Greetings all... Its been a while, and while I know you'd all have faith that Micah would let you know if something horrible happened, I'm sure someone out there wonders about the cat that's got Tylers tongue. Well, if only 'twere so simple as a mischievous feline. Mostly just been busy welcoming the newest, even if only temporary member of the troupe. The MacAllen expedition had grown by half again for the past week and a half. Madre MacAllen had brought her wisdom, zeale and ready-to-cut-losedness to the Mid-Americas to terrorize the Tican landscape. Its been wild.
The adventure started in the airport, where Micah and I nervously shifted from foot to foot for a couple hours while Madre arm wrestled her way through the customs officials and baggage mishandlers... who, true to there job, mishandled her baggage expeditiously. Taking the lose in stride, the reunion was completely undaunted. We shipped off to the hotel (yes, we've been hotelling... notice the lack of s in the word... feels nice, doesn't it, like steamy warm water and private pottying) a good deal lighter than expected. We scrapped the early morning vamanos I had planned, for a much deserved, rest up, and buy a couple pairs of pants and shirts for the lady. Ok, I got some new white pants too... and yes, I know they're very "Fire Island", but damn sexy on the beach. We got back to the hotel just in time to have the bag tapping its foot asking where we've been... "You've been seeing other luggage haven't you?!... And I expect you'll be wanting me to carry those new pants home, eh?"
On Day two we struck out early for Monteverde. This lovely, central Costa Rican cloudforest area gained popularity a couple decades back by a community of Quakers, expatriating from a then war-mongering US Government. Now, the area is largely known for its excellent cheese, and breathtakingly beautiful tourist cloudforest excursions. We stayed in the town of Santa Elena, as Monteverde itself is more of an area named after the large, and popular national park of Monteverde. Monteverde proper consists mostly of a road, with the occasional exorbidently priced hotel and a Quaker meeting house. We rented a sweet little apartment, met up, by fortune, with Andy, the infamous animal magnetic Aussie, and played a long and brutal game of aggravation (a card game Micah and I picked up along the way... fun, yes, aggravating, indeed, addictive, indubidably), during which newcomers Mom and Andy thrashed the hell out of old school favorites Micah and Ty.
Yes, alcohol was involved. Ordinarily I would worry about Mom reading this, but she was giggling more than the rest of us combined!
The next day we roused early for an adrenaline fueled zipline adventure through the canopy of rare tropical cloudforest... complete with Tarzan swing and a 750 meter long, 260 ft high zipline.
After our lesson in fun with fast things and high places, we relaxed with a leisurely stroll across the raised suspension bridge tour throughout the Santa Elena cloudforest preserve.
It was incredible, and by the end of the walk, we'd agreed that we'd not likely find a better tour. Interestingly enough, when we left the next morning, we did so without even ever setting foot inside of the Monteverde Park itself. But we were anxious, and steam was building.
The next morning, we took a Jeep-Boat-Jeep (which is jungle talk for mirobus-ferry-microbus) transport to Volcan Arenal. We found a tidy, albeit spartan little hotel room for the night, but made sure to treat ourselves to a nice active volcano hike first.
Arenal is the third most active volcano on the planet. It's been erupting for 37 years. The Eruption devastated the landscape when it first happened, but is localized to hurling magmatic fireballs down its own slopes now. All day you hear the rumbling, and sliding of partially liquid stone. At night, the rumbling is acompanied by a spectacular display of brilliant orange streaks, pops, and explosions... I imagine. Once again, Mama nature wasn't with us, even though we brough our own Mama to play... maybe Nature was jealous of the lost attention, or maybe it was because we drank all the booze...
Its all cool though, we followed the hike up with two hours of relaxing in the Baldi Hot springs.
This resort setting hosts maybe ten different hot spring fed pools, varying in shape, size, and temperature. A couple of these pools were ready for a tea bag... I mean, really damn hot! Anyway, freshly melted, we made it back to our room and finished dissolving.
The next morning, Micah and Mom took off for a horseback tour of Arenals Catarata (waterfall). I don't know if I mentioned it, but I decided atop that horse in San Pedro, that I'd never mount another. I lingered behind to pack the bags and make travel arrangements for our next destination... the MacAllens three were bringing a whole lotta white to the beach!
After much traffic, and many hours of bussing, we pulled into the happenin little surf town of Tamarindo after eleven at night. We found a room, and Mom hit the bed. Micah and I struck out for town, and made some friends that were eager to deprive us of sleep. Beyond our great friends, Tamarindo didn't hit any of us too hard... we were on our way out before noon the next day.
The sleepy little beach town of Samara is unquestionably, where it's at. We managed to swing an extremely awesome POOLHOUSE! at Adventure Tica lodge (not in the book... remember, books are nice, but sometimes, just walk and see what you can find... trust me.). Two rooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen, huge dining area, tons of hammocky porch space and a sweet little pool, made this about the raddest place ever.
Not to mention Chris and his son Sean, who make runnin a resort look so damn cool. You should see these guys surf! Anyway, a couple days of great conversation, tossing in the ocean, and relaxation put us all in just the places we'll need to be for our further (and tearfully, separate, as Madre MacAllen heads back stateside manana) adventures.
Mom, we love you. Thank you for coming to us. We missed family, we missed home, we missed you. Fly safely and well. Keep taking lifes bumps in stride. Keep doin' things your boys wouldn't do, and thank you again for sharing in this adventure!