Written by Carolyn C. of Head Royce School
Day Nine: Monday June 23rd
We woke up that morning weary from yesterday’s adventures but eager to embark on today’s. Once we had eaten our breakfast of eggs, beans, rice, and tortillas, we all packed into the van to drive to the headquarters of a ziplining company, where we would spend the day with their guides whizzing through the rainforest! Once we arrived at the headquarters, we transitioned to another van, which drove us to their “base camp”. After a short walk across a bridge and a gravel path, we arrived at a patio area, where we were outfitted with ziplining gear and would eat lunch later. We learned about how to conduct ourselves during the tour, and then we split into two groups and headed off in their truck towards the start of the canopy tour. We bumped through green rainforest, light rain sprinkling down from above the treetops. While we drove, we even saw a pair of monkeys that jumped across the trees right above our heads! The ride was quite an event, but no comparison to the ziplining itself. We sped through and above deep rainforests covered in all shades of green and different plants. We flew over long drops and watched the plants and flowers turn into colorful blurs beneath us, while the blue, cloud-shrouded mountains in the distance provided a majestic backdrop. It was exhilarating and beautiful all at once, and being able to see the grand landscape from a distance yet be enmeshed in it at the same time was an unforgettable experience. From the mountains to the treetops to the magnificent bright blue butterflies that fluttered among us, the whole tour showed us how facinating and wonderful nature is.
We finally rappelled down to the ground after soaring across multiple ziplines and walked towards the patio for lunch. They served us sweet tea which tasted like candy, and of course, yummy rice, beans, vegetables, and fish. Every bite was delicious, and with full stomachs, we headed off to our next activity: performing another beach survey. We drove to the beach while the sky grew greyer. As we walked along the beach filled with detritus, we took note of what we found (lots of crab holes and litter) and walked barefoot in the soft, wet sand, tracing pictures with sticks and enjoying our day of nature immersion: first the forest, now the ocean.
Once we finished our survey, we drove back to our motel and relaxed or helped organize our data from the two beach surveys into spreadsheets. We also observed a humongous beetle perched on the side of a support beam, which Humberto nonchalantly picked up with his bare hands! After the brief rest, we changed clothes and drove off to dinner. On our way there, Humberto and our driver Sammy pulled up to a shabby Chinese restaurant which we had observed on our way to the ziplining headquarters. They tricked us into thinking that we were going to eat there, and we laughed at their craftiness as we pulled away from the curb and to our true destination. There was a smallish “port” with a huge white resort on the edge of it, rimmed in fairy lights which glowed against the approaching dark of the blue night. We climbed up white steps to the restaurant, which was by far the nicest one we had gone to this trip.
We picked our seats on the deck overlooking the water, and while we waited for our meals to be prepared, we munched on crispy tortilla chips with fresh guacamole and salsa. We chatted and joked and reflected on our day and on our trip while we worked our way through our huge, American-style meals: hamburgers, tuna melts, chef salads, and the like, which actually tasted better than most of the similar fare served in restaurants back home! Once we finished our meals and the brownies and ice cream dessert, we left the restaurant utterly stuffed. Before we left, though, we played games of foosball on their two foosball tables, which were quite action-packed, despite being on such a small scale. There, Sammy demonstrated his foosball prowess by repeatedly besting us, and on the other table, for lack of a ball, we substituted a chapstick, which actually turned out to work well!
As we drove back, more pranks were played. As a police car with its lights flashing drove behind us, we worried about it pulling us over or that it was heading towards some terrible accident. This sensation was heightened we were heard its piercing siren wailing as it drove past us. We were freaking out until the joke was revealed: Humberto and Sammy had played a siren noise on their cell phone and held it up to the van’s microphone. We had been duped again! We applauded their aptitude for impish antics as we drove back to the motel, crammed full of good memories and good food. After another round of word games, I fell asleep, spent from all the fun and awe I had experienced that day, which had already felt like a long, vivid dream.