Costa Rica 2009:
Day 5 - Fortuna


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Costa Rica 2009: [Day 1 - San José] [Day 2 - San José] [Day 3 - Tortuguero] [Day 4 - Tortuguero] [Day 5 - Fortuna] [Day 6 - Fortuna] [Day 7 - Guanacaste] [Day 8 - Puntarenas] [Day 9 - Central Valley]

Tuesday, June 23: It was another gorgeous, sunny day in Costa Rica, but the night before, it had been pouring. It was a very cool experience hearing the rain on the plastic roof of our cabin. With the dripping from the tree canopy overhead, we didn't realize it had stopped raining until we stepped outside to find yet another perfect sunny day.
Maria pointed out this frog to us on our way to breakfast.
This tree was filled with green parrots. We could hear them squawking but they were hard to spot since they were nearly the same color and shape as the leaves in this tree. The more we looked, the more we found.
We left early for our boat ride back to Caño Blanco. The small plane in this shot looks surreal through the clouds.
Our ride back was significantly faster, since we weren't slowing down to see pesky wildlife.
Jill and Katie enjoyed their seats in the sun.
Well, okay, maybe we'll slow down a bit to see this turtle, ...
... and this crocodile. Look closely. He's there -- or at least his eyes and nostrils are.
This hornback crocodile is just out for the whole world to see. He had a strange shape to his back which Cloy told us may have been caused by his egg shell getting misshapen by a twig or rock in the nest before he hatched.
Back to full speed!
As we got close to Caño Blanco, we were moving at a slower pace, which allowed us to watch this cow lay his head down and take a little nap. Yes, folks, Wisconsin-born Debbie had to come to Costa Rica to see a cow actually lay down on the ground for the first time.
After a brief stop at Caño Blanco for bathrooms and cookies from the store, we boarded the bus for the long gravelly trip back to civilization. Just before our scheduled stop at the Del Monte banana packing plant, the bus had to stop at this banana crossing, because large bunches of bananas were being transported across the road using a little conveyor belt bridge that lowers when needed.
From there, the bananas rounded the corner and headed straight to the plant. Not shown: the single person who was pulling the bananas along this conveyor belt system.
The bananas arrive at the plant, where the guy at the left has a sharp device that separates smaller bunches of bananas from the stalk.
These bunches travel to this station where workers separate the bananas out by quality. The bananas on the top conveyor belt go directly to a big truck to be used for animal feed and such. Not sure where the middle conveyor belt with the medium quality bananas goes. The majority of the bananas are judged to be high enough quality to put into the main bath.
Here are the lucky bananas selected for export. In less than a week, they'll be in the United States being served to kids like our daughter Claire, who absolutely loves bananas. Our garden is filled with the compost of hundreds of bananas Claire's eaten over the years, and here is where a good many of them originated.
We were viewing all of this from behind a wire fence so we didn't disturb the workers.
Several vendors outside the plant were selling chilled coconut water (in the coconut) and were using these large beetles as an enticement for potential customers. Here's brave Julie with one.
We got one last shot of the banana fields with their distinctive blue protective bags ...
... before leaving Del Monte Empacadora No.25 behind.
Lunch was at El Ceibo Restaurant, where we were treated to a performance afterward.
Janet was the only one brave enough to dance with the boy in the monkey suit, and we were all grateful to her for volunteering.
This dance featured more modern dress to the tune of the Jackson Five's "I Want You Back."
The restaurant was next to a pretty stream, ...
... so we all went down to check it out.
We also wandered around the grounds and visited the local dogs.
Back on the road, we had passed so many streams and rivers, we had almost stopped bothering to photograph any of them anymore.
We started to pass agricultural fields. Class, can you tell us what is growing here? Anyone?
Pineapples! Baby pineapples as far as the eye can see!
We arrived at Finca Corsicana, Collin Street Bakery's pineapple farm.
Our guide gave us a fun presentation on pineapple, ...
... then cut up pineapples and served them to us. Once again, there was some knife envy.
Here's a banana tree with the banana peels opened and the fruit missing. It makes sense that this is what happens when there aren't humans cutting the bananas off the trees to eat.
We bought a few souvenirs and admired the nearby fields, and were off again.
It was lightly raining outside but we were safe and dry inside the bus watching a video about sloths. (Handy tip: Pronounce it "sloath" if you happen to be singing in a British accent.)
We started to spot many of these blazing yellow trees in the landscape.
We spotted Maersk, too. Always.
We arrived at Arenal Springs Resort near Fortuna and were once again welcomed with fruity drinks.
We got our keys and walked to our rooms. This huge brugmansia plant was outside one of the rooms.
Our rooms were in duplex bungalows, so Jill was in one half and Debbie and Tom were in the other half. Every room faced Arenal Volcano. When we first arrived, it was shrouded in clouds, but of course with our excellent luck, that quickly changed.
It was dusk but there was an hour before dinner, so we threw on our bathing suits and crossed the lawn to the pool.
Here's the view from the lawn back to our building ...
... and here is the awesome pool with the swim-up bar.
Ah, beautiful Costa Rica. Can this country get any better?
Here's a quick tour of our room.
The best thing about it was the air conditioning. No, the refrigerator. No, the bug-free bathroom. No, the glitter on the paintings. It was so hard to decide.
The bathroom featured a wall of plants, but we didn't think to photograph it in the daytime, unfortunately.
Fortunately, Rick and Beth took one of theirs so you can see how cool it was when filled with daylight.
We had a pre-dinner cocktail at the bar: a piña colada for Jill, and Mai Tais for Debbie and Tom.
We also had a great time hanging out with the Livesey family -- all six of them.
After dinner, we returned to the bar to have the shot we promised Jill. After much deliberation and assistance from the bartender, Jill and Debbie decided on Ron Centenario Fundacion XX años, an award-winning Costa Rican rum. Tom stuck with vodka.
Shots are much larger in Costa Rica, it seems! Good thing we had Coca-Cola Light chasers standing by.

Back in our room, we made friends with a stray cat who wandered on to our patio. Later on, when he came by Jill's patio, Jill came out in time to see an armadillo crossing the lawn as well. We also briefly saw the glow of the volcano before bed.

Day 6 >


Costa Rica 2009: [Day 1 - San José] [Day 2 - San José] [Day 3 - Tortuguero] [Day 4 - Tortuguero] [Day 5 - Fortuna] [Day 6 - Fortuna] [Day 7 - Guanacaste] [Day 8 - Puntarenas] [Day 9 - Central Valley]

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