of it was on curvy, bumpy, mountain roads, so needless to say, we were all very relieved when we arrived to the resort. It was incredible! There we two pool, several hot springs, and even a thermal pool with a wet bar! There was also a crocodile exhibit and a butterfly house. Anyway, we got in Friday evening and everyone was pretty exhausted. Then, on Saturday morning, some of us had decided to go repelling.
Once again, we had to wake up before 6, but we were picked up from the resort so that was nice. The bus didn’t take us very far when we had unload and board some smaller trucks that took us deep into the jungle. We were given a brief orientation, then we trudged through the woods until we arrived to a platform. The first waterfall we did was 165 feet! Now, I wouldn’t exactly say that I’m afraid of heights, but I was just a little apprehensive when I stepped to edge and the guide told me to turn around, lean back over the side and let go of the rope. They say you should do something everyday that scares you, so after this trip I think I’ll be good until my next birthday. One of the very first things I did when I began was, of course, look down, and it was surreal! It was definitely scary at first, because the rocks were slick and I was afraid of loosing my footing and smashing against the side, but it was also really fun. We then hiked to the next one, which was not quite as high, and repeated the process two more times. The feeling was truly indescribable, and afterwards, I felt like I could do just about anything! Oh and while we were hiking from the last waterfall WE SAW A MONKEY! It was pretty far off in the treetop, but I saw it nonetheless!
After the excursion, we took a trip into the nearby town of La Fortuna; supposedly, the citizens gave it this name in the 60’s when the volcano erupted and the two neighboring towns were destroyed and most people died. Our guide the next day, however, said that was just something they made up for the tourist and that the name had been changed before the eruption. Back at the resort, a couple of us hiked one of the trails to a lookout point for the volcano. The trail turned out to be 2 miles straight up a mountain, but when we reached the spot, it was so worth it! Our resort is at the base of the volcano, but the view from the other mountain was awesome. It was all just so serene and peaceful. Afterwards, we went to see the crocodiles and enjoy the hotel amenities. Before dinner, we swam in the main pool, which had a water slide. I figured it was more for kids, but we went on it anyway and it turned out to actually be really intense. After dinner, we went to the thermal pool where we passed the remainder of the evening, which did not go without incident. Apparently, one of the pools had gradually been draining for a couple of hours, and when everyone was getting ready to retire, one of the students from the my group decided to dive into it; he ended up scraping his head and he needed stitches. The scary part was that we were up on a mountain and it was around 11 p.m. so any nearby medical center was closed. Eventually, a paramedic was able to come to the resort to stitch him up, so I guess alls well that ends well.
I got up early Sunday with the hopes of seeing the top of the volcano, but, because its the rainy season, it was always covered by clouds. I did however, get to hear the howler monkeys. Howler monkeys do not sound like regular monkeys; its kind of hard to describe, but I thought they sort of sounded like pack of ferocious, snarling dogs. One of my classmates compared the sound to wild boars, but I’ve never heard wild boards so I can neither confirm nor deny it. Anyway, there were hundreds of them in the trees, and it was really cool getting to hear them. After breakfast, we took a lake tour around the volcano and we got to the see the island were they filmed the show Survivor and Jurassic Park! Fortunately the bus ride home was shorter and went without incident.
Classes are back in full swing, but they are going well. On a bit of a more somber note, it turns out I have contracted conjunctivitis. Tonight, my mamatica walked me to the pharmacy; there was a man just sitting behind the counter who she addressed as “doctor” and to whom she helped me explain my symptoms. He asked a couple of questions, called it conjunctivitis, and gave me a bottle of eye drops for a little over $10; it was all actually very easy. Hopefully it will hurt less tomorrow, but I wouldn’t mind if pink eye was worst thing to happen on to me on this trip 🙂