In the blanketing darkness of the power cut, the giant toads called mournfully to each other on the grass as the iphones and torch lights bobbed along the paths.
We drove to the start of our ride today, a small town off the Pan American highway called Bagaces, forever known in my head as Baggages. It was to be an uphill day and after yesterday’s downhill day and several bouts of severe indigestion (brought on by the daily breakfasts of rice and beans, a Costa Rican specialty!), I wasn’t feeling it. It was only a 30km ride but I threatened to get on the support bus every other second. Grumpy is an understatement.
But to my credit (someone’s got to praise me for this, surely?) I kept pedalling up the endless inclines. They weren’t particularly steep but the heat was blistering and even the ramps to get onto the pavements were beginning to feel like hills.
With 6 km of really steep safely behind us, we stopped in La Fortuna (another one) for a drink stop and I had a herbal lemonade that was mint infused. It was the weirdest taste but after the strange assault on my taste buds, the sugar kicked in and then the settling effect of the mint on my digestive system. I felt surprisingly better.
It was such a great relief at 28 km when the uphill finally stopped and gave way to 2 km of rolling downhill, and our hotel, Hotel Yoko Termales. This is a beautiful hotel, semi-detached bungalows dotted on the grass, surrounded by the thermal pools. The hottest of these is hot, even hotter than bath water. But relaxing in a slightly cooler one (still hot though!), certainly hit the spot!
It wasn’t all fun and relaxation though as my partner heard there was a walking trail around the hotel so he was keen to investigate. It wasn’t a sandals event as the paths were through the forest and I was worried about what I might find there.
And it turns out I was right to think about this. Although a clear track in places, there is a lot of leaf litter on the forest floor and coming back, just as the sun was setting was when I saw my first slithering snake unprotected by a reassuring guide telling me ‘it’s deadly’ or ‘it won’t hurt too much’ I got enough of a look at this one to know it was about two inches in diameter, brown and shiny. I didn’t wait around long enough to check out the pattern on its back but I think it was fairly plain. “Shiny is good!” the guide told me later as we sipped our pre-dinner drinks in candlelight due to a power cut. Our other guide laughed at the now named path ‘snake alley’. “We have lots of snakes here,” he said. And then proceeded to tell me about his grandfather who had lost two fingers working on the pineapple plantations. A sobering thought as you snack through your pineapple chunks?
In the blanketing darkness of the power cut, the giant toads called mournfully to each other on the grass as the iphones and torch lights bobbed along the paths. As we made our way back to our room, a million voices of the rainforest snickered in the blackness of the evening.