Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Arriba Arriba

17 enero Sabado (Saturday): Well, I had a new experience today, Canopying. I have seen it in advertisements and on The Amazing Race and also saw some people doing it when we were in Monteverde, but never considered trying it myself. Then I thought, who knows when the opportunity will present itself again, so I decided to try it. John, the fellow from Ohio, and I were the only ones to sign up, so we had a semi-private experience. By the way, John’s wife Libby grew up in Hillside, IL and went to Proviso West High School the first place I taught, so we have been reminiscing about some of the teachers who were still there when I was. She graduated in ’61 and I started teaching there in ’68.
Back to the canopy. A driver picked us up and delivered us at the center (a small building in the road). Lands in Love Hotel owns the canopy business and a restaurant next to it. Jason, the guide from our forest tour on Fri and Naldo assisted us in getting rigged up, harnesses around the upper body that is somehow attached to a separate section that you step into and wear around the waist. So, we had straps all over our bodies. These straps have 3 hooks that attach to the cable. We also donned a helmet and gloves with a leather patch on the palm of the dominant hand. This patch assists in slowing down at the end of the cable. I keep referring to it as the forest because they call it the Cloud Forest or Rain Forest. It’s really a jungle too, but no one says that here, maybe because of the climate?
So, the camopy process involves clipping the harness to the cable, raising both legs in a crossed position, and ‘taking off’. At the end there is a platform, the guide give a sign to slow down so, you put the dominant hand behind your head and hold the cable. This is a little tricky because if you stop too soon, you have to go hand over hand to get to the end of the cable. We didn’t have any problems, partly I think because of our guides’ skill.
Jason and Naldo were terrific, pleasant, humorous and quite caring. They shared pet names for one another and had a great laugh over the fact that we too used them. I think we knew the meanings of the words, but then again there could be some connotation we didn’t understand. No harm done. We canopied across 10 lines and also tried the ‘Tarzan swing’ where one actually swings out from the land across nothing but the forest, about ¾ of the way to the top. The guides push you out the first time, catch you and push out again, catch and push out for a third trip. We both did that series twice and the last time I went out, they twisted me so I spun around all the way out and back. That was not especially fun!
There was quite a bit of walking up and down a path along the sides of the forest which was marked and stepped out well, but still a bit of a challenge. We spent about 2 ½ hours altogether, but some of the time we were talking and learning about each other and each other’s countries while standing on the tree platforms. Sorry not to have photos, but the experience is etched in my mind and my heart.

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