Sunday, July 19, 2009

Rickey's Costa Rica Travelogue Part VII: Manuel Antonio

Our final stop in Costa Rica was a beach town named Quepos, home of some of Costa Rica's nicest beaches. Upon arriving in town, we wasted no time and headed directly for the Pacific shore. I found the waves to be most excellent, usually towering above my head. Tons of surfers at this beach. And then there was me, just kind of bobbing around and doing some bodysurfing. Later on, I haggled with a beach vendor who consented to rent me a boogie board (don't knock it--it's a lotta fun). Erika quickly retreated from the sea once she realized that waves were twice her height.A word of caution: the riptides were ridiculously strong--so powerful that a coast guard boast was sitting about a hundred meters off shore routinely fishing people out who got sucked out and dropping them off back on the beach. But hey, on the bright side, no sharks were sighted.
The next day, we made for a nearby park known as Manuel Antonio. It was much more remote and less touristy than the one at Quepos (the park officials only let a few hundred people in per day) and as an added bonus, it's chock full of monkeys. Monkeys that, according to the locals, would steal our belongings if we left them unattended. I eagerly looked forward to this possibility, for it was the final item on our Costa Rica travelogue checklist: to engage a simian in hand to hand combat. I estimate that I could take no less than 23 of them on at once before they overwhelmed me.

With this in mind, got into the park nice and early. This view awaited us:We set up our beach towels a few feet away from this fellow. Behold, the Lizard King:He hung out the whole time, watching us and sunning himself. Thinking whatever it is that lizards think of in their tiny lizard brains. We stayed by the beach, frolicking in the Pacific for quite some time and quickly achieved our most severe sunburn of the entire trip. You know, one of those "it hurts when I blink" sunburns. And still no monkeys or monkey attempts to abscond with our belongings. These little guys had most definitely let me down. To say the least, we were disappointed.

Feeling that it was time to make our exit, we packed our belongings and began to head out at around midday. Suddenly, a rustling was seen in the trees above us. This could only mean one thing: monkey business was afoot.Monkeys: so much like us and yet so untrustworthy. It's a well-known fact that they've been plotting against us for quite some time. I'm warning you, long gone are the days when monkeys would jovially wear ties and smoke cigars for our amusement. Just look in this guy's eyes and tell me he's not working things out.We encountered three distinct varieties of monkeys, these capuchins being the last. I'll admit, they are exceedingly cute. Almost cute enough for me to momentarily forget that monkeys pose a clear and present danger to Western Civilization. Almost.Sadly, the opportunity to wrestle a monkey did not present itself. Park regulations prohibit feeding the monkeys, so I'm pretty sure that engaging in fisticuffs with one of them is off limits as well. Fine, be that way park rangers. Just don't come crying to Rickey when Costa Rica is ground zero for the simian uprising.
The next day, we departed Quepos and drove North to the airport in San Jose. Driving along, we paid a toll for an incomplete highway that we had to exit two miles later. Apparently the highway project was behind schedule but the toll booths were finished right on time, so the authorities figured, "hey, let's open 'em anyway!" This sort of planning isn't uncommon in Costa Rica, a country badly in need of their own version of Robert Moses. This is what passes for a bridge:Rusty steel girders supporting wooden planks. And tractor trailers are driving over this. This is actually high tech compared to some of the other river crossings we were subjected to. I feel so much better about driving across the crumbling Tappan Zee after this. You don't really drive across the bridges in Costa Rica as much as hold your breath and make a mental checklist of places you want to see before you die.

We spent out last night in Costa Rica in a hotel outside of San Jose. San Jose is... well, the it's the capital of Costa Rica. A big poor city in Central America. Our decision not to spend much time there was a sound one. That evening, while outside smoking, I heard 5 or 6 popping noises in the distance. Suddenly, the hotel guard's radio starts going off and he starts talking loudly into it. Not having any knowledge of Spanish, I just tell myself that he's saying "it's those damn kids playing with firecrackers again" and I mosey inside. Then the sounds go off again. This time four quick shots followed by one more a few seconds later. I'm pretty sure it was gunfire. We don't sleep much that night. The following day, we got the hell out of San Jose, dropped off the rental car, and made for the airport.
What did I miss while I was gone? Ironically, it rained more back home than it did in Costa Rica, the Mets are in an injury plagued tailspin, Michael Jackson and pretty much everyone everyone else is dead, and I'm pretty certain that the Riddler is lurking in the comments section of this blog.

[OK, anonymous, I figured out that another word for tiered crown is 'tiara' but I can't rearrange the letters into a recognizable name, let alone figure out the consonant swapping thing you need me to do to learn your identity. Stop freaking toying with me damn you!]

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wfta said...

Welcome home you adorable kids. After such a swell honeymoon, Mr. and Mrs. Henderson should be ready to grind out fifty plus years of wedded bliss. Rule one: never waste a chance to say “I love you.” Rule two: Just shut up and take out the garbage.

It is high time for Rickey to think about giving up the smokes. It won’t get any easier. End of sermon.

Smitty said...

Welcome back home. Mrs. Smitty and I enjoyed your honeymoon along with everyone else here. Spectacular...and thanks for sharing.

George said...

I was hoping we'd get to see the lizard wrestle with one of the monkeys. Now that's entertainment.

That's for all the Costa-Rica-ness!

Adam said...

Feed the monkey poisonous dates.

Wow, what an epic tale of danger, simian companionship and third-world infrastructure. Congratulations on making it back alive.

Anonymous said...

My place of honey moon.

eddie brown
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weesle909 said...

Very well told and entertaining story, with pictures and everything!

Welcome back, and I would be remiss if I didn't congratulate you on the HOF induction!

lots for sale in Costa Rica said...

Amazing!! The nature and the views of Costa Rica are so beautiful. Thanks for share that precious photos.

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which knows no manuel antonio, Costa Rica has not seen a real beach! Costa Rica is beautiful!

Land in Samara Costa Rica said...

My friend was in Costa Rica, he traveled thorough last minute travel. I saw his photos from there, it is amazing place. I would like to go there in the future.

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