Costa Rica: Journal Entry 5

Thursday July 24: The sloth

Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio
say the small folded map that is handed to us after we pay our fee. Welcome to Manuel Antonio National Park!

We enter, along with our guide who is short, strapped with a tripod, and is called something like Lilia.  Although we are walking into the jungle, we are still surrounded by other groups of tourist. People speaking English, people speaking German, people speaking French. One guide spots a poisonous snake, and I dare not look too long into the magnifying lens. Jilly is terrified of snakes and refuses to look at all. All of this, however, is lost of our guide who takes Jilly's iPhone and takes at least a dozen photos of it.

But we need not worry too much. Stick to the path. Nature- spiders, rainbow colored grasshoppers, crabs, iguanas and monkeys- surround us but doesn't give us much heed. We move slowly down the gravel path in the jungle that is wet, sticky and thick, which is exactly how we feel as well.
But look! up in the trees there is a three-toed sloth and it is moving! A crowd gathers to look at the creature, known for its stillness, slowly climbing down the tree. Our guide tells us that sloths come down from the treetops once a month to poop on the ground. We were so close to the sloth. Maybe only 5 feet away. It did not seem real. It's small head glances around, not at us, but looking for it's next branch on which to step down.

We move on, this time without our guide and climb up to a lookout point, which is hard for me to enjoy as I have never sweated so much in my entire life. But everything is beautiful. I cannot wait to get down to the water and to immerse myself it its mercy.
I will dream about this beach later when I am home. The sky is so clear, the sand is soft and the water is turquoise and clear. I look down and I can see my toes. Jungle leaves occasionally float by. They are tough and smooth like leather.
Photo by Lucas Intagliata
I never knew there were raccoons that lived in the jungle. They look familiar, only skinner but nonetheless mischievous. Together, with the white-faced monkeys, scamper onto the beach. They are up to no good. We dash frantically back to the shore to chase them away from our stuff. One raccoon has Lucas' book bag in his mouth. Lucas pries it away. I grab my shoe and wait, willing to chuck it at the little devils at any moment. Meanwhile, other tourists around are very excited and try and take pictures. Some get too close to a mama monkey with her baby on her back. I feel nervous and am not sure who I want to through my tennis shoe at more, the thieving raccoons or the idiot humans.
It is a long walk back out of the park. We are tired and don't say very much but rather listen to the hollow monkeys, whose echoes haunt the jungle around us.

We ride the bus to Quepos to get mangos, oreos and Coca-Cola. (This time not from the soggy grocery store). I had forgotten how delicious Coke is outside of the United States. That evening we will sit in the coolness of our hotel apartment and find English channels on the TV. Sipping coke, I wait for Jimmy Fallon to start while we watch terrible sensationalized news from South Florida.

 To be continued..