Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Holiday Dreams

I knew I had abandoned my blog for too long when I woke up on Christmas Eve in the midst of a dream about blogging. At the moment of waking I was convinced that Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardón had been assassinated during my absence, as this also featured in the dream. I knew it was just a dream, not a nightmare, as the most obvious suspect for such an act didn’t make an appearance. So two enormous Christmas meals later I have finally sat down to write a new post in an attempt to take my mind off indigestion.

Residents of the Spanish capital will no doubt be pleased to hear that the South of Watford rain curse on Madrid backfired spectacularly as dark rain bearing clouds followed me around Central America. I must have got something wrong with the incantation. Despite my Costa Rica guidebook assuring me that the rainy season there is over by the end of November I think they forgot to mention that it is succeeded by the not very dry season. So whilst I am sure that the volcanic crater of El Rincon de la Vieja is probably stunning I can’t actually testify to it as it was shrouded in clouds and we were forced to abandon the ascent by dangerously strong winds and torrential rain. Equally the volcanic lagoon of Cerro Chato is probably a natural marvel, but I couldn’t see it through the rainy mist, and wasn’t prepared to risk ending up in it by attempting the mudslide of a path that led down to its shore.

It wasn’t all so bad. Arenal, the most visited volcano of the country, finally revealed its presence on the third day. La Montaña de Fuego kept us entertained for an afternoon as it periodically spewed out huge boulders that noisily crashed down its slopes every few minutes. Apparently it was still possible to ascend the mountain until a couple of tourists were killed around 2000 as a result of gas inhalation.

This is the nearest I was prepared to get to its crater:

Then there was the very relaxing atmosphere of Tortuguero on the Caribbean coast, with its canals and forest full of wildlife. We also saw plenty of animals further down the same coast in Cahuita and Manzanillo. Some were resolutely indifferent to our presence:

Others put on a little show:

Whilst others were much less welcoming:

Finally, there was also an inevitably slow appearance by the three toed sloth:

The five toed sloth will demonstrate the advances of evolution by returning to full blogging activity in the next day or two. Pura vida, as they say in Costa Rica.

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