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07 March 2010

Adrenaline Rush! Zip-Lines and Bullfighting

11:15 PM. Saturday, March 6.

What an amazing day! Zip-lining was simply awesome. Absolutely wicked fun! Christina and I were picked up at 10:10am from the hostel and were soon on our way! But first, paying and signing the paperwork at the La Cevita office. The zip-lining course is a 45-minute drive into the jungle, largely on unpaved gravel roade (we drove through a couple rivers!). Along the way, we met our fellow zip-liners: Matt and Sarah from England, and a family from Germany (near Hamburg!)... their son, who's around 15 years old, is on a Spanish-language exchange program. We got to the canopy, were soon strapped into our harnesses (which feel heavy at first - and the gloves reeked of other people's sweat - yuck!), and after a brief safety demo, we were zip-lining through the rainforest canopy!

There was a group of about 7 older people from Florida with whom I was bunched while zip-lining. One of them - Karen - got stuck in the middle of the longest of the zip-lines and had to be "rescued" (that poor employee who had to pull her all the way back). The feeling of whizzing through the jungle is surreal and incredible. Lunch was great afterwards - beans and mixed rice. The zip-guides were fun and goofy. The ride back was bumpy - my back started aching (I must have horrible posture or something), but I spent most of the ride chatting with Matt who was sitting next to me.

We also stopped at the waterfalls on the way back - the water was COLD! And I didn't bring swimming clothes, so I just got my legs wet. It felt great, though, to be cold for once! Anyway, the tour bus driver was generous enough to let us pick up our stuff from the hostel (where I quickly said bye to Patrick, who was again chilled out on a hammock), then he drove us straight into town (Quepos) and to our hotel!

Christina and I checked in for one night at the hotel Mar y Luna (no A/C, no lock on the bathroom door). The owner had a conversation with Christina en espanol - I think he enjoys Miami or something like that. It was hot and we were sweaty, but instead of showering and cooling down, I wanted to see the sunset again and check out the festival that was going on. So we went out, checked out all these horses being paraded around the town's main street.

The sunset was gorgeous yet again, but the waterfront in the city is pretty filthy with garbage strewn amongst the rocks. We were also dodging horse poop along the city streets. I wanted to continue the quest to buy my CR flag, but to no avail - apparently souvenir shops here don't sell giant CR flags - I may just have to wait until San Jose or I may just have to buy fabric and sew/hem the flag myself (WTF?!). Returning to the hotel room, Christina and I each showered a very refreshing cold shower and chilled. Literally. Then we walked around outside to find a place to eat, when Matt texted me and told me he and Sarah were on their way into town. They met us at the restaurant Quepoa (right across from the bus terminal), where we had a delicious dinner and I tried some good dark (Bavaria negra) beer. I then got money from the ATM (my WaMu card didn't work but BofA did). Then we got a taxi to the fiesta!

It was just like a giant county fair! We had some beers each, I saw the food for sale and regretted for a moment having had dinner before (then I remembered how good dinner was). Then we walked to the Rodeo! It was incredibly fun - even if we were crouching in the space underneath the bleachers - it was my first rodeo. Anyone in the crowd can just walk into the bull ring to taunt the bull after it knocks off the cowboy riding it.

The four of us got a good ground-level perspective (from underneath the bleachers) of each raging bull and the fools messing around in the ring. Well, soon enough, guess who sneaks up on me from behind to say hi: Zach from the hostel (from R.I. and apparently a rafting guide), along with a couple of the other guys (Mike from Boston, etc.). Across the ring I see one of the bulls clip the bottom of a girl's bright red dress. The girl is climbing up the railing to escape the bull's fury. I think, how can you wear bright red inside a bullfighting ring? Well, guess what?! That girl wearing the red - it's Kirsten from the hostel! The same Kirsten who I was eating dinner with just 24 hours before. Caitlin's right beside her, and they walk over to say hi to Zach and company. I feel a need to make my presence known, so I join in (this is all inside the ring, between rounds). They all kind of pressure me to stay in the ring, and I do it! Incredible: I WAS IN A BULLFIGHTING/RODEO RING WITH AN ACTUAL RAGING BULL (CHARGING AT ME)!

Let's ignore that I scrambled out of the ring the moment the bull fliched in my general direction. It was a thrill, and one of the biggest adrenaline rushes I've had in a while. Unfortunately, neither Sarah, Matt, nor Christina wanted to join me in the ring. Shame. We did eat stuffed churros, however. We soon left and taxied back to the hotel, where we now gotta sleep to wake up at 4am to catch our 5am bus! Yikes!

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