When you go on vacation from Orlando it is time to get away from theme parks. My merry little band is in Costa Rica, on an “adventure tour” and it’s nice and more than a little jarring to be reminded that the Jungle Ride at the Magic Kingdom isn’t real and the white water rides at Universal are simply wet roller coasters.
Yesterday was something called canyoneering, a combination of rappelling down waterfalls, jumping in streams and falling down the outside of a volcano while evil little Costa Rican men spur you onward. Canyoneering is a Spanish word meaning: “Run like hell the jaguar is chasing us.”
Today was white water rafting and, when my wife of 25 years, Teresa fell out of the raft and went floating off downstream, I had the title for today’s blog.
This is no freaking theme park! We are in the jungle and have brought our almost 16 year old son here to prove old people can still have fun. I’m not sure we are convincing him, what with all the screaming and near fatal injuries. We braved a 2 hour ride through Costa Rican backroads (to find an appropriate “Class 4″ river in dry season), the cold water, a sadistic guide who thought it was funny to knock us out of the raft and assorted other Facebook status worthy events to prove our parental machismo.
I’ll have you know, this blog is brought to you by the guy who thought up the safety rules. The required helmet saved my life when the current pushed our raft under a half submerged tree trunk, I ducked just in time to get a head and then kidney shot, the tree trunk had me wedge into the raft like one of those novelty snakes in a can: only, the joke was on me. Without the helmet, my brain would have been exposed to the beautiful Costa Rican weather, a sight that would have no doubt prompted a bigger tip for our evil guide.
So, then there was the wife overboard incident… Let’s just say, to my credit, I reached out and held her ankle after she bounced out of the raft and howled. So did our son. Simultaneously we concluded we’d discovered an excellent way to drown Mom, dipping her like a teabag in the foamy water. We let go and, perfectly following the safety training, there Teresa went, feet first, downstream. The life jacket kept her head up so she could breathe and, as a bonus, she got to feel every boulder that bounced against our little blonde pinball until our heroic guide swept to the rescue. He pulled her on board like a crabber pulling in his traps. Never once has a guide had to perform such heroics at the faux Jungle Cruise in the Magic Kingdom. Nope, this was real life, Teresa was none the worse for the wear, she was paddling again in mere seconds.
Our lesson? Screw lessons, we want to go again! This stuff gets your heart started and gives us something to share while we embarrass a teenager, how cool is that?
P.S. If you want a GREAT trip to Costa Rica, check out Desafio Tours. (Only kidding about the evil guide part, they were GREAT!) They were prompt, congenial, attentive to detail and thought of everything, rarely have I encountered such a well run company, anywhere, in any country.