Pollard Family Sabbatical Costa Rica 2008 travel blog

I know my writing style isn’t very interesting to read – I am writing quickly trying to play catch up. Some brief snippets from today.

~ We call Jack our “little accident waiting to happen”. No matter what we do or where we go, he takes the road less traveled. I learned today from my mom that she saw Jack putting his hand down a hole in the hanging bridges walk in Arenal. Jack is just curious – he didn’t know that tarantulas live in the wholes. Instead of walking on the path, he walks in the plants and bushes. He doesn’t walk on the sidewalk in town but in the rain butter. At the house in Potrero, he loves walking past the plants on the infinity pool where he could fall down 15 feet. (Lucky for us Grandpa Allen brought suture material for stitches – but the will go home on Friday).

~ The people in Costa Rica are so incredibly friendly. At restaurants, a 10% tip is included with your bill – there is not a spot to leave an additional tip. However, the waiters go out of their way to be kind and helpful. Everyone is so willing to let us practice the little Spanish we know. The people really make the country special.

~ Very few Costa Rican’s own cars. A few have motorcycles – most of those have many scars on their bodies from crashes. I learned today that in Monteverde the roads destroy a car’s suspension and the tires in 4 months – making owning a car there super caro (expensive).

We wanted to try to zip lines through the canopy (the tops of the trees). We signed up for their bridge/canopy package in the morning and then a guided tour of the Reserva Biologica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde (The Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve) www.cct.or.cr The van picked us up at 7:30am and took us a short distance to Aventura, the tour company that will take young kids on zip lines. You quickly learn to go with the flow in Costa Rica. We waited awhile to learn that first we would do the bridge tour (which we had already done in Arenal) and that we would not do the zip line until 11:30am – which meant we would not make it to our scheduled time at the Cloudforest Reserve at 1:30pm. So a few phone calls later, we rescheduled the zip line until 8am the next day. The bridges were a nice stroll in the rainforest but the kids were anxious for so excitement. At one point on the hike I stopped to give Emi a hug and tell her how much I love her. For me, it was one of those special moments when the world stops for a second and you feel filled with love. Her response was “do you love me more than Jack?”

Lunch was actually quite eventful because Emi ordered a fish sandwich. Doesn’t sound eventful, huh? Well, Emi has been a vegetarian for a little over a year – eating no fish or chicken. The problem was that she also didn’t eat many vegetables (venduras) or much protein other than cheese and beans. Grandpa Allen had a long discussion with her yesterday about children’s developing brains and the need for protein. Here in Costa Rica she found herself either ordering a cheese quesadilla or pasta with butter and cheese. She didn’t like it but she ate it – along with a few tears.

In Costa Rica, they frequently say “pura vida” – which has several meanings such as the good life, it is all good. But for a few minutes it wasn’t pura vida as Grandpa had temporarily perdido (lost) the keys to our rental car. Once they were found, there was a little discussion about the size of Grandma Karen’s bag – and then we were off to the Cloudforest where a naturalist took us on a nice stroll through the reserve. While the best time of day to spot animals is early morning, we were very lucky. We say a hummingbird nest, a sloth (they sleep 18-22 hours a day!), and a solo alpha male howler monkey (howler monkeys are the second loudest animals in the world), right near a waterfall. He was huge. Brodie wants to be reincarnated as a howler monkey because they live in groups of 20-25 monos (monkeys) and the alpha male mates with all the females. We also put our camera at the entrance of a hole where we got a nice photo of a tarantula (female tarantula’s are nocturnal and male tarantula’s are diurnal – so how do they make baby tarantula’s?).

We stopped at the heladeria for a quick ice cream cone on the way back to the hotel. I was walking back to the car when I heard someone saying “Heather”. Surprisingly, it was a friend of mine, Shayfu, from Park City. What a small world.

FYI – a Cloudforest is pretty much the same thing as a rainforest. Monteverde is located on the Continental divide – so some water runs east to the Atlantic and some west to the Pacific. Above 4,000 feet it is considered Cloudforest. However, we didn’t see any clouds the entire time we were in Monteverde. It is cooler in the dense vegetation of the rainforest – and in the evening the temperature drops some so we actually wore pants and long sleeves.

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