Michael's Post - Day 2 (Repels and Bulls)
The Finca Luna Nueva Lodge is an eco-friendly, fully sustainable lodge and we are staying in a small bungalow that is clean, well taken care of, and minimalistic. I am surprised and impressed by the number of places in Costa Rica that are environmentally friendly and have organic farms onsite. Costa Rica seems to have a very good blend of an appreciation for the environment and an entrepreneurial spirit.
We left our bungalow in the morning, headed out in 'little gringo' our white rental car, and headed to La Fortuna for canyoneering. The canyoneering included five repels down the mountainside and all but one included a waterfall.
The pictures and videos say it all.
I am never one to turn down another challenge or another adventure and this experience did not disappoint. PureTrek started us with a great home-cooked Costa Rican meal, then a bus ride, a truck ride, fitting for equipment, a hike and then we were ready for our first repel.
As we looked down the first repel of 165 feet, both Stacy and I got wide-eyes and big grins. One of the things I love about adventurous activities is that it gives you a chance to learn so much about yourself and about other people. Each of five repels was a unique adventure.
Additionally, Stacy and I kept close to the guides as it gave us an opportunity to learn so much more about the rainforest, about the PureTrek company, and about the lifestyles of our guides.
I am a big fan of PureTrek canyoneering. They do a great job of respecting the land, a great job of ensuring everyone's safety, and a great job of having fun. They deserve the profits they are making for running such a good operation.
After the canyoneering we went to the La Fortuna Festival where I asked what time the bull rides started, was told by a food vendor that bull rides did not begin until tomorrow, and then went around the corner to see two trucks full of bulls that were getting ready to be led into the bull ring.
We entered the bull ring and I saw a much more of a 'make shift' bull ring then I had ever seen before. All I could think was 'a couple of guys wanting to make a buck threw up a bull ring'.
A Costa Rican teenager was waving people into the audience asking them to come into the ring. Apparently the audience can play with the bulls to get them 'warmed up' before their big event.
The first bull came out and was scrawny and slow. It looked like the poorest excuse for a bull that I had ever seen in person. After watching a dozen guys run around this bull for ten minutes, I decided to give it a try.
As I made my way into the bull ring, a few things surprised me. No OSHA. No sobriety checks. No checking IDs. No checking ages. Instead, anyone with four bucks can either sit in the stands or stand in the bull ring - no questions asked.
I stepped out into the bull ring and firmly planted my feet waiting for bull number two. My plan was to run around with the other guys, have some fun, and then duck out once the bull got tired and the experience was no longer exciting.
As they opened the chute to let loose the second bull, I saw with horror that I was staring at a huge, fiery, fast, and furious bull. Ginormous is not an exaggeration. He looked like he wanted a 6'5" snack. It is moments like these when you look around and try to figure out what made you think this was a good idea. I headed for the exit and hoped Stacy got a good picture.
I am a big believer in 'living life to the fullest'. I am also a believer in 'not getting killed by bull'. :-)