Honeymoon: Flying High/Navigating Darkness

Waking up for our second full day in Costa Rica, Sylvia and I began to realize that time is kind of weird there. The sun comes up super early, but you don’t really notice because it doesn’t feel early. Maybe it’s the head or humidity. You find yourself waking up at 5 and 6 in the morning and it doesn’t really phase you till you look at a clock and think, “wait, we’re on a honeymoon, why are we waking up this early?” It was nice in a way because we never had tours earlier than 9, so we’d essentially get a few hours to just relax and soak up our surroundings or just do something as simple as read a book.

There aren’t any walls

While Sylvia enjoyed her book, I took a bunch of photos of the house & surrounding area just to make sure that I captured it all.

Good morning!

What do I want for breakfast?

What front door?

Eventually, we got up and moving as this was going to be the day that we were going ziplining! I didn’t really have much of an expectation as I have a general fear of heights and didn’t want to think about it too much beforehand. I knew there would be lines and we’d be zipping across them, but anything outside of that sounded like a bad idea to focus on, so I didn’t. We met our neighbors who were apparently going on the tour with us. Then our driver showed up and he took us into town to be picked up by a different driver and then we headed out. Well, kind of; we ended up picking up a couple more guides along the way before turning off of the main road and on to an increasingly isolated path.

This is about how most of the trip up looked

Once we got to the top of the path, we all unloaded out of our truck and got suited up. Our guide told/showed us how the gear worked and then it was time to get moving.

That first line scared the bejeezus out of me

While I was completely and utterly terrified to begin with, once I got up on the first line and pushed on my way, I was pretty much on board from then on out. It’s hard to be terrified of the height when you’re zooming along at high speed. The way the tour worked was that there were something like 20 lines and there was a big of a hike between a few of them to start. On those little hikes, we got to see leaf cutter ants & even saw a bullet ant!

I’m a scary mofo

I’d been hoping to see one and didn’t realize I’d see one so early into the trip. They’re way bigger than I’d imagined too; a little longer than a quarter. Nobody seemed to be nearly as fascinated as I was till I started explaining what they were. The guides probably thought I was a huge nerd, but it did make the rest of the group quite wary. It didn’t help when the guides told us to not touch any trees as the canopy of the forest had more than bullet ants to worry about. Being the 10 year old boy I was at the moment, I could only think, “cool!” as we continued our trek through the forest.

Whee!

Eventually, we stopped hiking between lines as there wasn’t anywhere to hike to but straight down. Because we were suddenly in platforms suspended in the trees.

There’s about 100 feet between the platform and the jungle floor below

It was definitely a bit scary considering some of the platforms didn’t feel like they were solid. This was because they were hanging from further up in the tree, so they did actually rotate a bit whenever anyone landed on the platforms. This was about the point that I really started paying attention to not touching anything as well because I did see a couple more bullet ants and there’s always this guy just to the side of one of the platforms:

Oh hai! I’m actually deadly!

While it made me nervous, it really was pretty cool since the guides didn’t seem to be worried. If the locals start to worry, then you should worry but not before. We continued on and eventually found ourselves at a gap that didn’t have a line we could zip across. Apparently it was something called a Tarzan swing which I’d never heard of and definitely wasn’t looking forward toward experiencing. I’m not quite sure how I made it across but Sylvia made it look positively easy.

Woosh!

At that point we were essentially done with the tour. Once we’d ended up back at the beginning, we wordlessly relaxed as some of the adrenaline wore off and we tried to collect ourselves. The hiking took more out of Sylvia than I think she was expecting and I slowly realized that I’d spent more time hanging high above than with my feet on the ground so a bit of rest was in order. The tour brought us back to town where we met our driver and we were pretty much ready to head back to the tree house at least for a bit. After about an hour or so, we were rested up and decided to wander out for some food and to see if there was anywhere we could rent a pair of bikes. We’d seen them in town, but one of our neighbors said there was a place up the road that was pretty cheap so that was where we headed.

We did end up finding a house that had spare bikes to rent, so we picked up a couple and kept heading in the direction we were going before finding a nice Caribbean place that everyone had mentioned at some point or another. The food was amazing and the drinks were definitely wonderful and before long, we realized that it was quite dark outside. Night in Costa Rica falls much earlier than you’d think it should given how warm it is, but it makes sense that sun up at 5 am and sundown at 5 pm for a full 12 hours of daylight. As we started to leave the restaurant, we noticed that something was very wrong with the road. The street lights in the direction of the tree house were completely out.

Most people think they know what darkness is, but when you’re halfway across the world on an empty road with no moon or stars out, that’s darkness. Add in Sylvia and I rolling along with our crappy bikes and it was pretty spooky. We got down the road about a few mintues before another rider with the best technology ever came up on us. She had a lamp and was more than happy to ride with us as apparently the road wasn’t exactly safe at night for people alone. We chatted along the way and when we got to the tree house, we asked if she needed us to follow her back to her place, which she politely declined.

Now back at the house, we noticed that none of the lights of the grounds were on either. We didn’t know what had happened, but something had knocked out the power in our neck of the woods and there wasn’t anything to be done about it. All we could find out is that it might be fixed the next day, but definitely not that night. That made sense in the moment considering how remote we were, but my Chicago-brain kept trying to say, “wait, what do you mean? Power always comes back on within an hour assuming it ever goes out.” We were given a bunch of candles as well as a high powered flashlight and that was about that. At this point, one of us asked the other what time it was. It was 7PM.

What power?

This might have sounded like torture since a usual bedtime during the week is like 11 PM, but Sylvia and I did start to get tired around 9 PM. We thought at the time the lack of any light just made us sleepy, but we found out over the course of the trip that it’s really hard staying up past 9 in Costa Rica, even with powered light. It makes sense if you’re waking up at 5 am every morning, but when you’re on vacation, you can only think how unfair it is to go to bed that early. In the process of trying to brush my teeth before bed, I managed to knock one half of my toothbrush travel case off into the jungle. I took the flashlight and entertained the idea of trying to go around and get it, but after seeing a few glinting lines in the jungle, I thought better of it and decided to just go get it in the morning. I remember drifting off to sleep hoping that we’d have some power in the morning even though I knew it’d be highly unlikely.

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