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10 March 2010

A Day at the Hot Spring

10:00-11:00AM? Tuesday.

Bumpy ride, bubbling water, and butterflies...

At the hot springs (Agua Caliente). There are plenty of butterflies fluttering around. I tried to form the word "butterfly" by putting the Spanish words for "butter" and "to fly" together - I got something like "mantequilla volero" ("flying butter"). It's a comical alternative to just saying "mariposa."

The drive up here was extremely bumpy - gravel/rock roads for over half the entire way. I was worried that the car we were in would just suddenly snap under all the pressure and bumps - but we did eventually make it! Thanks to Carlos our driver, and to all the locals who pointed us in the right direction whenever we reached a fork in the road.

These hot springs are actually just a pool of hot water adjacent to the river. It's a pretty big and fast-flowing river with plenty of rapids - I don't know its name - I do know that we're near the Parque Internacional de Amistad (near the Panama border) and just over the mountains from the Caribbean side of the country. The river is cold. I sorta swam in but got instantly pinned against the huge rocks. I freed myself and made sure I wouldn't get sucked away by the strong rapids.



The river next to the springs had much colder (fresher feeling) water that thundered upon the rocks. Rio Negro, Rio Colon, or Rio Coto Bruz is its name. I was pinned against the rocks several times. The chilly water pounding me, the rocks above the water baking hot in the midday sun, it was a refreshingly therapeutic experience.

Lunch was a meal prepared by Aurora - rice (as to be expected) with beans and some tuna pasta salad.

Halfway through our meal, Carlos called over because he had spotted a toucan! So I enthusiastically got up (not forgetting my camera) and joined him in the hunt for the ever-elusive toucan! The bird had flown to a different tree, so we followed it from below. We had to course through a bit of the jungle. We could hear the toucan's calls, and Carlos pointed out to me where to see it (all in Spanish), and it took a while to spot because it was mostly black, but I did see it. Unfortunately it was too difficult to capture on my camera, so the only pic I have is of a black splotch in the trees.

Driving back from the hot spring, I fell asleep, lulled by the thundering bumps of the rocky road.

Our car got a flat tire. Er, not just a flat tire, but a completely shredded rear passenger-side tire. Fixed it (it was searing hot to the touch). And were just less than 5 minutes from where the gravel roads switch back to being paved.

"Dodging potholes" seems like the advice I'd give someone on how to drive around here.


Our day at the hot spring was relaxing. The drive was harrowing, mostly because of the gravel/rock roads.

Ticos are a good people, as evidenced by the fact that they acknowledge each other as they pass on the roads, either with a small honk or a wave. There is definitely a type of solidarity amongst the people here that we just don't have in the States.

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