It seems impossible to put all I’ve experienced so far into words. I suppose I should begin at… well, the beginning. This was my first flight since I was but one year old so I was expecting to be blown away. But the sensation of being lifted and shifted through the sky, engulfed in a sea of clouds, and watching the sun rise as if it’s within reach was almost overwhelming. I know the world is massive so to be ABOVE the clouds was by far the most abstract thing I’ve ever experienced.
On Thursday, I think I was sitting down for all of thirteen hours between the flight to San Jose and the bus ride to our jungalows. It took us about half an hour from the airport to get to a restaurant called La Casita Del Café where we had our first taste of Costa Rica (pun intended). I recognized the gallo pinto because it was omnipresent in the research I did about the cuisine along with fried plantains because it’s also a popular Nigerian dish.
I’ve never experienced wildlife to the point where I’m hiking past bulls and watching crocodiles bask in peaceful nothingness. They seem much livelier on the Discovery Channel when they’re being wrestled with against their will. Go figure.
Not being able to see the stars at night is kind of bitter sweet. I don’t get to marvel at the luminous beauty of shimmering stars dancing opposite the stillness of night. Instead, the sky is one solid sheet of a magnificent shade of blue that I’ve never seen before!
My ever-resourceful travel mentor, Angela Steele, gave me one piece of advice that really stuck with me. Poorly paraphrased, she said, “You shouldn’t hate everything you do, and hopefully you won’t. But don’t think you’ll love everything you do either because you probably won’t. Just keep in mind that every thing will seem new to you so embrace every experience, good or bad.” Unfortunately, the bad came earlier that I had hoped for. On Friday, we went on a demanding, arduous, trying, and every other synonym for difficult, hike down to the Nauyaca Waterfall. We waded and splashed and gave each other muddy, clay facials, all immediate to the bed of large rocks below the rainforest in fear of getting swept away by the strength of the currents. I could whine and complain about the downhill, muddy stumbles or the fiery burn of walking up at what felt like a ninety-degree angle for about an hour. But to be able to embrace the beauty of the mighty rushing water at the end of it all was totally priceless.
The scenery or “greenery”, rather, along with the sights and sounds of the rainforest are worthy to be deemed a place of mystery and wonderment. Colorado summer showers seem like running through lawn sprinklers compared to the rain that falls here. So to put it in perspective one of my fellow travelers, Caroline Atsaves, wrote a poem about the enchanting environment in which we attempt to discover.
The bugs hum softly along with the birds making beautiful sound absent of words
The rain tap dances adding to the gentle tune, sometimes growing aggressive in a time of monsoon
A gleeful call brings contrast to the rain, unexpectedly becoming a link in the chain
Alone they are nothing, just a random noise, but when heard together: a symphony structured with poise
An overlooked soundtrack hardly taken in, chaotic on the surface yet peaceful within
The joyous melody is on constant repeat, producing new tones complimenting the jungle beat
We are instruments too, we just don’t know. Our voices and movements all contribute to the flow
It’s a beautiful thing, once you know
So just sit back and feel the jungle beat grow.