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Friday, June 27, 2014

"What, do People Just Try on Shoes?"

It's not often that you are eagerly awaiting your friends to go on vacation, unless maybe that vacation was designed to visit you while you're traveling. Our good friends, Sean and Joanna, planned a vacation to Costa Rica almost as soon as we had solidified our own plans there. By far, the most difficult part of traveling for us has been missing our friends and family, so having Sean and Jo visit meant more to us than we could really express. Not only that, but after roughing it at The Monkey Farm, we couldn't wait to get into the air-conditioning and clean sheets of the apartment they were able to rent for the week. Add to that the freedom of having a rental car for the week and we were feeling like royalty with luxuries such as these.

Rudy Bego!
The shenanigans began right away. Sean gave us one of our favorite stories of the trip so far and also this post's title. He forgot to bring flip flops, so picked up a pair of the grocery-store variety on our first grocery run. When we got back to the apartment Sean put a shoe on and found that his foot dwarfed it, his heel hanging at least 3 inches off the back. When we all started laughing at his ridiculous purchase he got a little defensive. "What, do people just try on shoes?" he asked. We all responded that yes, people do often try on shoes before buying them. "I thought they were generic-sized." was his response. Perhaps one of those "had to be there" moments, but I was there and it still makes me laugh thinking about it. Especially because Sean is an aerospace engineer. Go Figure.

´`I thought they were generic sized!``
Our first big adventure was to the Monteverde cloud forest. We hopped in good ol' Rudy Bego and hit the road with nothing more than verbal directions from the lady at the information table at the resort. We saw some of the most beautiful Costa Rican country side scenery along this drive. Viewpoints along the way offered sweeping panoramas of rolling emerald green hills twinkling in the sunlight after a decent rain. And the was an adventure all in itself. There are no paved roads leading to Monteverde. And coming from the west, we had to take the longer road in. It was probably about 75 miles of steep climbs and massive stones jutting out of the gravel, rarely reaching a top speed of 40 mph.

The Costa Rican countryside, on the way to Monteverde
Some of the farmland along the patchiest road in Costa Rica
After about an hour an a half of vibrating bums, we made it to sweet, sweet pavement...and the Monteverde cloud forest. Due to the elevation, the climate there is quite cool. With the deep-green foliage, cool, damp  air, and dark brown soil in the trails, it reminded us a lot of the Olympic National Forest back home.

Check out the pretty scenery inisde the park ; )
The cloud forest being all northwesty
Yeah we´re from Seattle, how could you tell?
Our guide pointed out some of the interesting animals and plants. Crystal´s favorite was a bird whose call they say sounds like a swinging gate. She thought it sounded more like magic. My favorite was a beetle with a killer parasitic fungus growing out of it. Apparently the fungus infects the bug, takes over its mind and tells it where to go, then eventually grows so large it sprouts out of the bug´s exoskeleton and kills it - so gnarly.

We also got to play on a 150 foot suspension bridge that spans through the treetop canopy. In the middle it´s about a 70 foot drop to the forest floor.

About to brave the suspension bridge
Jurassic Park - sized leaf
For the trip home we decided to take the `short`gravel road, which was only about an hour of treacherous going. Thanks to Sean for driving the return leg, but next time try not to scare the girls so much by passing every car bigger than you!