Friday, November 10, 2006

Do Not Descend Into the Crater

Even though the sun came up in all its glory on Tuesday, we weren't very surprised when we got to Poas, one of the local volcanoes, that the entire top of the mountain was socked in with fog. The guy in the booth at the entrance to the park warned us that they couldn't guarantee that we'd see anything. They probably have to make disclaimers like that for fear of lawsuit-happy and I-want-my-money-back-happy North Americans. We said we understood. When we got to the lookout point where we were supposed to see the crater, all we saw was a grey void, and a little sign perched perilously between land and nothingness, warning us to go no further.

As we stood there, however, the fog began shifting, and we could almost imagine we could see something. It felt like I imagine it would feel to look for Nessie. The monster we were looking for was breathing smoke though, so combined with the fog, it didn't seem likely we'd see much more. Then the clouds shifted again. And again. And again, until finally we could tell that we were, indeed, looking into a volcano.

We oohed and ahhed and felt sorry for the tour group who had left the vicinity two minutes before the unveiling. Then the clouds came back and the crater disappeared as before. So we set off through windy, but paved, jungle pathways, under twisted limbs, and a little higher up the mountain to see the crater lake, which was the volcano's previous location for letting off steam, as it were. When we got there, the view was just as opaque as it had been below, but once again, as we stood, the clouds shifted back enough for us to see the lake and the forest reflected in it on the other side.

We left the park with a sense of luck or blessing, and headed off next to La Paz Waterfall Gardens. It's a sort of mountain resort, but they also have a restaurant, wildlife exhibits, and a trail along which one can see five waterfalls. In spite of the dreariness, everything we saw was in living colour. Not to mention that the bathrooms at the restaurant were some of the coolest I've ever seen. Unfortunately, I chickened out of taking a photo in there, too, because the cleaning lady was in there and I was afraid of what she'd think . . .

The rest of the day can only be described in pictures. In my experience, however, blogger may heartily assert that it has uploaded one, yet leaving it invisible. I have not yet deciphered html well enough to programme it into each post by hand. And at this moment blogger has, apparently, decided that three photos are quite enough for this post. So I will show you the rest of that Tuesday tomorrow.

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