Did you hear? Stacey was mugged by a monkey!

Next morning we got up bright and early to go snorkeling. We walked down the road to a little rundown building and sat on a bench for a short talk about snorkeling. The man said hello and here is Rule #1: “No Sunscreen. It gives you cancer and then you give that cancer to the coral.” Awesome. He has no problem saying that because he’s African! No sunscreen needed there. I, on the other hand, am white. I have a red back and red butt to prove it. Also…sunscreen gives you cancer? Hmmm… not sure where he gets his facts from.

Anyways, we took a big boat out into the Caribbean and parked it for some fish gazing. I take my dress off, put my flippers on, grabbed my mask, and I’m good to go. I sit down to take the jump and… Oh wait! I’m terrified of the open ocean! And I start to panic. And maybe I tear up. And maybe I think of just hanging out on the boat. But then I hear my sister and brother and mother and father and boyfriend and all the other people who always seem to be super brave are in my head saying, “Really, Amy? JUMP IN! It’s the frickin’ Caribbean!” So I went. Thanks guys.

I saw a lot of really beautiful fish, a “seaworm”, and a sting ray! Hey, I’ve got a tough question for all of you smarty pants or nature freaks out there… Do sting rays fly? The answer is: HELL FRICKIN’ YES! We were just finishing up our last snorkeling stop and were waiting to climb (super gracefully in my case, of course) on to the boat. I was watching turned facing the open waters taking in the vastness of the ocean and BAM! Sting ray! That thing leapt out of the water and splash landed back down. I was the ONLY person watching dead on, though others caught glimpses form the side. The guide in the water turned to me and said, “That was really special that you saw that.” I had no idea they could do that! Very cool.

So the boat parks at this little tiny beach where a bunch of families are enjoying a nice afternoon. He hands us a couple plates of fresh pineapple and watermelon. Then he sends us on our way to the trail through Cahuita National Park with only one rule again This guy has very few rules but when he gives them they seem to be kinda wack. Yes. I said wack. Rule # 2: “Don’t feed the monkeys.” How about don’t bring food at all down the trail? Stacey had to learn this lesson the hard way. When walking down the path you realize where the monkeys are because there is usually a group of people ahead of you stopped to take pictures. “How exciting!!” I think to myself. “I’ve spotted a few monkeys in the trees so far but maybe these ones will be close enough to take good pictures of!” Ask Stacey how close those monkeys actually get! Cause she was going around doing the good deed of taking pictures of us standing in front the trees with the monkeys in the background. I got one. The monkey is a safe distance away, just the way I wanted it. Those monkeys were not afraid of us… or really anything for that matter. Stacey was setting up a picture of a few volunteers next to a monkey and her baby in the tree. And like any good scam the monkeys put on a cute show while mayhem was about to break lose. “Okay guys, that’s a good shot, one…two…thrAAAAGHHHH!” MY WORST FEARS HAVE NOW COME TRUE!! A monkey came out of the tree and attacked her!! It CLIMBED up her leg. She has scratches to prove it. It clutched on to her bag, at which time to start flinging herself around while everyone screamed different commons or expletives. “Holy S**t!” “Run!” “Drop the bag!” “OMG! “The monkey has got her!” And you thought I was over reacting to the death monkeys outside my window! They do come after you! She manages to wiggle the bag off her shoulder but does drop her camera too. Haha Stacey recalls as she was contemplating what to do in those split seconds during the attack she noticed a monkey on the group looking up at her baring its teeth in an attempt to say, “Drop the bag lady or your friends get it!” Haha I love that description. Well fortunately for her the monkey went for the bag, or more specifically the granola bar, and not her shiny camera. My buddy Sarah has video of it. He went right for that granola bar and ran into the tree…face all buried in the wrapper. We finally grabbed the bag and hightailed it out of there. We had a laugh about it a little bit later, after the shock wore off.

The rest of the walk was a little less eventful… and so was the rest of the day. We finished the walk, got our bags ready, and hopped on the bus. The ride was much more quiet on the way back. Everyone seem to coming down from the weekend high. Our drive passed slowly but that was okay. I was decompressing. I did get a little emotional at one point on the ride. Thankfully it was really dark. At one point the bus drove through Turriabla, my old site, and I started to cry. It looked like a place I wanted to be, not like a place to be fearful of. The volcano is smoking a lot and they have said the PH levels are high indicating lava starting to form. I know it is better to not worry all the time about an eruption but it still made me slightly homesick for a home I never even had. I pulled it together with the help of my friend Patty Griffin and made it make to Orosi in one piece.
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