Pura Vida. Pure Life. This is used to say hello, goodbye, thank you. Anything. And when you get to the jungle…
“Welcome to my office”, they say. For most of the people who work around Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, their office consists of luscious jungle. Of ZipLine Canopy crossing, waterfalls and white water rafting. In their office, plants close at your touch, mouse ears grow off trees, the trees walk and the lizards run on water.
Literally, this is called a walking Tree; it uproots it’s roots to move itself and ends up ‘walking’ one metre per year. They walk to wards the sunlight.
And these and Jesus Christ Lizards, they can run across water.
This is a touch me not. When you touch it, the leaves close up. And will open again about an hour later, if there’s enough sun.
When I first touched this fungi, it was handed to me “This is a mouses ear”. I really thought it was a mouse’s ear. It feels like one. And when they grow bigger they look like human ears!
Little things seem more dangerous in this kind of office. This little snake is a Viper. And it doesn’t grow much bigger than this. But it can kill you within hours if you don’t find a hostpital. This little frog will only make you reallllllllly really sick if you eat the whole thing. So don’t eat little frogs you find in a costa rican jungle.
While we played with barbies and paint, the guys of the office grew up playing with plants that grow with a white type of powder under their leaves. They would take a leaf, place it on someones back onto their t-shirt, and slap it, leaving a powerdery white leaf tattoo.
The office prodcues citronella, licorice, even deep heat, that muscle rub. I smelt it all. And also had a little facemask from a clay stone called clay of gold.
I found my happy place in Manuel Antonio. Literally a place I will revisit in my mind to find peace again. It was a waterfall in the depth of a jungle, about a 50 minute walk from the roads. There was no one there and I stayed and swum (naked like a forest nymph) and hung out and climbed and hiked and listened to the cicadadas- which are not all that quiet. It was amazing to find a place so untouched and undiscovered. Butterflies bumped into my face and I wove my way through fallen down trees and across the running river. Birds fly just meters above my head and spider webs surprised me inches in fron of my face, often making me stumble back and nearly fall.
I had many a hard day at the office, ziplining, then abseiling down waterfalls, then ziplning again, free falling into water falls, white water rafing and cruising around the beach. And did it for next to nothing, all thanks to my friend Miguel of Hostel Pura Vida, though it was more like Home Pura Vida. Because of the puppies and the people.
I woke up in the mornings to sometimes find 10 monkeys on my balcony, and at times handed them bits of bananana which they took right from my hands. I watched humongous sunsets, the ones where you feel like if you just swam 400 meters straight ahead, you could be swallowed by the sun, but instead you just watch the sun get sucked through the plug hole in the distance as it disappears behind the horizon.
And it was here I studied. And ghekos fell from the roof onto my study notes. It was the perfect place. Until the puppy jumped right off the balcony and broke her hip! I don’t know how she survived, but she did.
So whoever would like to join me in returning to Costa Rica- let me know! Because I am going back for certain.