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Bird Watching and Horseback Riding
Rivers, Jungles, Beaches and Bats

Outside patio at Hotel Le BergeracOutside patio at Hotel Le Bergerac (Stephen Smith)
I woke very early at 5:00am after another good nights sleep. The weather has been blissful, but apparently it was not so before I got here. Prior to my arrival, it rained for over 10 straight days! Lisa was bored out of her mind and had read three books. They have been joking how I brought the good weather.

Today’s morning activity was bird watching. I met with the Swiss couple and Gusto for a quick coffee at 5:30am. We walked over to the meadow, stopping often to observe something. Gusto was masterful as he would spot something in the distance, locate it in the binoculars, and then drop the tripod and find it in the telescope instantly. From first sighting a hundred yards away to “hey, check out this quetzal in the viewfinder” in 30 seconds or less every time! Over the two hours wandering the meadow, we saw falcons, quetzals (not resplendent mind you, but quetzals just the same!), toucans, orioles, parakeets, you name it. As he showed us birds, he looked them up in his field guide and showed us the picture and facts about the species.

After bird watching we returned to the main lodge for breakfast, which was basically the same as yesterdays. During breakfast, Gusto spotted a falcon and ran over to setup the telescope and show us. It seems everyone loves my camera (Cannon G10, 14.7 mega pixels). I returned to my room at 9:45am for a nice warm shower, and read a little more of my book. I’m going to run out of book, since I am over three quarters through it already!

Oh yes, the bees! I have an irrational fear of bees. So I was a little tense when I arrived at the lodge and Lisa explained “don’t mind these little honey bees that live on your front porch. They swarm a lot, but are really quite friendly!” But sure enough, they were as small as small mosquitoes, swarmed like mad all day, and never bothered me at all. It was surreal standing among them each time I left, lacing up my boots in a swarm.

Horseback Riding

I headed back to the main lodge for lunch at 1:00pm where Gusto and the Swiss couple were admiring a massive migration of falcons. There was a sky-road 10-lanes wide all the way across the sky, filled with thousands of falcons. The line seemed to be passing by all day long, with no end in sight. Lunch was a nice treat, spaghetti in a terrifically meaty sauce with garlic bread and juice. This time we think the juice was watermelon with a hint of banana. Coffee and sugar cookies for dessert. Since it was very hot (89°F), we decided to delay horseback riding until 2:30pm, when it was a little cooler. Long pants and rubber boots were suggested.

At 2:30pm I headed over to the stable area, where the Swiss couple and Gusto had gathered to saddle up. I was pleased to see that her husband was able to convince her that the horses were easy and tame, and she had nothing to fear. Near the stable area is a giant climbing tree, with several ropes leading up into the canopy. I’m in no shape to try such a thing, but it looked like fun. Being overweight, I felt sorry for my horse, having to carry me around on rocky terrain in the sweltering heat. But he did great, even if we were always bringing up the rear, as he stopped for drinks in streams and grabbed up the nicest greens to eat.

Most of the over two hour excursion was down open dirt paths across the former farm land, but we also crossed several streams along the way, and ventured down a jungle path for a portion of the journey. The path was full of wild banana trees with fruits rotting on the tree. But nothing goes to waste, as it eventually falls and gets consumed by the critters. We also saw a few workers running a chain-saw powered ad-hoc saw mill, making boards from downed trees. Selva Bananito is an eco lodge that is very serious about conservation. All of the cabins are made from “scrap” wood that is too small for the lumber mills to bother with (and was left behind when the property was purchased long ago).

Dinner was again at 7:00pm, and this time we had an appetizer of deviled eggs and tomatoes (yum!), juice, steak, veggies, baked potato, and a dessert of coffee and bananas in chocolate sauce. Half way through dinner it started to downpour heavily, the first real rain I have encountered on my rainforest journey. During dessert Gusto ran off, only to return with three umbrellas for us!

While I thought the rain would make for a nice night of sleeping, I was wrong. I was restless knowing I was leaving at 8:00am, and my bed ended up feeling very damp. I don’t know why, since my tile floor wasn’t wet, but my blanket felt wet. But having grown up camping, this was really nothing at all. The rain itself never came anywhere near the inside areas of the cabin. It ended around 2:00am (I think). As I lay in bed I realize it was Friday the 13th, and nothing bad happened. Just saying is all.

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