Here is a list of 9 cool things that I experienced during my Costa Rican vacation that I would like to share with you (mostly because I dropped the camera in the sand and cannot inundate you with vacation photos until I get it fixed, so you will have to deal with words even though I know it's not the cool way to do things anymore):
1. I didn't get to pop my snorkeling cherry due to the crashing Caribbean waves, which was kind of a drag, but I did get to scratch "get pretty close to baby sloths" off that list I wrote a few months ago. And by "close" I mean "as close as humanly possible to get without a Jaguar Rescue Center attendant reprimanding me because holy fuck is a three-fingered sloth who is only as big as my hand the cutest goddamn thing in the history of cute goddamn things." The three-fingered (not toed, you ignoramus) variety are much tinier than I had expected. Even Buttercup, the celeb sloth at the Sloth Sanctuary, was smaller than my cat, and Buttercup is 22 years old. I could talk about how happy hanging out with sloths made me for the next 8 items, but I'll stop now. Sloth videos ain't got nuthin' on the real thing. (As in everything in life, really.)
2. After an insanely long day of travelling, including a 6.5 hour drive from San Jose to Manzanillo, we arrived at Congo Bongo. Our house was in the middle of the rain forest and the only walls were in the bedrooms and bathroom (and even those had windows with screens but no glass), which, when you are arriving in the jungle in the middle of the night, exhausted and road-weary, is rather a shock. I knew it would be open, but this was REALLY open. After crawling into our mosquito-netted bed, amid the various cheeps and chirps of frogs and birds and bats and the constant electric insect hum, we heard the sound of the torture and anguish of a thousand souls trapped in purgatory, a booming, bone-deep howl that came straight from hell and reverberated throughout the jungle, lasting for at least fifteen minutes and scaring the shit out of us. (I had heard the call of howler monkeys on my previous visit to Costa Rica, but this was something out of a horror movie. I wish I had recorded it.) Despite the unceasing sounds of the jungle at night, we somehow managed to sleep.
3. During our week-long stay, we were visited by a bat, chirruping lizards, an agouti, giant ants, an opossum who tried to abscond with our bananas, various beetles, spiders, hummingbirds, a giant iridescent blue butterfly who died, and one really smelly road dog who crashed on our porch for a couple of nights.
4. On our walks (and one canoe ride) through the jungle, we saw frogs, snakes, spiders, sloths, howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, capuchins, a cayman, crabs of many colours, a raccoon, and a Jesus lizard leap from a vine and splash his way across the water to the shore.
5. I got to pet an ocelot. Let me repeat that: I got to pet an ocelot. On the same day that I hung out with teeny baby sloths. Best day of my life, probably.
6. A baby howler monkey jumped on my head and sucked on my finger, and a toucan sat in Ryan's lap.
7. I bottle-fed and played with howler and capuchin monkeys.
8. An elusive dark-eyed tree frog leapt at me in the dark and landed on my hand (which was holding the camera); I shrieked. Earlier, I stood on a narrow footbridge over a pond in the black night with my eyes closed and used bio-acoustics, aka my ears, to become one with the rain forest.
9. I fought the waves of the Caribbean Sea and felt the pull of the undertow and was reminded of the power of nature.
These are the sorts of things that can happen to you in Costa Rica. You should go if you get the chance. Pura vida, and riot on.