The Tepui Chronicles: South America, Part II

MONTE·VERDE: noun \'män-tē-'vērdēGreen Mountain

The sharp jab in my side sent me quickly out of my dream and sitting straight up. Sweat crept down my spine and memory of the prior night came to mind: driving, lights, passion fruit, a trek across the entire continent of costa rica that ended at the beach.  

Jess had done the jabbing and I immediately realized why. Three cops stared back as I blinked my eyes into focus. 

Passport, license! they called in accents as harsh as a German soldier.

Jess and I exchanged a glance of shock. She clutched my arm in support as we searched for our wallets. The paperwork was passed and the men went into a huddle a few feet away as three more cars and motorcycles pulled in, sirens ablaze.   

We waited. The journalist in me kicked in, racing with headlines: Two american girls arrested. Found sleeping on a private beach in an identified four-wheeler — with valid identification, no past traffic citations and no alcohol? 48 hours in and few things would surprise me, at this point. 

They returned. There had been a gunman on the loose. He had robbed a convenience store just a few buildings down. He had fired a shot at dawn. They would escort us out, surrounding us with the kind of coverage that would make the U.S. secret service look weak. Of course I was attempting to interview them for a story to write. 

"You call me," he said, motioning a telephone. "If lost or need help, I come." 

Jess and I would let out high verbal squeaky noises of delight when seeing any Costa Rican man in a police suit from that moment on. 

We drove on. Morning light fell upon the terrain we had blindly navigated: It was green like this girl from the West had never before seen. The lush, dense foliage loomed above us like an archway to a grand palace. The bird calls and rustling within suggested we were in an unfenced zoo.

We wound upward around the mountain, reaching Monteverde. There I discovered that it is possible to miss a place you've never before seen. My time spent in that little mountainous Costa Rica haven is a melding of luminous moments: gallivanting around an enchanted rainforest on bridges that swung in the air in torrential rain that bucketed down; swinging through the cloud rainforest from one zip line to the next; plummeting 50-foot jungle swing just like Tarzan; python sitings; galloping on horses through the forest; eating the best fish taco I’ve ever had in my life; learning Tae Bo in a local martial arts class; eating a home cooked breakfast from a local Costa Rican; Schooling an Israeli military man in pool; reading Ayn Rand in a hammock on a porch while it rains; more fish tacossmoothies made of fruit plucked straight from the tree; spanish karaokeclimbing the center of 150-foot fig tree; salsa dancing with an Indian at Bar Amigo; exotic fruit tasting.

It was paradise. Absolute paradise. Right out of a fairytale.

Rachel LowryThe Tepui Chronicles Part II
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