Still trying to catch up here!
The next morning (still raining, still no sign of the volcano) we got up early to go ziplining in the forest canopy. It was AWESOME. We zipped from platform to platform hundreds of feet in the air, among and above the tallest trees in the forest, back and forth across a valley, over waterfalls, and finally parallel to a creek, above it. Each person had a leather glove on their right hand, used to grab the cable to slow themselves down for each landing. I think the dirty leather of the gloves mixed with the water to make a nice black mud, which splattered all over each of us. We wound up looking pretty silly.
We had planned to leave that day, but instead decided to shell out a little extra dough to stay one more night and take an express bus directly to Cahuita the next day so that I could still arrive at work in time for sampling on Wednesday. The rest of the day I hadn’t really planned for, so we switched hotels to a whopping $35/night hotel, which included use of the hot springs at one of the resorts. We spent the remainder of the afternoon hanging around at these (considerably less impressive) springs, where I was excited to find a species of ginger that was familiar to me from one of my drawings while studying at UCSC. This particular ginger is designed to be pollinated by only one type of hummingbird, and is guarded by an army of tiny ants that will attack anything else that comes near it. It looks like this:
We lounged around for a few hours, then returned to La Fortuna for dinner, where we ate at a place called Lava Grill. I particularly liked Lava Grill because it was infested by cute puppies. There were at least 4 dogs who made themselves at home in the restaurant, and would meander from table to table eating meat scraps that people handed out. (Only meat scraps, apparently, because one of them rejected the noodle that I tried to feed it.) My only complaint is pertaining to the giant itchy welts that showed up on my legs the following morning, and probably have something to do with fleas. Oh well, still worth it.
Sadly, it continued to rain, despite every weather forecast I could find telling me that it was completely sunny everywhere in Costa Rica.
But then something wonderful happened….
We got up at 5:30 the next day, in order to catch our 6:00 bus. As soon as I stepped out of the hotel I noticed that the sky had completely cleared overnight. When I got as far as the street, I was greeted by Volcan Arenal staring me in the face, with a nearly-full moon still hanging just above its smoking crater.