25 June 2011

cliff-jumping and inner tubes

Today was probably the best day ever. The best collective day I have ever had. We woke up really early again - 5:30 - and went back to the mountain. It took some time, so everyone fell asleep until we got there. When we got out of the van at the place, the people told us to change into our jeans - we were going horseback riding! So we went to the bathrooms that didn't have lights and we went to the stables and got on our little horses!
These Costa Rican stablemen who didn't know any English got us up on our horses. But I knew how to mount horses, which was good because it was hot and they needed to get those horses a-movin'. So we got on and waited a while (some of the horses thought it was an appropriate time to pee) and then we rode off on the low part of the mountain through the Guanacaste countryside. And the mud.
My horse was actually rather docile and good to me; some people's horses had their own ideas of what to do and which mud piles to go through. Eventually the horses all stopped when we reached a stopping point, and we got off and saw this beautiful waterfall.
And the one of our mentor people said "who's going in?"
A couple people had swim suits on, but I didn't put mine on. So we all stood there. And then he said "well I'm jumping in". And we all looked at him like he was nuts. There was a big 15 foot drop from this cliff to get into the water. No way. Especially in jeans.
But we all stand corrected - even by ourselves - and we all ended up jumping off the cliff and trying to get out of the water with wet jeans. But at what other time in my life will I look back and say "I regret jumping off that cliff". I would regret it much more if I hadn't done it.
That's the cool part about life. We do silly things and we enjoy them. They make life better.

Then we changed out of our wet clothes and got into harnesses for ziplining. This guy who worked at the mountain gave us a little tutorial about ziplining and then he told us things we had to do so we wouldn't die. Very comforting. Then we ascended and started on the first line. It was incredible. Like flying, but better. Then we unhooked from line to line, and we went through 3 lines before stopping at this big gap in the mountain. It was a 100 foot drop. To the bottom of this little creek thing, which was near 50 feet below the 100 foot drop. And we were being dropped.
I started to freak out a little bit, but then I was at the bottom platform and I walked over to a small cove (in my harness of course) and we waited to swing over to the other side. Where I had to face something most terrible - rock climbing.
I am afraid of heights, and strangely I found this out in a dream when I was on a high building. I had never come face-to-face with this fear, so I didn't know if it was real.
It was real.
I started climbing up the mountain, but it started to rain and it got slippery so I just hung onto the rope and the Costa Rican men who worked there pulled me to the top. And in that moment they were my ultimate heroes. I almost died. But luckily the next was a regular line, and then 2 others after that. I was back in the air.
But then we had another climbing segment and this was literally 200 feet above the ground. Sure, I was in a harness, but I was still freaking out. Luckily I got to the next line, did another round of climbing, then finished the last 2 lines and planted my feet safely on the ground. I was completely safe, and I did it.

So I discovered that I am afraid of heights and rock climbing, but that I still had a fun time ziplining.
So after that, we had a buffet at the mountain and you wouldn't believe what they had - rice and beans. But...they also had PASTA! With marinara sauce and everything! And by now everyone knows that pasta is gold for me, and so they all laughed at my utter delight in pasta.
After pasta, well lunch, we were all sort of tired and we weren't really in the mood to go tubing, even though we had wanted to go. But we went down to the river and got into life jackets and good shoes. And by now, it was sort of cold, and we were all ready to get back to the house. But we lugged our 10 pound inner tubes 1/4 of a mile down to the river. It was a cold river, too.
But the guys who worked there just pushed us in, and we started down the river. The rocks and the rapids pushed s through and it was really fun. But then I fell out of my tube - something they said should never happen - and I got in again by myself, but on the wrong side. So I had to redo it. But then we continued on, and it was the funnest thing I have ever done. It was a 5km river path we went on, but it seemed like only a .5km because we were having so much fun! I fell out again, and then again, and finally we had finished and we thought we were halfway there. But it was over, and we were all willing to go again. It was utterly wonderful.
Then we started on our bus ride home, and everyone fell asleep.
Today was jam-packed with things I never would have done if I wasn't here, or with a group. Because even though they were fun, I never would have prompted myself to do it. Here's to going outside of your comfort zone, and loving it. Pura vida!

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