Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Pepito the Clown

This Time Last Year

I'm up at 6am to watch the birds. The usual several species of Toucans; Chestnut-mandibled and Keel-billed as well as Collared Aracari (a smaller type of Toucan). We are ready to leave by 7.30am. Today we are to paddle the Rio Sarapiqui which is the river I screwed up big time last year. I lost my glasses and hat and abandoned after an hour and Carlos continued after that and almost three boats. These adventures will feature in the Blog shortly - it's not yet a year ago! The river was big that day so I'm apprehensive about how it will be today.

As luck would have the river is completely different and I can hardly recognise it. The water is much lower and much less violent.

The rapids are still a challenge though and we have to negotiate them with care. This year though we have Carolyn with us and she is a lot more careful and circumspect than Carlos was last year. At several of the rapids we stop to examine them before proceeding - this is standard practise, though not always possible. The rapids turn out to be a lot of fun until on one corner Molly somehow contrives to dislocate her shoulder. Her paddle jarred on a rock I believe.

Her and her husband manage to pull into an eddy and the rest of us stop to assist. It's fortunate that her husband is a doctor and knows the procedure for slipping it in. So do I now. You pull the arm down steadily and strongly and you hang on for however long it takes. Eventually the muscle relaxes and the joint goes back into the socket. This can take up to ten minutes.

Of course her arm is still sore so we make a sling. Carolyn then paddles with her - she can't paddle at all now, and I paddle down with her husband. We almost capsize at the next corner as I cut into the slow water too fast and at the wrong angle and the braking effect almost has us over. Sometime it's tricky to go back to tandem paddling when you've been solo all week.

After a while we decide to explore a side-stream and paddle up there until it becomes too narrow. We do find a pleasant shady spot for lunch.

It takes us about four hours in all to paddle back to our hotel which is on the river bank. This is the first time I've paddled this river so I'm pleased to get it under my belt. Other outfitters offer rafting on this river so you have an idea of what it can be like.

We laze all afternoon reading books and chasing butterflies.

In the early evening Luis and I drive into town to pick up some wine and beer for dinner.

This Time in 2007

I was up at 6am to take photographs of the city from this great vantage point. Couldn't get a coffee out of the hotel until 7.30 though!

After breakfast, Jim, Carolyn and I jumped a taxi down to Santa Ana and checked in with out friends there.

I got my laundry done and caught up with everything down at the Internet Cafe.

Jim left for the airport to go back to the USA but came back later as he was bounced. They gave him $350 for that!

In the afternoon I went with Taty and Pepito to a children's party. Taty does face-painting and Pepito is a professional clown. We drove across San Jose with a fully made-up clown driving like a madman and honking on his horn. Unbelievably he actually had a horn that sounded like a clowns car in the circus ring. I fully expected the doors to fall off. He drove like a lunatic too, even more so than most other people in Costa Rica. He weaved in and out of the traffic often with his head out of the window and laughing. Amazingly he got away with it and everyone else just thought it was funny. No road rage at all. Complete madness, and not something I shall forget in a hurry.

The show was great and I took a lot of shots for them.

Watched Costa Rica beat Panama at football on the TV. Dinner and bed.