April 14, 2008

Costa Rica day four

The next day we were up bright and early to go to Monteverde. Before we left, I snapped some pictures of these goofy turkey birds (I don't know what they are called). They were about the size of a turkey, and were eating the fruit of a tree outside our hotel room. They had a bright red wattle under their beaks, that glowed when the sun shone through.

These beautiful flowers were also outside our door. The white parts are the flower and the yellow strings are the stamens.

We didn't get very far down the road when we stopped to let these little fellows cross the road:

They are called Coatimundi, but everyone calls them coatis (pronounced co ott ees). They were a bit curious, hoping we would feed them, but then they all toddled off after another bus and we resumed our trek.

We stopped again not too far down the road to help pull a small vehicle out of the ditch. It was quite dangerous to stop, because it is a classic way of highjacking a bus of tourists, but our Tour Director stood in the doorway of the bus until he was sure it was safe. Two scientists were out counting and collecting dead birds, and got themselves mired in the mud beside the road.

We tried pushing, but only succeeded in getting sprayed with mud. Carlos flagged down a passing taxi and borrowed a bit of rope which they tied to the tour bus, and used that to pull the car out of the ditch.

Our first planned stop of the day was at a small school.

There was only one teacher for the fifty kids in the community, and the school was very small and obviously poor. The teacher was away at a teacher's convention, but the kids and their parents wanted to enterain us anyway, in the hope of getting some donations so they could complete the construction of their gymnasium. They had the walls and floor but needed money for the roof. The kids danced some traditional dances, and some modern jazz dance, and were very proud of their routines.

The next planned activity was lunch and trail riding through the mountains. Before we started, a few of the more intrepid had a bit of a ride on this:

And then we got a lesson in horse dancing from Angel Raphael:

Some of the group had never ridden before, so the trail ride was exciting and scary, but for most of us it was just a nice peaceful ride through beautiful countryside.

When we arrived back from the trail ride, we all had a dance lesson, designed as a cool-down exercise to ease strained muscles, and leave everyone feeling happy and relaxed. It certainly did the trick.

A nice end to a long and exciting day.

From there, we headed off to the town of Monteverde, supper and bed.

No comments: