Entry 2: June 10-12
Went to Pozo Azul the first weekend in Costa Rica, 10-12 de junio. Absolutely lovely place. It´s a sort of hotel and adventure resort in Sarapiqui with a goodly variety of activities to do—rafting, safari, caminando, birdwatching, rappeling, ziplining, and…the exciting canopy!
Alas, the choice of activity was limited to a finite three, so I picked caminando (hiking), rappeling (like falling down a cliff with a rope) and safari, which is a very calm type of whitewater rafting in which you can observe the various animals that congregate around the riverbed.
Delicious weekend: absolutely peaceful and wonderful and marvelously free of care and worry. I really only have a few things tosay:
The call of the wild howler monkeys is wonderfully bloodcurdling, especially when you are hearing el ruido from within a tent. I have never felt so in touch with my primeval ancestors.
Tarzan swings are great! You swing on them like Jane meeting Tarzan, or George of the Jungle, and you land with a roaring splash into the river. They are also good places to meet Tica familias who are on vacation and just generally having a good time.
There is a species of shark that has apparently evolved and learned to circumvent rapids. It seems to migrate from the ocean to a river in Sarapiqui. I wish I had known that before I arrived: I might have been able to persuade a guide to take me where they congregate and snap a Photo of them.
I´m still kicking myself for this: the World Whitewater Rafting Competition was held that Saturday in Pozo Azul! All different nations from across the World. I should have snatched a rafter and gotten an interview: I´m sure it would have been fascinating. (But at least I got a T-shirt.)
Cahuita: Talamanca Coast
My first fin de semana I went to La Playa Negra (near Cahuita on the Talamanca Coast of Costa Rica.) Absolutely fascinating place! It´s called La Playa Negra after the volcanic beach, which is lovely and made of dark pebbly sand that is a joy to scrunch beneath your feet. I was intrigued but not surprised to learn that there has been notable terremoto activity in the area: a couple of years ago (the speaker didn´t specifically say when) there was a medium size earthquake that raised the land from the sea in front of our beachfront hotel—and that is why the gentleman who owns the place, Walter, has more land than he used to have. It is an interesting pensamiento—I wonder what he thought when he woke up one day to discover a few extra acres tacked on to his beachside property?
After coming straight from two hardcore weeks of studying and excursions in the San Joaquin and Heredia (both places in the center of Costa Rica) the culture difference on the Talamanca Coast was a bit of a shock. The people are different and so is the architecture, of course (I was expecting that) but I wasn´t expecting the customs and the language. English is far more frequently spoken in Cahuita than in the central highlands, but it is an English much closer to the original British than American English is—and I also believe that the language as spoken in Cahuita has some strong Indian and possibly French influences. And when Spanish is spoken (as it is in Cahuita) it was completely different from the Spanish that I know and have been learning from my Tica madre y El Instituto. Reassimilation all over again! It was barely perceptible, but I think that the rules of personal space and the body language inflections were different as well. I wish I had been able to spend more time there so I could figure out exactly how!
I went strolling quite a lot in Cahuita. The landscape is different there and so are the ways that the community has organized the layout of the town and residencial buildings. It is mostly along the main road but there seem to be lots of homes tucked quietly away along the beach. And the constellations at night are slightly changed around too. I managed to recognize Orion but little else.
My understanding is that the last king of the BriBris lived in the same general area as Cahuita. I wasn´t able to visit the area where the last of the indigenous BriBri population lives, but I did pick up a lot of interesing tidbits about him and the area in general. There are a lot of echoes from the past in Cahuita if you listen carefully.
Interesting weekend: enjoyable time passed by all. If you make time to go to Cahuita, make time for more than two days. You will need more time than you think you will to scratch below the surface.