About fifteen minutes walk from the place where we were staying in Puerto Jimenez is a private reserve full of secondary rainforest and fruit trees. We met the steward of the land at his store in town and, after spending much time and money there, were able to make plans to have him tour us through the property. On this property lives the most wonderful tree I have ever seen. It’s a fig tree, huge and sprawling: I’ve lived in houses with considerably less square footage. We all climbed up. Time stands still for me in a place like that – I could happily stay there all day. He told me that he once had a class of 24 students all up the tree and that if you climb to the very top, you have a view of the ocean on either side of the peninsula. We tromped through the trails enjoying the sights until he had to leave for work.
Later that afternoon we went on a kayak tour through the mangrove. The mangrove feels enchanted and gross at the same time somehow: travelling down the river in the roots of the huge trees at twilight makes you feel like some sort of mystical creature; a hobbit or a faerie or something. But then you have to squish the mosquitoes landing on your face and it breaks the spell somewhat. We kept our eyes peeled for crocodiles, but they were all in hiding. Instead we saw lots of jeweled crabs scuttling up from the water-soaked roots being hunted by basilisk lizards, beautiful birds settling for the evening and a sleeping anteater in a tree.
The next day was less fascinating however. We discovered a few things in rapid succession: 1) the power was out, 2) neither of the tour companies I had working on it had managed to arrange the trip to the Nygobi Reserve I was waiting for, 3) many people had simply not bothered to open up their shops/services/restaurants etc for the day since there was no power, and 4) it’s hard to be on the Osa in the middle of the steamiest part of the year without so much as a fan to keep the air moving. As we were walking back to our room trying to figure out what we wanted to do, I said to Aidan, “It’s an adventure!” and he said, “I don’t want an adventure; I just want air conditioning.” (I wanted to stick an expletive of some sort or some keyboard symbols in there ‘cause I think it would read better, but I decided to write it exactly as he said and what he said was much more heat-exhausted than emphatic!).
So, we bailed. I found a number in my notebook for people we met in Zancudo who run boat tours and rent places out and within a couple hours we were on a fast boat, flying over the waves towards the mainland. Now we are back in Zancudo (where we were with our friends Melissa and Kadin in December) renting a comfy little cabina and chilling on the beach. I got this brilliant idea that before we travel back, we should all do a cleanse to get rid of the junk in our systems, so we’ve been eating all fruits, veggies and coconut the past four days and I would probably sell my soul for a steak and some ice cream…No! No, it’s the parasites talking, resist! The kids are getting pretty miserable though. I’ve told them that as soon as the beasties are gone from their guts we can go for fresh tortellini at the Italian guy down the road’s place and I think that’s the life raft they’re holding on to right now.
As a side note, the kids are now hooked on the show Glee and, as I write this, are listening to the soundtrack, sitting on stools here in the rancho and singing along in their charming and off-key way. I’ve been listening to a spirited, if inaccurate, rendition of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” for the past week, that I’m sure is some sort of karmic payback for all the showtunes from The Phantom of the Opera that I treated my parents to at this age. Oh well. Whatever distracts them from thoughts of cookies is fine with me at this stage of the game.