Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Costa Rica: Leaving The City

by Donna L. Watkins

The day arrived to head for the jungle ... after many long days of waiting and more challenges than I could ever have imagined. The ride out of the city and into Brauilo Carrillo National Park felt like a rescue. It seemed I had been held captive in the city with its many hurdles. And now I was being carried away to the oasis of forests. I couldn't stop smiling as I inhaled the fresh air and enjoyed the sights of the beautiful mountains.

The last weekend at the homestay was especially long, but I enjoyed the free time to get online and chat with some friends and have a long conversation with my husband. Although I was not to leave until 7 AM Monday morning, my bags were packed by Saturday noon. I was counting the hours, and yet ... it almost seemed that it wouldn't happen. It just seemed too good to be true.

Alas, on Sunday evening, Maria knocked on my door to tell me that the driver had called and had car problems. He would not be able to take me to La Selva. Before my heart fell beyond my knees, she also informed me that her husband would take me at the same time.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - La Selva Suspension Bridge
We departed earlier today and arrived without problems. I was grateful that I had Rodrigo and Maria to help me with my luggage since it was a 7 minute walk to the reception area. After checking in we crossed a long suspension bridge over the river.

I had to giggle as I walked over it. I had just talked with a friend last night about her fear of bridges. She's been a great comfort to me on my challenges and was telling me that she would now be able to cross bridges by visualizing some of the photos I'd sent to her of what I was dealing with.

As I walked out to the area where there were no more trees, just a river a long way below, I wanted to shout, "Come on, girl!" I was still excited and smiling all the way. At the end of the 15 minute walk to the River House where my room was, the smile disappeared. Although my husband asked several times if there was a private bathroom and was informed there was, my room was not even close to the bathhouse that had 2 toilet/shower areas. There were 18 rooms in the building. I had to go across the long porch, down the steps, and then walk about 40 feet to use the toilet. I expected rustic ... but this was pushing my comfort zone yet again.

After 25 days of challenges in the city, I didn't think I had it in me to do 19 days more. Having to go into the jungle at night to use a toilet did not fit my idea of a relaxing time. Normally, I just put up with something and make it through, which is what I did in San Jose. Although I didn't have any high expectations for La Selva, I did expect a bathroom.

The check-in information warned me to use boots while walking the grounds due to the numerous poisonous snakes. They are provided outside each cabin of rooms. If I had to get into slightly muddy boots each night to use the toilet at my seemingly scheduled 2 AM trot, and watch for snakes along the way, I would definitely be awake by the time I returned and wouldn't get back to sleep.

So, I took the walk back to reception to tell them my problem. Along the way I realized that a 15 minute walk with a flashlight in a totally dark jungle after dinner would not be too enjoyable, especially since my flashlight did not shine a very large beam of light. I was now gathering plenty of reasons to skip my usual behavior of "rolling with the punches" and prayed they would have another more acceptable option. Fortunately, they did.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - La Selva Cabin 5, Room D
Not only did I get a private bathroom that was right outside my room, the cabin was only a 5 minute walk to the dining hall. The room is a lot brighter, has a tile floor and is larger than the room I had in San Jose. It also has a wall of shelves, and being the organizer that I am, that got me real excited. The desk was like getting gold.

While I was in the city dealing with issues, I referred mentally to concentration camps many times to remind myself that my troubles were tiny. As I passed through the mountains and forests so excited to be "free" I thought about how such experiences can really change your life around. You see things differently. I had hoped to gain a lot from this 9-week trip. Maybe I'm getting glimmers of somebody new within. God uses all the bad junk for good, so I know there will be a new part of me to take home and share with others.

La Selva Biological Reserve ... I can't believe I'm here!

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