Welcome to the jungle

Day 46 - Isla Omotepe

The island is formed by two volcanoes (one still active). Surrounded by a lake whose limits spill over the horizon in all directions. A worthy lair for a scheming Bond villain bent on world domination. The highlight of the first evening was a somewhat basic discotequa you could drive your motorcycle into, whose menu consisted of beer, whose gent's consisted of a wall. All good fun, all rather tame. In the spirit of the trip thus far the next day was spent quad biking around the island. The danger came from the roads whose condition could only only have been worsened by the addition of landmines. Like the gents we are Tania was lumbered with the fully manual beast while myself and Michael scooted along with clutchless ease. Well, until Michael decided to detour into a nearby set of bushes, terrible driver. Surfaces improved markedly near towns and oh how the locals must have loved us bombing up and down with scant regard for the speed limit, bloody gringos. Tania and I swam in rejuvenating volcanic springs before leaving Omotepe though no amount of relaxation would be enough to soothe the ten hour overnight boatride ahead. I must learn to scale my expectations because sitting out on an exposed deck, sleepless, shivered by cold and whipped by wind and spray did not meet them. Though we were trailed by gulls and topped by stars we had vastly miscalculated the amount of rum necessary to make this journey pleasant. I stood next to an engine vent spewing lord knows what noxious gases before the induced headache got too much and I had to sacrifice the warmth provided for the sake of my health. Not for the first time this trip it's an experience I'll look back on with fond amusement and absolutely no desire to repeat. Our next boat trip mere hours later was of a wholly different character.
The long, slender boat meandered slowly up the murky river. Thick jungle swamped the banks, an impenetrable thicket of choking vine and soaring palm. Fecund life in all its verdant glory. The brown water gave no clue of what lay below the gently stirring surface, logs broke through bringing imaginings of reptiles. The vessel's occupants snapped their heads left and right as primitive howls cut through the foliage, a warning? Black shapes moved high in the branches, dark eyes surveying the intruders. Birds of all colours skimmed the water's surface while turtles sunned themselves on the sun-baked shore. It seemed strange to conceive that nature could be so busy in man's absence, our homo-centric view as strong as ever. The old question of the silently falling tree sprung to the traveler's mind. This was how we entered Costa Rica, in a Conradian Heart-of-Darkness style (with a little license). But the country was no Congo, indeed its developed urbanity would quite exceed that we had seen before.

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