Woke at 6:00am after a good nights sleep. I can’t believe, no mosquitoes! The birds were pretty loud by this point in the morning, but nothing unbearable. Personally I loved it. Got cleaned up, dressed, and headed off to breakfast at 7:30am. Breakfast consisted of juice, coffee, bananas and other fruits, toast, eggs, funky cheese, and of course: rice and beans! They keep the breakfast food on a table under a mosquito net, along with a pair of hot water and coffee tanks, and a big pitcher of whole (fresh) milk for the coffee.
At about 8:00am we were all fitted into some rubber boots (“Wellies”) and hit the trail for an incredible 3 hour jungle hike. First we passed the caiman pond, a meadow with horses and a few baby horses (just born a few days ago!), crossed a stream, and then headed into jungle. Along the way, one of the family cats came with us up to the point were it couldn’t cross the stream, and then just sat and cried loudly at the edge of the stream, while we proceeded on without him. It was heart wrenching!
The jungle was unreal, with bright red/orange frogs with blue hands, Toucans, parades of leaf cutter ants, a giant non-biting spider, a bright green frog with black spots, a nearly invisible brown frog on a brown leaf, and the icing on the cake: a 10 foot Bush-Master snake! It was hot and sweaty but not insanely so, and it was mostly out of the sun.
Along the way we encountered a leaf that the natives use to help prevent Malaria. They chew a leaf or two every few months. After the French woman offered to try one even though it is extremely bitter, we all tried. Bitter was not the word for it. After a few seconds of “that’s not too bad”, it hit. My mouth felt like it was going to implode! Luckily I had a water bottle. Someone else took to rinsing their mouth in the stream, which is not a good idea. I hope the rest of their trip was “uneventful”. We also smelled the liquid from a broken vine that repels insects. I swear it smelled exactly like the bug repellant product Raid. Finally we noted a white tree sap that burns with the fury of diesel fuel, but nobody had a lighter so we had to take Gusto’s word for it.
Some Down Time
After the hike around 12:00pm, I headed back to the cabin for a nice hot Solar Shower. Really, it was hot! When I booked the trip I assumed “Solar Shower” was a fancy term for “Cold Showers”, but I was pleasantly surprised! In fact, at the moment in time, it was certainly the best shower in my whole life!
I headed over for lunch at 1:00pm, where we had rice (what? No beans!?), a hash of beef and diced “cuke-like” veggies, fruit, and juice. After we and coffee and delicious little sugar cookies. After lunch 3 of the others were going horseback riding with Gusto. I chose to lay low for the afternoon, having had a very strenuous past 3 days. I needed to regenerate. The Swiss woman also stayed behind as she said she was afraid of horses. Her favorite past-time is parasailing, but she’s reluctant to go on a horse, go figure. I went back to my room to sit and read in the hammock, listen to nature, and do some journaling. I played with the self-timer on my camera and tried to get some fake candid shots of myself in the hammock and doing some writing. This place is Heaven on Earth, that’s for sure!
Dinner was at 7:00pm, and we had a chicken soup appetizer, juice, ham, rice and beans, zucchini, and some kind of bread pudding for dessert, with coffee as always. After another nice round of good food and conversation, I was back in my room around 8:45pm for some candlelight journaling before bed. Bird watching is at 5:30am tomorrow, and the French couple is leaving after breakfast. Before bed I sit and watch the fireflies, stars, and the rising of the moon (2 days past full) in the east. Its warm tonight, around 70°F.