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Thursday, October 30, 2008

COSTA RICA--PART 2

What a beautiful country is Costa Rica. We thought it wasn’t going to get any better than the fantastic voyage on the Tarcoles River, but we were wrong. We were slated for another incredible voyage, but this time through the air. We rode a gondola up through the thick jungle greenery through the canopy, all the time delighting in the abundantly lush foliage including ferns, lianas, orchids, and astoundingly different trees. There were huge termite hives nestled in the crotches of some trees. Absolutely awesome! The naturalist-guide spoke throughout, naming some of the species or pointing out animals and birds or their nests. It was incredibly beautiful. We watched some zipliners go down through the canopy, and I think I would love to try that. Well, maybe.

We also toured the botanical gardens at the base of the tram. The gardens contained flowers so beautifully and vibrantly colored that we wanted to touch them to make sure they were real. Our guide, however, warned us that often miniscule but potentially lethal snakes crawl into the flower’s recessed parts and touching the flower might cause a very unfavorable ending to the day. We heeded the warning!

There, too, we enjoyed a Costa Rican lunch—fresh fruits, including ripe and juicy papaya and wonderful bananas—the kinds we can never get in stores--chicken, rice, and beans among other things. We also had the opportunity to taste Costa Rican coffee which was so good that we bought several bags to bring home.

We are interested in returning to this very intriguingly beautiful country. We did not get a chance, of course, to see the Caribbean side or the resorts and beaches. There’s so much more to see and do here.

I have to tell you that Costa Rica has a serious garbage problem. There is garbage everywhere—in the streets as well as in and along the rivers. It was so evident that our guide felt he had to talk about it. Randall explained how the government is trying to deal with the problem and has a television advertising campaign to educate people about garbage disposal even as the government works on pickup problems, etc. It’s a cruel irony to see a country so ecologically involved yet struggling with a garbage problem. The crocodiles we saw, for instance, live among old tires and bottles thrown by the river up on the muddy banks. Again, I am only talking about the areas we saw. As Third Age Traveler is more than just a “travel diary,” in good conscience I must mention that. I also say that the problem would not keep us from returning.

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