The Pura Vida Files – part 3 (Zip-Line Doo-Dah)

***I’m finding that I could slap dozens of extra words in each sentence and make this an epic tale of what was actually a short-but-fun trip…so here we go!***

Following my aforementioned pouting campaign, we made it to the shuttle for the zip line tour with just enough time to…sit and wait for everyone else to arrive. Personally, I’d rather be early than late (or on time). I mean, how else do you get to be first in the van if you get there after everyone else? Figuring the shuttle would be crammed with eager folks ready to zip off into the lush jungles of Costa Rica, we wedged ourselves firmly into the front seat and proceeded to take the standard goofy-face shots that nobody but us wants to see. Once the rest of our group showed up (one other couple), we took the five minute ride to the zip-lineatorium. Again, this was down roads where you could easily lose a limb if a taxi driver burped while using his other eyes to drive.

Along the way, there were advertisements for another tour, the Tranopy Tour. I didn’t know if you had to be pre- or post-op, so we just skipped that one entirely. When we arrived at the facilities, we were issued the standard “we can kill you and all you’ll get is a sad face” forms to fill out, then were ushered into a little outdoor fitting area. I felt like a runway model…if runway models were bald, excessively hairy and full of cheese. They fitted us with carabiners, straps, helmets and gloves and herded a much larger group of us into two separate demonstration areas, where they went out of their way to prove you’d really have to have some horrendously bad karma to fall off the line. After seeing what combination of metal and ropes would be responsible for our safety, we were all loaded into two tractor-pulled safari carts and hauled laboriously up the mountain.

There are subtle signs that Achebeyo is nervous: tight lipped, terse responses; wild-eyed smiles that are not so much forced as stamped on; lack of desire to be touched by anyone named McDuck. Mine are less subtle: babbling incessantly (whether or not anyone is listening); the pee-pee dance; lack of desire to be touched by anyone named McDuck. As she was getting hooked up to take the first line out of 12, I was happily blathering on about how nervous she looked to nobody. As an aside, they frequently make you jump (yes, jump) up while on a little wooden step so that they can properly secure you to the line. So, you know, no pressure. Before she could utter much more than a meep, she was off and sliding to the next tower. They hooked me up next, and I was off along the same line not more than 30 seconds after her. Only she made it all the way to the tower.

See, they give you what feels like a billion different instructions for what to do and how to do it while on the line, never really explaining that none of that matters because they’ll change it up on you at each station. I was told that I needed to slow down (by pulling down on the line behind me) before I got to the tower. So I did…and then had to hand-walk myself the rest of the way to an ass-chewing at the next tower. Apparently they don’t want you focusing on handling multiple cameras when you’re supposed to be focused on not killing yourself or the tower guards. Whatever. I have people to impress once I get back home, señor. I’d share the images with you, but I’m not sure how impressed you be with repeated shots of my hairy, sweaty arm. I’m that good.

Once I’d figured out that slowing down meant the exact opposite on most towers, the rest were a breeze, literally. You whip along at roller coaster speeds through the jungle and see…pretty much nothing. As I said, you’ve been given a billion conflicting instructions and you’re focused on not screwing any of those up at any given moment. It’s easy to forget there’s actually stuff to look at besides the line, your gloves and the pulley keeping you from being a jungle-tree ornament. Then came the change-up.

As I watched Achebeyo slide backwards to her next tower, my initial thought was, “And she’s worried about ME not following directions?” However, when the tower guardian for that station stepped up to me, he told me I could go down this next cable the way she did, or “like the lady in the picture behind you“. That lady rocks, let me tell you. She was upside-down. Intent on making sure I wasn’t outdone by a staged photograph, I opted to go upside-down as well. I remember yelling. A lot. And I remember them making more of an effort than usual to stop me before I bowled over the next batch of tower guardians. The rest is a jumble of green and brown smears accented with my whoo-hoo-HOO‘s the whole way. I’m telling you, if you’re not the least bit incontinent, go that way if you zip line in Costa Rica.

There was one more segment of note, and that was the longest/fastest of them all. If I remember correctly, the vague instructions were, “go as fast as you can until you get over the red house, then start braking“. So, look for the red smear in the rest of the green-brown surrealist painting? Roger that. Being a skydiver, I know my body has gone faster than that. But if skydiving had references like massive trees you fell through, I’d likely bring adult potty pants to the dropzone each time I jumped. It felt fast. I guess I decided to remember that I had a gloved hand to begin the slowdown process right after the red house. It didn’t matter, as I reefed hard enough on the cable that the last tower guardian I can remember was waving at me to let go so I’d actually make it to the end…which I did.

We stepped onto the last platform and rather dazedly let the troops dismantle our gear from around our torsos. They gave us fresh fruit and sent us on our way, which for us entailed the five-minute ride back to the hotel and naps that, for me, were full of whipping through the jungle at top speed while trying to high-five monkeys who were flipping me the bird.

Concluded in The Pura Vida Files – part 4 (Monkey Business)


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2 Comments on “The Pura Vida Files – part 3 (Zip-Line Doo-Dah)”

  1. Narf Says:

    LOL!! Very entertaining!! I can almost feel the vines whipping me in the face!! 😀

  2. […] Come for the fun, stay for the meltdowns. « The Pura Vida Files – part 3 (Zip-Line Doo-Dah) […]

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