Thursday, February 20, 2014

# 55: Costa Rica Part 2

Here we are with the second installment of the South Carolina Public TV sponsored Costa Rica tour with the naturalist Patrick McMillan; if we move right along we can finish the tour with this posting.  In this edition we leave La Fortuna and move to the Pacific Coast, staying in Manuel Antonio.  While there we stay at an exotic resort, take a boat ride on the ocean, see monkeys walking on power lines and visit a seaside park.  Next we ride to Monteverde where we explore a cloud forest and take a walk on bridges above the treetops.  Then we return to San Juan and leave this beautiful land. 

In a few weeks I will move from my winter parking place in Dade City, Florida; I also will soon have another booklet ready for distribution; “Mediterranean Tour, Faith of Jesus Part 2” is being printed now.  This booklet describes the tour of the Mediterranean Jesus took with the Indian merchant and his son.  Someone who proofread the booklet expressed surprise at how many of our favorite Urantia Book quotes come from this section of the book.  If anybody wants copies let me know, they should be ready in a week or so.

I believe I have used most of the travelling quotations from the Urantia Book so the quotations for this posting are from the new booklet.  The only problem is there are so many good ones; this one and the one at the end somehow seem appropriate for this posting.  In the first one the Indian youth, Ganid, has asked Jesus why he spends so much time with strangers, his response is:

“Ganid, no man is a stranger to one who knows God. In the experience of finding the Father in heaven you discover that all men are your brothers, and does it seem strange that one should enjoy the exhilaration of meeting a newly discovered brother? To become acquainted with one’s brothers and sisters, to know their problems and to learn to love them, is the supreme experience of living.” The Urantia Book (1431.1) (130:2.6)

Arenal Volcano at Sunset

As we were returning to our hotel the last afternoon at La Fortuna somebody suddenly shouted “Stop the Bus!”  This was our first view of the volcano next to our hotel; we had not seen it previously because of the cloudy weather, what a sight!

The next morning we headed out toward the Pacific coast; on the way there the bus stopped at a small tourist stop next to a river.  We then walked the bridge over the river and in the middle of the river was a small muddy island covered with fat, healthy and presumably hungry, crocodiles.  It was interesting to look down on them from a safe distance; they were just chilling out and sunning themselves but they did look formidable.  

As we approached the coast the bus stopped along the road and nearby was a tree with several Scarlet Macaws perched in it, most of us got out to get photographs.  It is amazing that anybody can spot such a sight in time for the bus to pull over and allow us to enjoy seeing these beautiful creatures.

Scarlet Macaw

Our hotel in Manuel Antonio overlooking the Pacific was the Parador Resort and Spa; this is easily the most elegant place I have ever stayed at.  It has received the prestigious Platinum level “Leader in Sustainable Tourism” Adrian Award from HSMI and National GEO Traveler.  This view of the pool and beyond is exactly how it came out of the camera; it needed absolutely no Photoshopping whatsoever.  This type of pool is called an infinite pool because of the way it blends into the ocean and the sky beyond.

                                                    Parador Resort in Manuel Antonio

The next morning we went for a hike in a National park on the beach where we saw this fellow taking a snooze; in fact that is about all Sloths do, sleeping as much as seventeen hours a day.  Since all they eat is leaves their metabolism is so low that they move very slowly, our guide told us it is fun to watch their territorial disputes; it is like watching a fight in slow motion.

That afternoon there was a Catamaran tour along the shore and into the ocean.  This was a delightful ride; we saw a humpbacked whale and the boat stopped in a cove to allow snorkeling and diving off the top of the boat.  I did not go in but it was fun just to watch and soak in the sights.  Before heading back to shore the catamaran paused so we could enjoy a spectacular sunset.
Sleeping Three Toed Sloth

The last morning before we left this resort we walked down the road a bit.  There were electric lines along the road and the monkeys were using them as their private highway.  A female monkey was walking upright on one wire, holding on to another that was about waist high, a young monkey was riding on her back with arms and legs wrapped around the mother and his tail was even wrapped around hers.  There was a disturbance ahead that she was watching intently; before she got too close she went into the trees.  Patrick was watching the disturbance through binoculars and said one of the males was getting a bit too frisky for his own good.

We next moved to Monteverdi in the mountains, which was very windy all the time we were there.  The next morning we rode over the continental divide into a cloud forest; before we entered the nature preserve there were three hummingbird feeders that had a flurry of colorful activity.  This is called a cloud forest because the moist winds from the Caribbean sweep up the mountainside and near the top there are nearly perpetual clouds.  We did not see many interesting critters but it was a joyous place to walk; the paths were well tended and our local guide was quite knowledgeable.

Cloud Forest: Looking Down at Treetops

For the afternoon we had the choice of doing a zip lining or walk over bridges above the treetops; for me that was a no brainer, how can you appreciate the environment if you are hurtling past it at breakneck speeds while dangling from a wire?  On our hike there were at least six bridges spanning valleys; the bridges were sturdy and well built.  It was interesting to look at the bromeliads, orchids and other plants growing on the upper branches of the trees.

All too soon it was time to leave this enchanted land and return home.  This was the most enjoyable trip I have ever had and I am looking forward to whatever they offer next year; stay tuned!

The final quotation also comes from Paper 130 “On the Way to Rome.”  While Jesus, the Indian merchant and his son Ganid were walking in the mountains of Crete they came upon a young man who was despondent; after gaining his attention, Jesus said to him:

“Sit down with me while I tell you of the service trails and happiness highways which lead from the sorrows of self to the joys of loving activities in the brotherhood of men and in the service of the God of heaven.” The Urantia Book (1437.2) (130:6.2)

May we each find those service trails and happiness highways.