May 19:  Rara Avis

I slept in spurts.  Noise kept waking me, both from animals outside (especially after sunrise) and the girls upstairs (just walking around guys were quiet...I'm not complaining).  I officially got up at 7:30am and snoozed for another 20 minutes, but at 7:48am Fabi came knocking to see if I was skipping breakfast, which I was.  I appreciated the welfare check.  In retrospect I could have done the bird walk, because I was relatively alert from 5am onward.  But I wanted to try for more sleep anyway.

At 8:30am we started a strenuous hike to the edge of the Rara Avis reserve, where it borders Braulio Carrillo National Park.

Vencejo waterfall, the tallest in Costa Rica, at the "edge of the earth".

Josh or Ben (both were leading the hike) called this a "rufus-eyed" something frog.  I think it's commonly known as a red treefrog, but I might be wrong.

Above that waterfall is a swimming hole, so we swam.  I didn't wear my bathing suit but after some resistance I went in with my shorts and underwear.  I'm gonna be wearing them wet with sweat tomorrow anyway, so I might as well get the mud off my shorts.  This submersion felt good because there were no horseflies under water.  All along the hike I was getting dozens of additional bites through my shirt, though no blood.

I think that's Sandy and Phil on the right.  The guy on the left might be one of the two brothers from Ohio who were staying by themselves at Rara Avis.

We had to walk up a steep hill from the swimming hole.  It wasn't as bad as we expected on the way down.  But the rest of the hike was very strenuous...arguably more grueling than the one Gabriel took us on in Greece.  I was sweating so much I announced that I would like to eat salt to replenish what I'd lost.  Sarah said I could also lick myself.  Well, yeah, I could do that also.  I ended up gobbling water out of a stream.  Drinking fresh water is my favorite part of nature.

Somewhere on the hike we saw what we believed to be another fer-de-lance than slithered away.  Phil called it a fleur-de-lance.  And I forget if it was here or on a previous hike, but he also referred to the Pulitzer Surprise.  Canadian English is slightly different from American English.

The hike ended at 12:40pm and when I got to my room I collapsed on the floor and just laid there for 15 minutes.  But then lunch was at 1pm, so I got up.

We did another easier hike in the rain 3pm-4:30pm to see the waterfall near the lodge.

Ooh!  Next to the viewing platform for the waterfall, we saw this green eyelash viper.  Same species as the yellow one in Manzanillo.  Josh said he there all the time.  He live on Park Avenue.

Here's that waterfall I was telling you about.

Here too.

Here's yet another dump story, because they're so frequently requested:  I took one as it was getting dark, and the toilet paper here was brown, so it was nearly impossible to tell just by looking if I needed to continue wiping.  I felt like a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat who isn't there.

At 6:30pm we had dinner, and afterward Sandy, Fabi, Ben, the Canadians and I hung out drinking.  We taught Fabi about That's What She Said.  Sarah did the night walk again, and when she got back we all played rummy.  Every game of rummy consists mostly of explaining the rules.  I don't think I've ever won a game of rummy.  There were lots of TWSSs (TWSS's?  TWSSes?) during the game.  It's not in my notes but the Dutch girls were playing too, because I remember Rian's attempt to "make my own rummy".  And Josh was there talking about the tapir skeleton hanging over the bar...the tapir used to live there and had a fondness for English girls.  Me:  "Somebody has to bang English girls."  Rian, after some delay:  "Yes!  They are ugly."  Rian is very astute.

Including dinner I had 6 beers, which was my first good night of drinking.  I took the last one to the room with me, and went to bed 11pm.  When I undressed, my belt (which I'd looped through my wet shorts) fell apart.  The buckle came off with no way to fix it.  So now I'm wearing droopy pants for the rest of the trip, and probably at work when I get back, because I won't have time to buy a new belt for at least a couple days.