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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Costa Rica!

HOLA AMIGOS!!

As some of you may know, I surprised my girlfrined with a trip to Costa Rica for her birthday this month. Just for fun, I wanted to share some of our experiences with you!



We stayed at the base of Mt. Arenal, a LIVE volcano, for our first few nights. Mt. Arenal is about a 3 hour drive north of San Jose where we flew into.
This was the view out the window of our simple cabin. Notice the smoke rising from the top of the volcano.

After we checked into our little cabin, we visited the local Butterfly/Frog/Snake sanctuary.

We met some new friends from Israel and a snake named Madam. She was an incredibly gentle python weighing in at around 250 pounds!

Natasha wanted to have a zip line adventure through the rainforest canopy of Costa Rica. Here she is rocketing down a zip line hundreds of feet above the jungle floor.

One of the incredibly friendly locals, Raphael, helped us navigate through some very difficult terrain and introduced us to some of his friends there.

Raphael (in red) with his friend Leon (who gave us some of the mini-bananas he had grown), and Natasha.

Raphael also showed us a beach were MILLIONS of baby sea turtles hatch every fall and race their way down the beach toward the Pacific ocean. Only about 2% of them actually survive into adulthood.
This is a spider monkey that we were watching as he was watching us. Spider Monkeys and Howler Monkeys are all over in the thick rainforest canopy.

This little gecko was one of many that made their home at our hotel by the ocean. They make a little kissing sound.


...and then, on our way back to the airport to come home, something amazing happened.

The rains in Costa Rica were legendary. We had been hearing about the havoc it was playing all over the area. We started off down the main highway back toward San Jose to be back for our flight home the following day. However, a landslide had blocked traffic and we were told that there would be no traffic passing through today. Maybe tomorrow. Well that just didn't fit with our plans. So we opted to find another route to San Jose.

Natasha wanted to take a route back through La Fortuna. It was a very very long detour (about 6 extra hours) and seemed a bit too prudent to me. I saw a tiny brown line on the map that went through a little village called Juntas. I thought that would be a much quicker route. Natasha vehemently protested my choice, so we arm wrestled to see who's route we would take.

Juntas was lovely.

Once past Juntas, however, the road became the bumpy dirt quagmire that we had come to associate with the budding transportation network of Costa Rica. As we slowly bounced up one very steep hill in 4WD and down the next, we were both silently hoping that this would soon lead to civilization. Besides, the roads couldn't possibly get any worse. Could they?

Then we saw the river.

Yup, a new born river, the product of several days of incessant rain in the mountains, had formed over our little road. It was 45 feet across, and at least 5 feet deep. I don't actually know exactly how deep it really was because the current was so strong, I could only make it a third of the way across it on foot before I could no longer withstand the force of the water. We could hear the boulders underneath the surface crashing downstream by the force of the current. It was impossible to drive across.

video

A short movie of "THE RIVER" that trapped us in the middle of a rain forest in Costa Rica. This movie was taken the following day. Notice the cable bridge across the river on the left side of the screen.

Keep in mind, the road behind us was very steep and muddy. We attempted to retreat back up the hill but it was no use. Our mighty rental car floundered on the cascading mud and boulders. We were trapped.

We drove back to the river and parked. I had seen a makeshift rope bridge near the road that went over the gully that was currently a class 6 rapids. It had at an earlier point in its life sported wood slats that formed the walkway for dexterous pedestrians, but these boards had long since rotted and been reclaimed by the rainforest from which they came. I asked Natasha to come with me and together we very slowly and very carefully inched our way across this wobbly precarious cable bridge. Beneath our feet the river roared and swirled. Looking down into it made me dizzy and affected my balance. We both fully understood the implications of falling into that furious current. Words fail to capture the intensity of that crossing.

We both made it across. Natasha noted the fact that the sun was setting, the rain was intensifying, and we hadn't seen another non-bovine soul for miles now. We started up a very steep very long hill on the other side of the river. I don't know what was harder, muscling through the steep incline for unknown miles, or just not knowing what lied ahead or how far. After what seemed to be hours, with the light of the sun all but gone from the sky, we saw a glow at the top of the hill. I called out "Hola! Nessicito Assistanco" (I didn't know the word yet for "Help"). When we got closer, we could see that it was a tiny house with several people inside. A family was coming out.

US: "Habla Ingles?"

Them: "No. Lo Sciento."

Us: "Sus carro esta en la callie en la otras del rio"

Them: (Long Pause) "...No...Es impossible!"

They couldn't believe that we had made it to where we now stood. Now that it was dark, there was nothing anyone could do about it so the mother, Loraina, invited us to stay with them that night in their house. Just like that.

Our New Costa Rican family - Miguel, Jefferson, Me, Loraina, and Natasha.

Loraina, Miguel and their 4 year old boy Jefferson brought these two completely unknown foreigners into their home. They gave us dry clothes, and gave up their bed for the night. They slept on a cushion on the floor. They gave us breakfast in the morning and performed great charades to communicate with us. The extent of my Spanish skills is just slightly beyond "The dog has bitten the leg of my brother Raoul." So their patience and Natasha's intuition were imperative in us all communicating.

Natasha and Loraina

Miguel (second from left) and his friends who helped rescue our luggage.

Miguel and Loraina were consistently warm and kind. Miguel rounded up some amigos the next morning to go down and together we retrieved the luggage from the car and carried it over the cable bridge. Miguel confessed that, while crossing, his heart was pounding. He couldn't believe that Natasha crossed it and was very impressed by her courage.

The rental car company picked us up later that day and took us to the airport. We were able to fly out the following day. It continues to amaze me that this humble family took two strange foreign travelers into their home and their care.

It just goes to prove that people are GOOD.

People are STILL good.

And good people are EVERYWHERE.


Take care of each other!

All Things Possible,
Chris

21 Comments:

  • At 3:21 PM, October 28, 2008 , Blogger Susan said...

    May I be the first to affirm All Things are Possible...and glad you both navigated your incredible journey...it's a beautiful story...thanks for including all of us..and for the inspiration. You make a great team! ATB...Sue

     
  • At 7:43 PM, October 28, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Now that's what I call an adventure! I'm glad that both you and Natasha made it home safely - and how wonderful to find that no matter where you go, there are caring people! This is a story you will be telling for years. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Dave

     
  • At 10:44 AM, October 29, 2008 , Blogger Thomas said...

    HI Chris wow what a story i was riveted by your account maybe you should write if you dont already that is. Its been a while since i have visited the sight I have been working all kinds of crazy hours. I have been just to tired to get on the net. IM so glad i had the chance to some on at this time to see your Coata Rican adventure. so cool!. Im doing well but my Dad is in the hospital but i think he will be ok he is 88. oh well love the adventure. Namaste! Tommy

     
  • At 4:18 PM, October 29, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Chris
    Thanks for relating your version of "A River Runs Through It....Around It and Over It". My kind of adventure. So when will we see you and Natasha on The Great Race?(or what ever that show is called)?

    Tommy, hope dad is feeling better soon.

    Sue/Dave...it happened....snow (didn't stick for long)

    Tim

     
  • At 12:07 PM, November 02, 2008 , Blogger Christopher Showerman said...

    Thanks Sue, Dave, Tom, and Tim for your welcome backs.

    Tommy, may I echo Tim in wishing the best for your Dad.

    Hope you all had a great Halloween. Did anyone dress up for the occasion?

    If you haven't yet, be sure to set your clocks back (except our friends in Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Isles) and enjoy the extra hour of sleep (or whatever you choose to do with it!)

    All Things Possible!
    Chris

     
  • At 2:09 PM, November 02, 2008 , Blogger Susan said...

    Tim, Dave, Tom...great comments on our own Indiana Jones duo! Amazing how you've all used the word "adventure"!! I was thinking about it the other night when we attended the Williamston Theatre production of Leaving Iowa...Don (actor John Lepard) is on a quest to bury his father's ashes in the best possible spot. On the way across country he relives the family vacations with his mom, dad and sister on their road trips. At one point, expasperated with the way events are conspiring against him, he shouts out, "I think I'm on some kind of d.... adventure!" I laughed, as I think that a lot about my life, as I'm sure everyone on the forum family has felt that way at times. As Tom said, love the adventure. He's right, however, the more I reflect on Chris and Natasha's "adventure," the more I think we're all glad, Chris, that you're safely home! In this case, I guess we could say that real life is often stranger than... movies! ATP adventuring to all..and Tom, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your dad, Sue

     
  • At 3:23 AM, November 04, 2008 , Anonymous Jaschenka said...

    Hey all!
    Sorry for the long absence here but I've been caught up in some adventures of my own, quite metaphorically comparible to roaring rivers and friends and family to rely on. Poetic, isn't it. ;)Luckily it looks like it is all having a happy ending too, like Chris'& Natasha's. Tom- I wish you strength in your challenge too and all the best for your dad.
    Natasha- it's common knowledge us girls are the better map readers; NEVER get talked into armwrestling to take the touristic route, lol! Glad to have you both back in one piece and with amazing stories to share!

    Hm the extra hour gained in going to winter schedule has been a bit confusing as always to me. I think I am more of a hybernate person. ;) It's a silly thing really anyway, turning back the clock. All for the convenience of a calendar we ourselves invented. But I love autumn and although we do not have the Halloween tradition like in the US we had decorations up over here and some festivities for Samhain. And no we don't dress up- we get to wear what we love wearing..but others may call that dressing up. ;)
    Magical Autumn wishes to all of you, Be Inspired!

    PS I am curious if anyone got to see the movie Bride Flight yet? It's Dutch production with Rutger Hauer in it and filmed in New Zealand. Looking forward to hear reviews!

     
  • At 9:11 AM, November 04, 2008 , Blogger Thomas said...

    HI all. thanks so much for you wishes of my Dads health he is doing much better and back in his room at the nurseing home. He is happy to be back there. IN reflection the other day i was thinking of my Dad how he lays in bed all the time since he lost a leg to old age he seems to be hapopy he is good mental condition for 88 and he looks out his window and he tells me of the cloud formations what they look like and what he sees in them and he watches the birds and he sees larger birds soaring in hi in the air and he tells me how they pick up the thermals and carry them hi. or he will tell me how the small birds will go after the preditor birds and chase them away . I got him spy glasses and a big bird book. and you know he is very content. My point in this is he knows he is waiting to pass on and yet he is making the best out of a situation that i dont think i would be happy with. Heck i'm not happy with my situation and i can do something about that. I think we get to caught up in life and sometimes we just have to look out the window and take a good look at whats out there. We are missing a lot i think. well thats my thought today . thanks again for all your kind caring thoughts. love and hugs and namaste! tommy

     
  • At 7:57 PM, November 09, 2008 , Blogger Susan said...

    Hi everyone,
    Wow, here's this wild and crazy adventure up here on the forum, and no one else is commenting on it! Maybe it seems too unbelievable?
    Actually, it made me think that Chris and Natasha would make a great documentary team! I really mean that.

    Jaschenka, I loved your post. I'm beginning to think about hibernating, too. We had our first snow tonight....how about you, Tim? What's on the way? Tom, I loved your story about your dad. And I love your Namaste message. I like to use that sometimes...along with Shalom. A little word can mean so much. It's so wonderful that your dad is able to look at the clouds and the birds flying. And that he seems to be at peace. Are you writing down your thoughts? That would make a beautiful thing to write about...your time with your dad. I wish I would have done that more with my parents. Now I have to try and remember.

    I agree that we have to look out the window...and see what's out there...and embrace the possibilities. And that makes me think of Chris' "all things possible" -- that we love so much. I kept thinking someone else would post before me about this: I was listening to Barack Obama's victory speech. I know you all heard these words and had to smile, as I did:
    "If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer."

    And this is the line that keeps getting quoted everywhere. My prayer is for that ATP spirit to catch on everywhere, too! Sue

     
  • At 8:43 AM, November 10, 2008 , Anonymous Ute said...

    Hi dear forum family,

    wow, what an adventure, Chris! Luckily, you ended up where you did, with at least one way over the river and kind people at the end of that "road". Glad you two made it okay through this adventure!

    And speaking of adventure, I think the election in the US was one this time too, don't you? I cannot recall that there was ever so much media interest here in Germany, or all over the world, for the US election ever. And I am very glad that Barack Obama has won. Sue, if you had read some of his books, you'd have known before that he is an ATP kind of guy. And if everbody is cooperating I am sure he can change a lot for the better, even if it will take some time. He's got his work cut out for him! There was a great caricature in one of our magazine, the title of which was Hercules in the stable of Augias, showing Obama as the hero with a wheelbarrow and a shuffle. Very poignant.

    Tommy, glad your dad is feeling better. It's great that he can find so much joy just looking out of the window. I know I love to cloudspot when travelling on the train to work and back. There are such great formations and colours out there, it's never the same. You know what they say about situations you are not happy with it, love it, leave it or change it. Sometimes hanging in also works. I was a bit discontended with my job situation in the past few weeks and also with my boss, even though we usually get along fine. Interestingly, it now happened that were told last week that our team will transfer to a different part of the department. Which makes sense workwise. And it also means a change of "command". When we were told I though maybe this will help make things better. So, you'll never know what will come. Just keep a positive outlook and take the time to look at those clouds!

    Have a great new week and stay warm!

    Hugs,
    Ute

     
  • At 5:33 AM, November 11, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Ute,
    Thanks for teh info on how the US Presidential election was viewed in Europe. You are the second person from Germany who has indicated the same thing to me! And speaking of elections - guess who was in Chicago and at Grant Park on election night? Yep, me! I wasn't one of those with tickets so I didn't see our new president-elect myself, but as he was staying two floors above me in the hotel I did have the chance to meet his security (both US Marshalls and Secret Service). I happened to be at a conference in Chicago which happened over the election - I voted absentee by the way - and it was an exciting time regardless of your political persuasion.

    Tim, I'm also glad your Dad is doing better - it's these tough times that really end up helping us to focus on what's truly important in life.

    Take care all - ATP as usual!

    Dave

     
  • At 3:45 PM, November 13, 2008 , Blogger Susan said...

    Hi everyone,
    The countdown to all the holidays, as well as Inauguration day is in full swing. What an adventure...what a ride!
    Hey Ute, OK...I confess I never did go buy Barack's books...almost did in a bookstore one day, but never got around to it. It wasn't that I didn't think he was an ATP kind of guy...that's always been clear. (My other secret confession is that I was for Hillary...being of that age where I'd really like a woman at the top of the ticket. Certain women. Not any woman). So I was torn, as were many Americans.
    Having come of age at the time of JFK, and Bobbie, and Martin Luther King, I was pretty idealistic. I never thought this would take much of my adult life to come to pass. But now that the shift is going on...it's very welcome to me. I'm reflecting on a blog about it...so if anyone has any thoughts to share, that would be ATP! For me, it's exciting to see young people be so involved and full of hope, despite the economic times, and believing that they can make a difference. I guess I'm revealing my true colors, here, but to think that Barack might have that ability to inspire creativity and innovation on a global scale, is a beautiful thing!

    Dave, how absolutely fantastic that you were able to be there to mark this historic occasion! You'll have stories to tell for a long time!
    Hope more insights will come to you that you can share on the forum. And again it's great to know that the forum family keeps each other in their thoughts and prayers...including our host...who is obviously very, very busy...making an ATP difference:)....ATB to all...Sue

     
  • At 10:31 AM, November 16, 2008 , Blogger Susan said...

    Hello again everyone...just a quick check-in here to send well wishes to Chris and all in L.A. with the fire situation blazing again in CA. Hope all is well.
    Wish we could send out some of the snow we're getting here...beginning to look a lot like Over the River and Through the Woods outside...ATB/P/Sue

     
  • At 4:16 PM, November 16, 2008 , Anonymous Alex said...

    Hi dear friends! I enjoyed reading all your beautiful thoughts.

    Hope you're all fine and that all is well for Chris and everyone there in LA; let us know. What terrible fires there. Thanks Chris for sharing with us, your and Natasha's amazing adventure and beautiful photos; it was definitely an ATP experience! Glad that all went well and you both came back home safely. I appreciate your encouraging message. Yes, True good people are everywhere; they are rare but luckily still exist!

    I'm also glad to read here Jaschenka and Tommy's thoughts again; thanks for letting us know that all is doing better for all of you. Tommy your dad's story is beautiful; thanks for letting us know he's feeling better now.
    Wishing you all the best!

    Take care all! ATP!
    Alex

     
  • At 5:07 PM, November 20, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hey All

    I hope you are doing well. Just hopped on here to warn everyone about identity theft. I am one of the recent victims as someone in Sherman Oaks California (Chris?!? LOL) managed to drain my bank accounts in a single day. What is worse than the money being gone is the feeling of being totally violated. I really want to hurt someone at the moment and that is not like me.

    Please be very careful were you use your cards and who you give information to. My bank has no idea how someone in California ended up with my info but currently I am working without a checking account or bank cards. It is a very helpless feeling knowing that for the next few days, the only money you have is the money you have in your pocket. Thank God for insurance and the fact that Friday is payday. Take Care

    Tim

     
  • At 5:21 PM, November 20, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Tim,
    Ouch! You hear about identity theft but never really think it can happen and then bam! You're a victim. You have my sympathies, I know what a pain the bank can be to deal with sometimes when something happens. A lot of paperwork as well I'm sure. Hang in there!

    DaveW

     
  • At 7:44 PM, November 20, 2008 , Blogger Susan said...

    Hello everyone,
    Alex, good to hear from you! Hope all is well over there! We are having winter here now with cold and snow. Tom, hope your dad is doing well. Tim, Just as we're talking about all the good people there are in the world, you have to wonder about some. I know how you feel about feeling violated. I remember that feeling years ago when someone tried to set fire to our home. I'd almost forgotten until you mentioned it. It's a horrible feeling of helplessness alternating with rage and tears. Our daughter was little and we'd come home mid-day to discover the break-in. Some things were stolen, but the idea of the deliberate violation of our home was the worst feeling. And even more so would be your identity. By some miracle the cleaners we were selling that they tried to set afire, actually put it out. May some miracle come out of this crisis for you. As Dave says, hang in there, and may it be comforting to know we're thinking of you...as Thanksgiving comes around the bend, may we all experience reaons for thanks giving in all our circumstances during these challenging economic times. ATB Blessings to all...Sue

     
  • At 7:51 AM, November 22, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hi All

    A quick update....everything will be ok. Much of the money that was taken will be returned thanks to fraud insurance. I often wondered why I paid for that but now I am glad that I do. The hassles of changing everything was not fun.

    Sue, I am still convinced that the majority of people are good and have good intentions. The fact that I would like to knock the snot out of some that don't still remains. That said, hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving

    Tim

     
  • At 9:29 PM, November 22, 2008 , Blogger Susan said...

    Wow, Tim, what an ordeal. Thanks for updating us and glad things are smoothing out. Hope you enjoy a truly wonderful Thanksgiving. I was just reading about gratitude at Thanksgiving, and the article mentioned that on that day is a great time to be thankful in advance for all the abundance and joys of life we are expecting and the things we wish to manifest in the year ahead. Sounds like a great tradition to start. Especially this year. So I'm thankful in advance for all the friendship of the forum family throughout the coming year, the graciousness of our host and the opportunity for us to enjoy some of his projects. And then, I'll be thankful in advance for all the beautiful possibilities that we know our comng our way! Happy Turkey Day to all! Sue

     
  • At 4:55 PM, November 25, 2008 , Blogger Christopher Showerman said...

    Hey all - looks like I've missed a lot since I've been gone. Wow, Tim. So sorry to hear that someone stole your account information. That is a nightmare. I hope your credit institution is working with you to reclaim your lost value. I'll keep an eye out for someone with your identity in Sherman Oaks.

    Thanks Dave, Susan, Jashcenka, Tim, Tommy, Ute, and Alex for keeping the forum alive these past few weeks. Happy thanksgiving to everyone! Hope you find time to make a HUGE list of all the things that you're thankful for!

    I just finished shooting a project today called Complacent. I'd like to thank the great cast and crew for making that such a good experience. I'll be posting something soon about it.

    All Things Possible,
    Chris

     
  • At 4:15 PM, November 26, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    And a happy Thanksgiving to you Chris, and to everyone even if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving in your part of the world as we do in the USA (and Canada, except in October) I share in Chris's sentiments that you take time to give thanks. I know that as I look around I have plenty to be thankful for, not the least of which is my family - who I will be seeing most of tomorrow - and of course, my friends (real and imaginary - haha)! ATP to all -

    DaveW

     

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