May 22:  La Fortuna/Arenal

Got up at 8am, wired despite the beers.

The entire group left the hotel at 8:30am to go whitewater rafting on Rio Toro.  We'd be gone for 7 hours, but only 2.5 hours of that was rafting...the rest was driving, lunch, etc.  Again, no pics.  I was in a raft with Sandy, the Canadians and a random couple.  The chick's name was Rachel and I think she dug me.  Fabi, the sisters and the Dutch girls were in another raft.  On our way down the river, our guide David kept instructing us to attack the girls with a shower of paddle-water.  I felt bad, because at first I didn't realize it was our girls in the raft.  I thought it was a bunch of manatees.  An understandable mistake.  Phil scooped up water with his paddle and sent it toward them, but instead of drenching all occupants, all the water hit Fabi square in the face, like the Wicked Witch when she melted.

We had kind of a rest stop along the river, just to rest.  I held a red poison dart frog (the one with the blue legs that's ubiquitous in Costa Rica photos) and had to wash my fingers afterward...see my comments on the black poison dart frog a couple days back.  And I got the water out of my ear!  It had been blocked for two days, and I was having trouble conversing.  Now I felt like Kramer in jail, clapping his hands, ready for the next adventure.  And I noticed that I'd finally gotten some sun, though in an undesirable way...from Florida I was already tan from just above the knees, but the bathing suit I was wearing on the raft is about 10 inches shorter than the shorts I normally wear (I have something 10 inches long down there, which is how I'm able to measure that gap accurately...all right, maybe not), so I got burned on that 10-inch segment on both legs.  And I got color on my watch mark.  The white area where I usually wear my expensive watch, contrasted against my golden bronze forearm, is my "feature".  And now it's ruined.

This could go on any page in the travelogue:  Everywhere we go, there are puppies to pet!  Sierra Arenal has a few (but they freak out if you're carrying a bag), and the canyoneering office had one that loved to jump and bite my arms, and some place had three dogs that were like Russian nesting dolls...each smaller than the one before.

After rafting I showered, shaved, wrote in this journal, and was on the Internet till 6:15pm.  I made bids on replacements for Infante and more for Cabrera, and set my TiVo for Leno's last Tonight Show.  That's why real TiVo is better than the chintzy DVR you get from the cable company.  And TiVo stole my idea.  Back in the '80s I thought it would be so convenient if you could make a phone call and program your VCR remotely.  Now it's possible, albeit with technologies that didn't exist back then.

Back in the room I watched TV for the first time for a half hour, and saw the end of King Kong (the Jack Black version), which I now want to watch the whole thing of.  Also there was a weird movie where a guy (prisoner?) watches a video of some Tibetan-looking guy instructing him to record all his observations in a notebook and put each completed notebook in a pneumatic tube to be shipped.  Anyone know what this film is?

I counted 15 mosquito bites on my left outer ankle alone.  Brutal.

Leaving my room I saw this frog outside.

And then outside some non-G.A.P person's room, I saw this giant frog repeatedly jumping against the door.

We all met and went to dinner at the Lava Lounge.  I had chicken fajitas, a mango daiquiri and sangria.

Group pic.  This is horrible.  My chin doesn't protrude like that in real life.  It's almost like I'm looking at B2 here, except that's impossible, because he's retired from world travel.  It reminds me of that TA evaluation I got where one of my students said my best attribute was my chin, and my worst was my shoulders.  I look like I do in that bizarre 1989 photo of me, Caren and Emily.  Damn, I look unappetizing here.  That whole left side of the table looks far worse than they do in person.

We did a lot of "would you rather" propositions here, many of which involved Ricky from Manzanillo and Josh from Rara Avis.

Walking back to the hotel, I told Fabi I had a sore hip.  It was probably from hiking, but she implied that it was from something else.  Which it wasn't, but it reminded me of getting sore from that in rarely-used areas.  I'd forgotten.  It has been some time.

Bed 10:30pm.  We were all tired from the late night last night.