Sunday, November 24, 2013

What Happened to Cinderella's Carriage?

I never expected this to be a Cinderella story, and if it was I certainly wouldn't have picked the Stepchildren part to play, but that seems to have been thrust upon us.  No matter, maybe we'll get to ride in Cinderella's carriage!!   

Up until now, it has rained, but it hasn't really RAINED if you know what I mean.  THAT however is soon to change.   Our new very nice guide, Willis is taking us to another area downriver for a bird watching walk.  We saw ONE ... an oriole and heard a toucan too far off in the bushes to see.  Willis
 was very knowledgeable and personable though, so we enjoyed his company.  Once a native boat driver, he had continued to talk to the tourists until he learned English, so was able to become a tour guide.
Cruising down the river ...  
Just a side note ... see the white box inside the building??  That is the stove where they cook their meals.
I heard Willis mention to the boat driver that he could smell the rain ... a big storm.  We were too busy looking for the birds and critters to pay attention.  This trail we will walk is named for the flowers we will find later on.  
There are not as many flowers on this side of the country, but those here are very colorful.  
All around us on this trail were huge lumps of dirt attached to the trees.  Willis scratched the surface of one to show us the tenants ... termites!!!  They build these huge balls of mud to keep dry.  We should have taken note.  You can eat termites in a pinch ... if you are starving.  Willis says they taste like chicken!!  Funny guy!!!
Here is the one Oriole we found while bird watching.  I later determined that the birds and animals knew something we didn't.  There really WAS a storm coming ... and it was a BIG one!!
All of a sudden it started to rain buckets!!!!  And the wind came up whirling the treetops sideways, as huge cracks rang out and branches started coming from the sky.  Willis said, and I quote "RUN!!!!!"  This is toooo dangerous!!!  OMG ... we ran (those of us who heard him anyway) in heavy rubber boots through mud and water back to the rivers edge, away from the trees.  This image is blurry from the RAIN!!!!!
Back at the start of our very short walk, my camera soaking wet even with my best efforts to keep it in a plastic bag ... and soaked to the bone, we sat in the bar of this hotel until our carriage arrived.  Darn ... still not Cinderella's carriage.   Can we wake up from this bad dream now???   To say I was mad as a wet hen, was an understatement!!!
At our hotel, I took this horrible picture of me standing in front of our 18' mirror, soaking wet.  Thankfully I wore my running shirt this day, as it is quick to dry.  At least it WOULD have been quick to dry if we were not in the middle of a sweltering jungle.  Again, everyone jumped in the pool to cool off, as Patty and I sat wet and complaining by our room.  Alright, I was complaining ... I was afraid I had ruined my Nikon camera and I had enough of being unprepared.  We had another "tour" in the afternoon, so we decided to just keep our dirty wet clothes on, since we only had ONE dry change of clothes.  Maybe it WAS a good thing we were placed at that dinner table by ourselves!!
Just about the time we were to leave for the boat tour, now barefoot due to hot soaking wet shoes, would't you know I would step on some critter that stung the heck out of my foot.  It felt like a hot needle, forcing me to walk on the side of my foot.  As we headed to the launch, I asked Willis to check it out, but he found nothing other than a round white spot.  It burned for another hour.  Note to self:  do NOT go barefoot in or near the jungle.   

Pleading for a COVERED boat for the afternoon cruise fell on deaf ears as the stepchildren were herded onto an open boat with life jackets for seat cushions, and we were off with Willis for a romantic trip down the canals.  In the "old" days, lumber companies came here to harvest mahogany for furniture manufacture.  
Every company had their own canal to float their logs to the ships waiting to carry them to sawmills.  The further up the canals, the narrower they got. 
Here is the Poponjoche flower that the area is named for.  This is the diamond ring of Nicaragua.  Natives use this flower to ask for someone's hand in marriage.  
This time the rain held out for the most part.  Although we are still wearing our wet clothes, it was to our advantage, as the moving boat cooled us off a little.  My camera, towel dried, still seemed to be working, so I continued to click away.  Here is a male Basilisk lizard again ... we saw lots of these guys on the river.
As we went up the canals, the overgrowth got thicker and the jungle darker.  So much so, that even with the highest adjustment on my camera, I couldn't get these amazing tree roots in focus.  I'm sure I heard the growl of a tiger, the trumpet of an elephant and zip zip ... DUCK!!!  Oh wait ... that's Disneyland!!  Funny how this replicated the jungle ride!!
A few macaws flew screeching so far overhead that we couldn't tell what color they were.  This male iguana was basking in the light looking for the love of his life.  You can tell by the orange color.  Even Willis was wondering where everyone went!!
With no other wildlife in site, I asked Willis about the poison dart frogs.  I definitely did NOT want to go home without a picture.  When the boat driver saw a small opening in the forest, he drove the boat up to the edge where Willis jumped off and went looking.  We couldn't believe it!!!  In five minutes he came back with this half inch long baby in his hands.  A full grown poison dart frog.
But wait!!!!  Aren't they poisonous???  Only the blood he says ... only the blood.  It seems these little guys eat termites and fire ants, making their blood poisonous to all predators, including us.  If you don't get the blood on you, you will be okay.  Amazing!!!  
That was it for the creatures.  Rather disappointed, we headed back to the lodge where we were met with hot cocoa and goodies.  By now, having been in wet clothes all day, this tastes pretty good and the cocoa is nothing short of amazing!!!  AND it's instant ... I took a picture of the package and have since ordered some.  With no tracking numbers, it will probably come as a surprise two months from now.
Back at our room and finally half way dry ... at least in dry clothes (for the moment), Patty came running into the room to say the monkeys were out.  Camera in hand, I raced outside for the following images.  This made being the stepchildren okay for the moment!!!
We were told these capuchin monkeys come out for every meal, since the locals used to feed them.  Up until now, we had not seen them.  I took dozens of pictures!!!  He's actually blowing a bubble here!!

Lots of very sharp teeth.
Fairly quiet, these little guys didn't make much noise.
Unlike the howlers that woke us up with their screams every morning at 5:00 am.  FINALLY!!! A good howler image!!!  Not the prettiest of faces ... I was just so excited as I snapped away!!
I forgot to mention that one meal, Patty and I snuck away to the "other" restaurant, bad stepchildren that we were, where we had a short visit with a couple from Canada on a "self tour".  We think however, that each restaurant may get remuneration based on the number of guests, and so returned to our imposed stepchildren table to eat in silence.  It was strange, to say the least.  See the pretty place settings on the "other" tables???  There were only TWO on ours!!!  I had to laugh!!  This was definitely no Cinderella story!!  But the stepsisters were alive and well!!
At least we had the pretty centerpiece all to ourselves.
After dinner, since there was no reason to hang around the table, I suggested we get our flashlights and find some frogs.  As we walked around they were VERY loud ... squawking incessantly.  I kept telling Patty there was one CLOSE ... I could HEAR him!!!  Finally I screamed HE'S IN MY HAIR!!!  Then a big SQUAWK right in my ear!!!  OMG!!!  He's on my SHOULDER!!!!  Not knowing if they were poisonous or not, I was trying to get my phone camera out for a picture.  Poor Patty hadn't used my phone, and while she tried to take a picture, I was jumping around like a little girl.  Finally close enough to a bush, he jumped off.  Thankfully he wasn't poisonous and didn't leave any "presents" on my only clean shirt.
Now in the bushes, I traded Patty the phone for the flashlight which she held while I snapped away ... I was greatly relieved that he was now on the bush and not on me.
Here's my buddy Croaker in all his glory!!!  Wouldn't you know, the best image I got the entire trip was not with my fancy expensive camera, but my I-Phone!!
A couple of night shots of our room and we turned in for the night.  Although we drank the hotel water everywhere we went in Costa Rica, we did NOT drink it here.  Outside each set of rooms was a water cooler that we used for drinking water.  
Knowing the howlers would have the stepchildren sisters up early, we borrowed (okay, we stole) all the plastic bags from the garbage cans to stash our wet clothes in and turned in for the night.  We went to sleep to the croaking frogs and night critters. At the end of our jungle extension, we will head back up the canal in our boat ... not the Cinderella carriage I was hoping for!!!   I'm just praying for a covered one!!!


  1. Nancy, Your story of your trip has me so captivated....since I am one who does not fly since way before 9/11 happened, remember that when I say that you have totally convinced me that there are enough sites to see in USA/Canada that I don't need to ever consider driving down to Central America or beyond. Glad you made it back safe... Dave (

  2. I have to agree Dave ... Florida would have been a nice choice!!!!