Team TWB Scores In More Ways Than One

Having to “think on my feet” literally tonight — the internet room at our Arenal Backpackers’ Hostel doesn’t have any chairs so I am standing at the computer terminal to compose this entry.

The last 36 hours in Costa Rica have been unbelievable.  Starr did a fantastic job of blogging yesterday’s experience in Manuel Antonio Park so I don’t have to go back to that except to touch on one incident that he left out — William had left his package of Wet Ones in the pocket of the shorts he had tied to a tree limb before we went into the ocean, convinced that the delinquent white-faced capuchin monkeys who plundered with more relish and savvy than Blackbeard’s pirates wouldn’t have an interest in it since it wasn’t edible…Wrong!  William watched in horror, and Starr and I in amusement, as one of the little kleptomaniacal suckers unzipped the pocket with perfect aplomb, grabbed the packet and absconded with it into the highest branches of the tree.  Then, as William looked on in disbelief, the monkey ripped all the Wet Ones out of the package and threw them back down at his feet.  I swear the expression on the puckered white face staring back at William was one of pure mockery mixed with a hint of malevolence.  Still, the theft was a small price to pay for a day filled with unending miracles…’Course, it wasn’t MY Wet Ones that were swiped, and anyone who knows William knows he would probably rather have had his wallet lifted….

We left Manuel Antonio early this morning as the rain began to fall.  Apparently, the clear skies we enjoyed yesterday were bookended by days of downpour — how blessed were we?!  The drive to Arenal, which is a massive volcano, and one of the world’s most active, took about four hours and was spectacular, wending us over green, green mountains dotted with dairy farms and commercial nurseries, and thick with a bone-chilling fog.  When we arrived in La Fortuna, the small town nestled near the base of Arenal, the desk clerk at Arenal Backpackers informed us that our timing was perfect, as it was the first clear day after four consecutive days of nonstop rain.  Thanks, Great Travel God!

Arenal Backpackers claims that it is “Costa Rica’s only 5-star hostel” and it lives up to its own hype.  Spacious, spic and span rooms with great mattresses, picture windows, a beautiful pool area, great reggae and salsa music blasting from its bar, laundry service — we’re living high on the hog here for $25 a person and we’re taking full advantage.  Instead of washing our laundry in the sink with travel suds, as we’ve been doing, we sent it out to be cleaned.  YES!  And after Starr and I are done with our blogging duties tonight the three of us are going to hit the pool and William and I are going to celebrate today’s TWB score with a cuba libre or two.

And speaking of TWB, I’ve saved the best for last.  Late this afternoon, as we drove to take a look at the Arenal Observatory Lodge, a place renown for its views of the volcano, we spotted a group of about eight pre-teen kids and one tiny tot on the side of the road, just sitting there hanging out.  We pulled over and I asked them if they liked soccer.  When they said yes, I asked why they weren’t playing and they responded that they didn’t have a ball.  I whipped a ball out from behind my back and told them it was for them.  Smiles of sheer joy and then we had a quick kick-around while Starr filmed the whole thing.  The tiny tot, who couldn’t have been more than three, was in the thick of the action, striking the ball with gusto.  Maybe we’ve discovered the next Messi?   As we pulled back down the road they were still waving and grinning and shouting their thanks. So it’s our first Costa Rican GOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL for Travel With Balls!

Peace & Blessings,

Jan

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