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Costa Rica
Saturday 26th
Sunday 27th Jan.

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My Central & North American Trip 2001
Costa Rica | Los Angeles | Mexico

After quite a late start (we planned to set out a lot earlier but due to delays in getting ready we actually left about one o'clock) we hit the road and after a short while we left San Jose behind, then soon after we left the road behind - quite literally. The roads to the cloud forests of Monteverde look as if they're carved out of granite, as they possibley are. It's a long potholed road with beautiful scenery along the way, with a lot of opportunities for photos. It's about three hours all told but because of the late start we didn't actually get there until after dark. After checking out the local hotels we decided on the Pension Flor de
Monteverde (T.645-5236). $10 per person and $5 will get you a pretty filling breakfast. Eduardo, the owner will also arrange tours and transportation to different activities in the area.

Sunday 27th Jan.

As mentioned in the previous paragraph Eduardo arranges tours and we met a British couple group at breakfast who were going out to see different sights with Eduardo. Having really no idea what we were going to do with our time wemulled it over over breakfast, consulting the different leaflets Eduardo had given us the previous night and the Lonely Planet, but by the time we'd decided what to do it was too late to go with Eduardo as he'd already left with the Brits.
So after the very filling breakfast we set out to see the forests and spent the morning walking around the forest canopy which cost $8 each and can take all morning. It's a 3 1/2km walk through the forests on land and on long suspension bridges above forest filled valleys. The scenery from above the forest is breathtaking and theres a good chance to see local wildlife there. Costa Rica has the richest diversity for such a small country on the face of the Earth. We saw humming birds (colibris), vultures and a quetzal bird (but the quetzal not so clearly).

Despite my real dislike (I'll not say 'fear', even though that's more accurate) of heights, Sonia and I took to the skies in the afternoon and tried our white knuckled hands at the Sky Trek which was more expensive but we managed to get a discount as 'locals'. What happens with the Sky Trek is you're attached to a steel cable with a pulley and strapped into a harness that's a little like rappeling. Then with one almighty push you're catapulted on the line accross the valley below. There are 9 lines, but watch out for line number 8. It's suspended from a tower over 100 metres up. When it's windy it can get quite
scary up there - especially if anything should go wrong like your helmet strap coming apart and losing your helmet, as happened to Sonia. Phew!
Helping us take photos on the Trek was a Canadian, Ed, who works for Celanese in Canada. I figured this before even talking with him from the Celanese logo on his jacket. We also met a couple of Brit's, David and his girlfriend (you'll notice that most unlike myself I've spoken with many couples on this trip and almost without failure have I forgotten the names of the girls. Maybe this is subconcious of me so Sonia doesn't get jeaulous. Maybe alzheimers, who knows?)
'Come in flight 963. You are cleared to land.'
Just hangin'
Now to y'all it might just look like a load of branches, but I took this photo while zipping across one of the valleys.

There was a a really international mix in our group. Not only were there the two other Brits, Ed from Canada, Spaniards, Japanese etc... there were Katherine and Philip, two young Germans whose parents live in Peru but still go to a German school there. In the photo you can see your's truly with Sonia, Ed, Dave and his girlfriend, Katherine and Phillip.

The day over and the sun setting it was time to eat. Should you go, take a lunch 'cause the Sky Trek and Sky Walk are located together but there's no place to eat apart from a small cafe connected to the visitors' centre, which has pastries. After the Walk and the Trek you can get free coffee or tea to warm you up from the cafe and the reception also has a gift shop. While having our complimentary coffee there we took these pictures. To my right in the photo is Elizabeth, who, like me, doesn't like heights but because she's studying for tourism and is on placement at Sky Trek she also had to come along with us. One difference was that although I don't like heights I really enjoyed the whole afternoon. Elizabeth however didn't share my enthusiasm, so for her each major line achieved was well applauded. In the picture you can see our guide, Froiland, the guy in the white T-shirt and other students doing placement at the centre.

After dinner off to another pension, this time in Santa Elena at the Pension Santa Elena ( Tel/fax. 645-6060.) Also $10 per person this was a nice place and had like a 'cabin in the woods' feel about it With the lacey curtains and bedclothes it definitely had a woman's touch about it though. No breakfast on the morning we were there though as the cook had gone to another village on family business.

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