Sunday, March 12, 2006

Fear Factor: Costa Rica Style

I'm just back from a week in Costa Rica. We rented a beautiful house on the beach at Tamarindo, where 13 of us were waited on, lounged by the pool, got massages, attended an Oscar Party, and did more shots than I care to count. We also surfed (well, learned to in my case-- and I did stand up a few times!), hosted our fellow Whartonites (I'd estimate 60 of us in all were in Costa Rica for spring break) for a pool party, consumed roughly 65 mango smoothies from the local stand, spotted marine life in tidepools, and visited Monteverde to do 'the king of canopy tours'.

Monteverde is one of the most beautiful cloud forests in Costa Rica. It's also one of about a million places where you can do a canopy tour. You are strapped into a harness, clipped to a metal cable, and you literally zip up to 1400 feet between platforms 400 feet in the air so you get to see the 'canopy' of the forest. Those of you who know me well know that heights and snakes are the two things which scare me most in the world (Donald Trump's hair is the third). I went to Costa Rica a few years back and literally could not do the canopy tour. I was all set to go, and then I just started freaking out and couldn't (or wouldn't) do it. This time, I sucked it up and I did it. It was actually a lot of fun.

After our 9th zipline, they took us back to the ground and told us they had a 'surprise' for us. The surprise turned out to be a platform about 50 feet in the air, and a rope they called 'The Tarzan'. This was not part of the tour, as in you could skip this and you would not miss anything. This was a recreational diversion. The shocking thing is that I actually did it. It was literally the most frightening thing I've ever done in my life. Standing on that platform, I can honestly tell you that every ounce of my being said that taking the step off was the stupidest thing I could do for my own survival. Once I did step off, there's this unbelievable free fall before the rope goes taut and you begin swinging. I believe that free fall lasted about 20 minutes, though I'm told it's more like 5 seconds. And then you swing. I wish I could say that as I swang amongst the trees I felt freer than I ever had, and like this was the most fun I'd ever had. In fact, I maintained the sensation that this was the scariest thing I had ever done. However, I was very proud of myself for doing something I would never even have considered a few years ago. And I will admit the zipline part was incredibly fun.

Enjoy the pictures above, one is me zipping, the other is the moment of truth. I'll have more stories and pictures soon I hope!


Anonymous Word Police said...

"Literally" I'll let pass, assuming you really meant it. But "swang"? With a Master's in English?

2:56 PM  

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