The first word that came to mind when I thought about these 24 hours is “wild”.
So, my (much younger) classmates had been going out partying every night of the week and getting all of their fun in, while my idea of fun was watching the new season of Orange is the New Black with Spanish subtitles and going to bed at 9:30. I was on a high after such a great day at Isla Zapatilla, and they convinced me to go out on Saturday night. My bedroom is like 100 degrees (literally. There is no AC), so getting ready to go out is quite a chore and you completely reverse the shower you just took.
We watched the sunset at one of the many beautiful bars on the water. Most of them are open, on the water, and have their own little piers so you can jump in the water at any point. The one we went to (Mamallena) has this wheel you can spin to try and win a free drink. The trick is, you also take the risk of spinning the wheel and landing on one of the 2 “bad” slots: you must jump off the pier and into the water, or have a bucket of ice water dumped on your head. I figured the chances were low.
I figured wrong. I was the first person to spin it and it landed right on the ice bucket! Now, if it didn’t take everything 3 days to dry or I hadn’t just gone through the trouble of trying to look nice for the first time since I was there, or if it had been the END of the night and not the first 10 minutes I was out….I would have been all about it! But, none of those things were true 🙂 The bartender was so excited to throw this bucket of ice water on my head.
I’m a person of my word so I accepted the challenge. VERY luckily, I brought my rain jacket with me and I totally cheated and put it on. He wasn’t very happy about that and made sure to splash it in my face and get my shorts soaking wet.
It was the start of a great night and I ended up staying out until 4 am, dancing, watching fire dancers, and getting my face painted. Going to bed at 4 am meant I had a whole 4 hours of sleep before I had breakfast at 8 am with my host family. I’m too old for this!
After breakfast- off to the next adventure. 9 am meetup with three of my classmates for a 4 hour ride on ATV’s through the jungle! It was pouring rain and I was very tired so I was kind of hoping it would be cancelled; but, no.
Because of the hard rain, it was going to be much muddier than normal and they let us know that we would be head to toe wet and dirty. We got a 15 minute lesson on the 4-wheelers, they told us about 10 times that it would be very challenging and we needed to work together to get through it, they reviewed the map and all the ground we would cover, and then we were off!
It took about 2 minutes to get soaked and muddy and about 10 minutes before it was challenging and we had to work together to get through it 🙂 The sand was thick and wet and there were viney roots sticking out everywhere. One of the girls got her wheel completely stuck in a root. It was wrapped around the wheel and after 20 minutes of forward and backwards and almost losing a limb, it wasn’t working. It was just getting more stuck. They wanted to call the place and send someone one to help us, but I was pretty determined to do it ourselves. After some directing of placement of feet and hands and a little prayer that the thing didn’t blow up, the four of us untangled the vine from the wheel while simultaneously picking it up and carrying it to a different spot.
Mission accomplished. We felt pretty bad-ass. Who knew the hardest part of the trails were yet to come! But, we saw a sign (literally) that said “You can do it!” so we plunged ahead through the muddy water.
We took a break at one of the beaches called “La Piscina” and when we were walking there, we found a machete on the ground. That machete would have come in handy when we were trying to untangle that root!
When we were at La Piscina, a man named Irwin showed up from the ATV place. He said they were concerned we might get stuck because of the rain so he would trail us to help if needed. He ended up being our angel. We made it to the very north of the island to the Blue Lagoon. When it is sunny, the lagoon lights up with turquoise colors and shimmers in the sun. But, it was still pouring rain- no sun in sight. Nevertheless, it was beautiful.
We were already so wet that it was like we had jumped into the water, so we jumped in the Blue Lagoon! It was a moment 🙂 The water was crystal clear. It was so tranquil and all you could hear were the sounds of the jungle and the ocean in the background.
After we waded in the water for a bit we hopped back on the 4 wheelers to the Monkey Trail. No more pictures after this because my phone would have been ruined with mud. It was gnarly. In the moments of frustration when we were getting stuck, we kept saying “Why didn’t they tell us how hard this would be?!” Oh wait, they did.
5 hours later, when we finally got back- we were feeling very accomplish, very bonded, and very dirty. We hosed down in our clothes and about 5 minutes after we got back, the rain stopped, the clouds parted, and the sun came out.
We sat by the bar, played with the birds and talked to the owner who was pretty much a real pirate. He had a wooden leg, a bandanna on his head, a gold hoop earing, old gold coins in his pocket, a machete and a talking parrot on his shoulder.
We didn’t go home until 5 pm and after that day and I got the best night of sleep yet!
Here’s to more adventuring ahead.