torsdag 6 mars 2008

Costa Rica del 2

Det här är en fortsättning på historien om djungelstationen. Jag skrev om det här på engelska och tänkte att det kunde få plats på bloggen.


So... after spending a week or so with Steve and some other crazy people up in the jungle station it was time for a slight change of scenery. Steve had 10 days off and had his mind set on Parque Nacional Corcovado so off we went. The first day we managed to get a bumpy ride out to civilization and then payed someone to drive us from the nice and cool mountains down to sea level. A nights sleep at a sleazy hotel, shopping, hitchhiking, eating, shopping some more, and a few buses later we arrived at the closest village to the south entrance of Corcovado.

Oh, yes, let's throw in the old map here! You can see the jungle station and you can se Corcovado.


Warning, some irrelevant info coming up... So, we got of the bus at this little run down village with only dirt roads, chickens, dogs and the always present humidity. This was at the beginning of the rainy season, early may, and it was a slow time for tourists. Standing on the road, looking around, a bit confused about the fact that no one has come to drag us to their "excellent hotel with clean rooms", I remember this little kid biking towards us. Bikes past us. Stops. Bikes back. Says Hola! Quieren camas? And we follow him to their pretty pink house where they have a few extra rooms that actually are nice, clean and cheap! Surprise! Tested my camping stove with the shitty gas that was all I could get a hold of. Since it was raining we had mounted it indoors with the door open. We got the stove going and WHOOOOWH we have a 2 meter high fire hitting the roof. We throw the stove out into the mud and rain. We later figure out how to run it on the new type of fuel... They only had two rooms. In the other room stayed a brother and a sister from Holland. Started talking to them, hiked with them for a day in Corcovado and later met up with them in San José, flew home on the same plane (KLM!), went and visited them a few years later in Amsterdam... Well, back to the story.

The next day we got a ride with an old pick-up. Maybe 8 young backpackers going for a hike. Everyone else was going for 2 days, we where planning on 7.So we had a lot bigger backpacks, specially since Steve brought his biggest pair of binoculars and insisted of carrying the thickest possible book on birds. (Yes, I like geeks no mater what they are into.) This pick-up ride was something special. I think it lasted for maybe 1½ hours. The road was bumpy so we had to stand. We drove slowly through the jungle and suddenly we where surrounded by big, blue butterflies! They where maybe 15 cm and they where able to fly at the same speed as the pick-up. At most I think we had maybe 30 of them bopping up and down beside our heads. Dark blue butterflies as a contrast to the greenest green of the jungle. It was magic.

The pick-up lefts us at the end of the road, by the beach. We then hiked the rest of the day on the sandy beach. We (well, Steve) stopped many times to look at birds. I looked at the jungle, the beach, the breaking waves and the other hikers diapering in front of us. Finally we realized we had to hurry if we where to make it to the patrol station where we could camp. Just as the sun set we got there and, after not meeting another Swede for two months, of course the only westerner working there was a 180 cm pretty blond girl from Sweden! Oh my, the Costa Ricans had a hard time with her, they had a problem being their normal masochistic-selfs with a girl taller (and wider) than them. We put up our tent on the platform they had built and I could sleep in a tent under a roof for the first time in my life. Which was a great think considering the massive amounts of rain that fell on and off during those days.

The other hikers took of the next morning leaving Steve and me as the only tourists. We hiked 10 minutes to Rio Claro for a bath, then back to the station for lunch, then 10 minutes over to Rio Sucio where we could borrow a canoe and paddle up river. Walls of green on each side, howler monkeys screaming at us, lots of fish jumping, Jesus lizards running on the water and an alligator getting in the water 10 meters away from us. Getting closer we see 30-40 small alligators on the beach. We get nervous and paddle away downstream. (I have photos of all these but none of them are scanned! Too bad.)

We do a few hikes and one morning Steve says he needs some time alone and takes off by himself to a part of the national park that is closed. Someone working at the station says that they had seen sharks coming to feed from the mouth of Rio Sucio. So I took my book and my CD-player (yes, this was a long time ago, CD-player) and went down to the beach. As the tide started to come in I saw the first shark fin. I got pretty excited seeing them fairly close, maybe 50 meters. The water kept raising and looking up-river I saw two alligators. A few minutes later the sharks started swimming up the river a little bit and now only 15 meters away I could see fairly big sharks, maybe the biggest was 4 meters, catch fish, roll over, splash and do general shark-things. The water was now so high on the beach so I was actually sitting on a big branch in the jungle sticking out a bit over the water. The closest a shark ever came was maybe 5 meters. 10-15 sharks was now taking turns coming in. That and the two alligators almost blew my mind, it was too much. I was alone with all this and suddenly got scared. I managed to bush-whack myself back to the trail and took cover by the station. Safe again.

So, the sun started setting, then set, then it got dark and still no Steve. I was scared again. The patrol was very unhappy with the fact that Steve had gone alone into parts of the park that was closed. I tried to reassure them that he was used to the jungle, worked up in the mountains etc etc. All I could think of was how to get a hold of his mother in Canada and tell her that her son was gone. Two hours after dark Steve slowly comes walking into the station. He had been unable to cross the Rio Sucio since the tide was so high and he knew about the sharks and alligators. So he had been sitting reading on the beach by his headlamp until the water came down. I almost hit him.

Then it was time to hike on. So we walked over to another station, on the way seeing more wicked monkey-action. At that station we went to this waterfall where we took turns jumping it.


I remember the only night there. It was mabye 30C at night. It was raining as much as it only does in a jungle. (There was no roof but we had some boards under the tent.) We tried to sleep for a few hours but it was impossible. I oped the tent and saw that we only had mud flowing past, the lawn was gone.

The last day, time to hike out!


What normally is a stroll with a few easy river crossings turned out to be more or less a 5 hour semi-swim for us. The massive amount of rain during the week had turned the dry river into a river again.



I can remember how glad I was to get back on an old road and feel that we soon could get dry clothes again! We walked to a little village and waited there for an hour or so before the first car passed. I think Steve took this photo then:



Steve and me

Then we said goodbye and I went back to Sweden.

This was the last thing I did during my 5 months in Canada, Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica.

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