Laguna Lodge, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
Apparently most of the area of this national park is off limits to humans; the outing we thought would be a hike was actually a boat ride. I’m not sure whether a hike would have been better or worse. Maybe both: better because the kids would have been active instead of sitting still for two hours, and worse because if they’d gotten tired of walking, the whining would’ve been really intense. As it was, R kept checking my phone for the time and E kept complaining that she was bored. As it happened, so was I. It really was that boring.
Before you start thinking that we’re exceptionally jaded and it should have been exciting to see the few animals we saw: we actually saw wildlife much closer-up at the pool than we did on our boat ride through the jungle. We had a juvenile iguana strut along the pool deck; a huge female iguana wandered around near our rooms; a howler monkey whooped at us from a nearby tree (he also broke off a branch); a heron stood by majestically while we ate our dinner last night.
Nevertheless, when offered the chance to take a kayak tour into the park to look at wildlife again this afternoon, I took it—and dragged all three of the girls along with me. We took two tandem kayaks so E and R wouldn’t have to paddle the whole time, and since we were the only four people in the tour, I told the kids we could cut it short if we really needed to.
We didn’t need to cut it short. The girls had an amazing time, mostly thanks to our fabulous guide. We spotted tons of animals: sloths, iguanas, anhingas, basilisks, caiman, several different types of heron, an osprey, Northern Jacana, and toucans. As we paddled, we chatted with our guide about his experiences growing up in Costa Rica, how life had been here over the last year and a half (it was “like a graveyard,” he said—everyone left the village,) and his dreams of building a floating house and of one day visiting Alaska (not in the floating house.) The girls were fully engaged and excited, and two hours of paddling flew by.
We also made time to swim in the pool twice (cooler and more refreshing than yesterday, thankfully) and to walk on the beach in an effort to find turtle hatchlings. After hearing that it’s actually very unhelpful to help baby turtles make it to the ocean, R declared that Paw Patrol had lied—apparently there’s an episode where Ryder and the pups help turtles get to the sea. She thinks we should write them an angry letter.
On the boring boat this morning I struck up a conversation with a French-speaking family. I don’t know why I assumed they were from Quebec, but I was wrong. They’re here from France on a two-week holiday. Their English was worse than my French, so I did my best to not get my French mixed up with the Spanish floating around in my head. I’ve already given up on not having Hebrew pop out anytime I’m attempting to speak something other than English. Anyhow, R declared her intention of learning more languages “so I can socialize with lots of different people when I travel.” I could have spent years nagging her to learn some new languages, but all it took was the experience of sitting next to a kid her age and being unable to communicate. Is this what worldschooling is all about—that the kids understand and truly feel the need to learn things?
I should go now. We have to pack up tonight; tomorrow will be a long day of traveling. Our next destination is a beach town where we’ll have a swanky villa with its own pool. We’ll also have a couple of days off to rest—and of course, the outing N’s looking forward to most: the Jaguar rescue centre.