Monteverde 2

When we arrived at 100% Aventura Tours, an employee from the facility entered our shuttle and gave us an introductory talk before we were about to venture off through the beautiful nature that surrounded us. He spoke in Spanish. Towards the end of his speech, which consisted of some wise words of wisdom such as making sure to pee at least twice before getting strapped on, he told us that if any of us needed a push off a platform, he would gladly do it. So kind. We all laughed, but deep down we knew he was serious. Going to get gear on basically consisted of making eye contact with one of the employees. Catching that gaze and keeping it long enough for them to start strapping you in the gear. Nonverbal matchmaking. Intense. Once the gear was on, I noted that the helmet smelled like everyone before me and that the gloves smelled like used bowling shoes. We waited until everyone was strapped. It was a crowd of people with individuals making their ways through to find their friends and take photos. We were then directed to a small level platform and waited. It was our group of 17 and a large group of high school students. We talked, talked, and talked some more. An employee made his way through the crowd (queue security guards) and stood on top of an elevated platform. He gave us instructions. He told us how to stop, drop, and roll. Sorry, wrong instructions. He told us how to stop on the cable, how to position our legs, and how to move forward if we get stuck. No one wants to get stuck. If all else fails, just scream. Solid advice. We shuffled to some stairs and took turns zip lining the first cable. When I got the platform, the employee told me to lift up on the cable while he clipped my belt. It was at that moment that I realized that I need to lift weights. He asked me my name and where I was from. Then sent me off. The cable ride was about two feet. Kidding. Three feet. Okay, an underestimation. Regardless, it was short. It was the preliminary workup. When I got to the next platform, I was unstrapped. Asked my name. Where I was from. Told to lift myself up. And was sent off. Interesting protocol. Who are you? Now lift! This cable was a bit longer and I was screaming just for the heck of it. The air was so crisp it could be its own chip: Crisp Air. Seriously, this seems like it should be advertised on all chips because I get more air in the bags than I do chips. But, that’s besides the point. I reached the other platform, stopping by pushing my palm against the cable which made my hand wiggle back and forth. It was funny because this time, I stopped a little too late and it seriously looked like I was going to hit the tree. Or the employee. Or both to be honest. I was unstrapped. Asked my name. Where I was from. But this time, I was told to walk to the next platform by crossing a wooden bridge. I know, switching it up a bit. My roommate was walking ahead of me and once she saw me walking, started bouncing on the bridge to make it go all over the place. I know. Very nice of her. Good thing I’m not afraid of heights or shaky bridges. When I reached the next platform, the protocol was followed. This time, the cable was even longer, to the point where the next platform seemed small because of how far away it was. When I went to lift myself up, I went slightly down because I needed a slight break, and then I went back up again. Seriously need to work on my upper body strength. I was attached to the cable and he sent me off. This particular path was narrow in that the trees were very close on both sides. I was enclosed. It was a narrow of beautiful nature. It seemed pointless to scream. So I made it a point to be silent and to be one with nature. I observed my surroundings and took a moment to just appreciate it all. I eventually arrived at another platform and there was three employees there. Some I saw at previous platforms. I seriously don’t know how they get there that fast. An employee told me to hold on to a rope and asked me how fast I wanted to travel. Slow, in the middle, or fast. In the middle. In the middle. That should work. I was descended straight down to the ground at a middle rate, which honestly should have been considered fast. I mean, who rated these speeds? ZipliningWhen I reached the ground, they told me to walk up the stairs right next to where I landed. Literally, right next to where I landed. The stairs took me a platform right above where I just was. The employee at this platform was quite the photographer and took about a billion photos before I traveled the cable. He was like, “Look over here,” “Smile.” It reminded me of photo day at school. This time, I arrived at an open space. The vastness of nature took my breath away. It was so beautiful. I was but a person in the middle of nature’s home. It was such a peaceful experience. Zip Lining III arrived at another platform and an employee rearranged my straps because I was going to do the superman style zip lining. I waited for more students to arrive at the platform because we were going to head to the other site as a group via a golf cart. So, to optimize space, we waited. We crammed inside the golf cart and I was sitting on the edge. My friend put her hand near the pole next to my shoulder because she thought I was going to fall out the entire time. The path was unpaved, curvy, and a bit longer than expected. The employee stopped at the base of a winding hill that we were supposed to walk up to make it to the next platform. The walk was more difficult than it looked. It was step, unpaved, but ultimately fine. When we got near the top, there was a jug with some water. As to say, “We know that travel up here was rather difficult, but speak no more, hydrate my friend. Hydrate.” We walked up some metal staircase and there awaited another employee. I saw some students in front of me get clipped to the cable and come off a step to lay flat on their stomachs. One student was afraid and came off the step kind of awkwardly. At first, it looked as if she hurt herself, but everything was okay. Then, they were off. When the employee clipped me to the cable, I asked him if one of the straps was tight enough. He said it was. And I was mentally like, “Well, okay, Pura Vida.” I had to cross my arms and lay flat on my stomach. I was just hanging for a second and then set to go. The sensation was different. The straps on the gear were a bit tight, the cable was making a zzz-humming noise, and there were a lot of factors to consider all at once such as my form and making sure I observed nature. I was kind of afraid to change my position. I was stiff, making sure my legs were crossed tightly and my arms were crossed over my chest the entire time. I was in the middle of nature. The space was so open and below me was a mirage of trees. I wanted the whole trip to go by fast just to be safe, but I also wanted my observation time to go by slow. I know, contradictory. When I was getting close to the other platform, I saw this thick metal stopper on the cable and before I knew it, I was stopped with an impact that I did not anticipate. I got off the cable still surprised by the impact which felt like I was hit with a bunch of bricks. A bit exaggerated. I walked up some stairs. There were two lines. One for regular zip lining which was a long line consisting of high school students. Another line was for superman style zip lining which was mainly students from my group. We did the last superman. The longest cable ride. I was clipped in and sent off. I didn’t cross my arms the entire time. I wanted the real superman experience and put my arms out. In retrospect, I was mimicking more of a bird not a superhero. They should probably change the name of the style to bird. Excuse me while I send them an email with my suggestion. Again, nature took my breath away. It made me realize the difference between Costa Rica and my home. Costa Rice = beautiful nature and sights. Florida = beautiful nature and sights unless your sweat is burning your eyes which in that case, it would be difficult to see. I felt free and like I was reaching out to nature. The air rippled through my shirt and I took the time to look around me. To capture it all. When I arrived at the last platform, I was asked if I wanted to do the Tarzan swing. My mental response was somewhere along the [cable] lines of, “Is that a question or a statement?” My verbal response was, “Yes.” I apologize for such underestimation. My actual response was, “Yes!!.” My roommate and a fellow peer did not want to do the Tarzan swing, so they were just going to descend down the stairs towards the exit. To do the Tarzan swing, I had to walk onto this metal bridge that made me think that I was walking the plank. If the plank were metal, that is. The bridge was suspended in the air, so it bounced up and down as I walked. Two men were waiting for me at the end. I was attached to a rope and was told to just jump. I didn’t see what was below me. The trees covered any bottom view. They opened the small gate and I jumped. I honestly felt like I wasn’t even strapped into anything and that I was free falling. The experience was like a rollercoaster ride that takes you up then down, then up, then up, then down, then up, then down. I felt a pit in my stomach when I dropped down. At the bottom were three employees and the students that went before me. I swung back and forth on the swing a couple of times, then one of the employees lassoed a rope around mine and counteracted my weight with his to halt me. Again, it felt like I got hit because I was swung rapidly in the opposite direction. Don’t worry, all good. I was lowered down and another employee unclipped me. He had red shoes on and was smiling. He asked me how the experience was. Great, of course. Seriously a really nice person. I walked to one of the employees who took off my gear. The rest of the time I sat and watched others face their fears, some scream at the top of their lungs, some completely silent (I know, what?), and some doing this for a second time.

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