Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Feliz Cumpleanos Cecelia!

We just spent a wonderful week with my mom and niece, Cecelia, who celebrated her 12th birthday with us. Adalaya was especially ecstatic to have Cecelia visit since she's been deprived of hanging out with girls her age who speak English for way too long. Conveniently, Cecelia is also fluent in Spanish and helped us many times with our broken Spanish and aided in translation. During their visit we had many adventures, but the best day (according to the girls) was Cecelia's birthday. First, we went to Dominical, a touristy surfing town about 30 minutes away. There we watched some surfers and supported the beach-front vendors; we needed to get birthday presents for Cecelia, after all (and the rest of us found some presents for ourselves as well).

George volunteered to hold down the hammock while we shopped.

Then we got lunch at a good gringo restaurant, Tortilla Flats.

After lunch, we headed to our final destination for the next couple of days, Hacienda Baru, a wildlife refuge and resort just north of Dominical. We rented a little cabin for 2 nights, and within walking distance there was an orchid garden, butterfly garden, restaurant, swimming pool, beach, lots of hiking trails, a bird-watching tower, and (the girls' favorite thing) a canopy zipline.

We did the zipline tour that afternoon, which started out with a guided hike from a hilarious guide named Carlos, who found pleasure in torturing little girls, especially birthday girls. He caught an anole lizard (who played dead), and the girls each reluctantly held the "dead" lizard, until Carlos woke it up when it was in Adalaya's hand.

We also spotted a lone male pizote along the trail. These animals, also called coatis, were everywhere around Hacienda Baru.

We also saw several sloths in the treetops. One was actually awake and we were able to watch it move at it's "top speed" (slow and methodical) up one tree and into the branches of another tree.

But the most exciting part of the tour was the zipline, which consisted of 8 cables through the rainforest canopy. Here's the birthday girl getting hooked into the first cable.

And she's off!

Here goes George of the Jungle!

Adalaya's a little nervous at first,

but she does great, except when Carlos makes the cable bounce!

Here comes Lala!

Looks like she's enjoying herself.

Watch out, here I come!

Here we are in a huge tree near the top of the canopy, about 300 feet or so above the ground, about to go for another ride.

Carlos declared that every birthday girl must have bunny ears!

For the last of the 8 cables, Carlos sent us backwards, but not without a little bit of torturing the girls first.

For dinner, we ate under the palm thatched huts across from our cabin.

Then we headed back to our bungalow for BIRTHDAY CAKE!
Feliz Cumpleanos Cecelia!

It was a great day, and I think everyone had a great week. We got to explore this huge Chilemate tree with it's massive buttressed root system.

George found more time to lay around in the hammock between heated games of gin with Lala.

And the girls had some good swimming time.

When Lala and Cece left, however, they took Adalaya with them because she couldn't bear the thought of traveling for 2 more months with her parents. I reluctantly let her go, knowing that she needs time with her friends in familiar territory. I hated to say goodbye, though, and for the first time on this trip I am feeling homesick now that my girl is back in North Carolina without me! I can't believe I let her go!

But she's having a great time, and it's giving George and me some much needed time to ourselves.

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