National Geographic calls the Monteverde Cloud Forest "the jewel in the crown of cloud forest reserves" and Newsweek Magazine ranked it No. 14 on the list of the world's best places to see before it disappears. Of course, Newsweek Magazine disappeared in print edition between 2012-2014 before resuming publication, so one should perhaps be wary of getting a talking penalty when ranking things that will disappear.
Annual rainfall in the Monteverde Cloud Forest is 118 inches. Last night and this morning, about 100 of them fell. Okay, that's an exaggeration. Probably only 90 of them fell.
Along with the lightning and thunder, it made for a raucous night. At breakfast this morning, Jenny let us know that the weather was simply heinous and our early morning zipline adventure would need to be rescheduled.
We put it off for 2 hours, based on the advice of Koki, who joined us for breakfast in advance of taking a group out on a daytime cloud forest hike. He was asked by pretty much every one of the 18 guests here at Hidden Canopy Treehouse Boutique Hotel (HCTBH) what the weather forecast was for the day. His response: "I don't know and anyway it will be wrong - the weather changes every 5 minutes here".
And he was right. By the time we started zipping through the cloud forest treetop canopy the sun was shining, the wind had died down, and the only sound that could be regularly heard was me screaming like a little girl each time Ross, Mauricio or Gian (our zipline guides) pushed me off the tower and into thin air.
Or perhaps the agonizing "No!" yelled out by me esposa when she was firmly but gently pushed off. For some reason, a thin smile crossed my lips. Those Law & Order episodes must be rubbing off on me, too!
These yelps of terror contrasted to the "Yahoo!" Shouted out by San Miguel (his name for today bestowed on him by Mauricio - mine courtesy of Gian was Ah Oui).
And all of those noises were in total contrast to the serene "ahhh" from Colleen as she gracefully zipped along each line. Where can I buy some of what she is clearly but surreptitiously ingesting?
The penultimate experience on the Selvatura zip line course is the Tarzan Swing. This induces the best screams of all. The grande finale is the kilometer long 45 second in duration zip across and through the treetops back to the starting point. The 45 seconds turns into 5 minutes if you're Mikey and film it in slo-mo. And then add on the time it takes the guides to haul you in hand over agonizing hand because the zip doesn't actually get you all the way to the final platform. They earned their tips today - that's for sure!
We enjoyed a typico late lunch (didn't finish till nearly 4pm) in the little village of Santa Elena at Sabor Tico. Colleen and I tried Abuela's (Grandmother's) recipy (sic) chicken. Once again, our Spanish menu interpretive skills came shining through and what we got was nothing like what we thought we were ordering. Miguel thought the chicken looked suspiciously like his grandmother used to make it, but without the chile sauce.
We were eating at a table outside and a pickup truck rolled up next to us. Innocuous enough until the driver just sat in the cab and let the engine idle. And the diesel fumes gently waft over us. Adding a certain something special to our meal. Eau de gasoline.
Daily recap over sangria in the big house:
This morning we asked Koki how he gained the skill to pick out creatures big and small in the dark of night. He said it was a secret. But then he spilled the beans. Turns out the critters are all made of plastic and he knows exactly how many steps to take in each direction to "fortuitously" find them. They are, of course, all remote controlled so that his flashlight, when beamed upon them, induces their photo-voltaic sensors to "life" and causes the figurines to move around a bit. I knew it all along!
Tomorrow morning Koki is taking us on a daytime cloud forest trek. I'm looking forward to seeing more of the figurines. I just can't yet figure out how the photo-voltaic sensor part will work in the daylight. I'll work it through and let you know.