In Book II of The Adventures of Isabelle the princess goes on a journey across the sea. At one point she finds herself on the banks of a magic river at night where she meets a very old man, a guide on the river. What happens after this I can not say but I think I may have found my river today. We took a safari rafting tour down the River Blanca. For about 2 hrs we floated and paddled lazily down this very calm river surrounded by lush green forest and lulled by the sound of the gentle water. I added many animals and plants to my sight list to include, crocodiles, iguanas, monkeys and several species of birds. My favorite bird remains a small brilliant red and black bird named Cherisse’s Tanager.
After about 1.5 hrs we made a stop at a farm, La Rivera, for a little snack, to see the farm and to meet the owner, a 98 year old man named Don Pedro. As we lighted from the boat onto the bank I found it ironic that as our guide Pablo offered his hand he said “Princess.” The story line for Isabelle is never really far from my mind but today it was very much on my mind as I realized that this journey down the river held some clues for me as to the direction of her story. After depositing our life jackets on the rail we ascended the wooden steps to the top of the hill then followed a wooden walkway to a wooden open air structure where we were to take our snack. We sat at one of the little wooden tables as Pablo went over to have a word with Don Pedro who was already having an audience with some men who looked like his workers. Eventually we were beckoned over to meet the man. He bade us sit down after introductions and began speaking to us in Spanish with Pablo translating occasionally. It was very strange because although I understood very little of what he said I noticed his spirit. I felt very peaceful in that little hot place sitting on a very broken down chair covered in a mat. Every now and then Don Pedro would direct a comment my way really looking into my eyes. I decided to just pay attention. It was like visiting an older and precious relative who you know must be cherished for the life they have lived, all they have seen and all that they know. It was a truly special and totally unexpected experience.
We did take a little meal there of hot coffee, cheese (made on the farm), fried plantain and yucca bread, which I have never had and really enjoyed. Pablo showed us how they used to eat it as kids, the cheese with the plantain. I had never had that either and it was delicious. As we ate and sipped our coffee Don Pedro’s daughter prattled on to Pablo. He explained to her that we were mother and daughter and this seemed to delight her. When we left she broke off a Hibiscus flower and gave one to each of us.
We left with many good byes and good wishes. As I walked away down the wooden path then back to the boat I knew that something very special had just occurred and felt very grateful for the experience.
The rest of the trip was easy if a bit hot as we were no longer covered by the trees and the wind had all but died away.
I am taking advantage of this rain to record today’s adventure. Tomorrow we move closer to San Jose to a different hotel. Don’t know quite what to expect but I will, as always, keep you posted.