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Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: one girl's quest to see the world

Arenal plus sun poisoning

COSTA RICA | Thursday, 5 June 2008 | Views [417]

Hello friends! I had a wonderful time rafting yesterday through the Pacuare river. My boat did capsize, but our guide later told us he did it on purpose because it was "fun". Actually, after surviving it, it was fun. But in the moment I was convinced I was about to drown. We covered 18 miles in about 4 hours and covered some great class 3 and 4 rapids. Also fun: I met another girl traveling alone named Alison and we ended up in the same boat. Halfway through the trip she mentions she is in a sorority back in Kansas, and I say, "oh, which one?" and it turns out she is an ADPi as well. So we took a lovely picture together after the trip (and she's even wearing an ADPi shirt) to send to our alumni magazine. 

Traveled to Arenal after the rafting trip and discovered the tops of my knees were feeling a bit toasty. Arrived at the hostel (which is even better than the one I was at in San Jose) and started seeing some pink. Ended up going to dinner with these three guys from Germany and by the time we're walking home I'm starting to not feel so good. So I slathered on some aloe and downed a couple of Aleeve and headed to bed. 

By the time I got up this morning I couldn't bend my legs, The entire front of my legs, from feet (including tan lines from my Chacos) to mid-thigh (yay long shorts...) was lobster red. I tried putting on more aloe but it so wasn't enough; I needed apple cider vinegar. I was planning on going to see the volcano tonight and then to the hot springs so I had some free time this morning. I thought, hey, lets find a market now that I know the Spanish word for vinegar (ultimately unnecessary, as the label says it in English). So I stopped at the front desk to ask for directions and order some breakfast and before I could even pay I had passed out. As in: on the ground. 

The front desk dude dragged me into a chair where I spent the next 20 minutes with my head between my knees until I could crawl back to my room. And then I spent the next two hours in bed. (Bonus: I got a free bottle of water out of the ordeal!). Around noon I finally made it up and to the market without further issue and found the vinegar, plus some ingredients for trail mix. 

Tonight we went on a hike through the national forest near the volcano and saw some great wildlife (three-toed sloth, couple of bright birds, howling monkeys) but my camera died a few pictures in. Then we went to the volcano but too much cloud cover prevented us from seeing any lava so I'm going to try again tomorrow night. And finally we ended up at the Baldi hot springs. Folks: if you weren't sure, sunburned skin does *not* like hot hot water for the first 15 seconds. Apparently (according to some physical therapist that was with us) it is the blood vessels expanding all throughout my damaged skin and that's why it hurts so badly. In any case, it felt great once I survived the initial sensation of raging fire. 

Tomorrow I'm going to try to go rappelling down a waterfall (thanks Ash for the suggestion!) if I have recovered sufficiently to wear a harness. If not, I'll just hike to the waterfall and swim in the watering hole. Then another attempt at the volcano tomorrow night and on to Monteverde on Friday, where I'll be meeting up with a future Harvard classmate for the weekend. Check out my flickr for a few more pictures (not spectacular thanks to battery failure, but some nonetheless). Until next time...

Tags: arenal, costa rica, im a klutz

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