Sunday, January 1, 2012

Activities in Monteverde

Monteverde is a place for lots of adventures.  On 12-30, the group got up and went to the zip lines.  Later through the day, some went horseback riding, got to various museums (hummingbirds, insects, perhaps reptiles), a Night Walk through the forest, and I went with a small group to the Hanging Bridges--another nature walk, from a slightly different perspective. 

The twenty minute drive was a thrill ride in itself--Steve compared it to the Screaming Eagle.  Nothing treacherous, just the effect of the Monteverde roads.  (Erick reports that there used to be a popular t-shirt: "I survived the roads in Monteverde."  The roads haven't improved, but the t-shirt didn't survive.)

Our guide started with specific rules:  "don't die, don't get lost." 
However, it took only 10 minutes for the German couple on this tour to get lost.  They would have prefered the tour in Spanish, but alas, they were outnumbered, 6 to 2.
We learned more about cloud forest processes--that there aren't that many flowers, and that when plants do bloom, they prefer the dry season, since more pollinators are out.  Speaking of pollinators, our guide (no idea what his name is) told us that bright flowers, esp. the red, or orange, or pink, are usually for birds, who have no sense of "aroma" (smell); scents are for insects.

Fig trees are common here, where again they get the bad rap of killing the trees they climb around.  But certainly bizarre shapes...

At a cut rubber tree, we find out that rings aren't a way to tell age in the tropics--there aren't the same seasonal shifts and spurts of growth that mark off years.

We learn that monkeys get the same mosquito-borne diseases that humans do, such as malaria and yellow fever (oops, forgot to take my malaria pill last night--though doubt I need it--only one mosquito bite this whole trip so far), so they use various pungent leaves to keep the bugs off.

Our guide did know where one big tarantula lives, so he prodded it to come out for a photo op (but I never got a clear shot).  And we saw some hummingbirds at a feeder.

The big end thing was the chance to climb up through the hollow inside of an old ficus tree...

And here's one flower...

later, bob
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