Tommy and I arrived to Montezuma just as dark fell the day before. It was a long day of travelling, as we missed our first ferry by a few minutes. We encountered a group of Americans studying abroad in Costa Rica, and they were in the same hotel as us. It poured down as the bus slowly made its way through pot holes, heavy tropical rain.
On the morning the 12th we bought some bread and eggs from the supermarket and ate breakfast at the hotel. While we were eating a white faced monkey suddenly appeared in the trees, and it was the first of these iconic monkeys I saw in Costa Rica. Birds also arrived soon, boldly making moves for my bread crumbs. After we’d fed ourselves we went to hike up a river to some waterfalls you can jump off from. The first waterfall was pretty high, and Tommy knew from his sister that this was the kind of waterfall the locals only jumped off. We looked around, and it didn’t seem like many people were heading up to the second waterfalls. We didn’t even really see any trails. But I did see two guys follow the trail we had been on earlier, it wasn’t a proper trail really, but we decided to follow them. I came upon them a little later; they were from San Jose, and for a while I actually did pretty well communicating in Spanish. They came up to the swimming holes with us, and Elias, the one of the two who spoke English too, jumped off it first. Then Tommy went a couple of times while I got pictures, then it was my turn.
Standing on the edge I felt a lot more anxious and hesitant than when I bungee jumped. For some reason I trusted the man-made elastic from the bungee a lot more than I trusted myself to jump into a pool and survive the impact of the fall. I felt myself shake, and I knew I had to jump before I had time to think it over too much. I don’t remember it, it’s like the moment was too fast to grasp, but I remember flailing my legs and trying my best to pull them together so I would hit the water with my legs together. As I hit the water I had my knees bent a little, so I felt the impact on my bum too, and it hurt. The water was so muddy I couldn’t see through it, and I always panic for a moment when I don’t know how deep I am. That I won’t make it up before I need to breath, and I can only hold my breath for half a minute. But then I broke the surface and I gasped, and I shook, and my bum really, really hurt. I felt weak as I swam to shore and the pain felt like it wouldn’t ever diminish, but it passed almost as soon as I climbed out of the water.
A group of people came with a local guide. A beautiful man who did not look Costa Rican at all, but who were from here and apparently jumped the tall waterfall all the time. Tommy decided he would do it too. So they jumped the shorter one, swam to where the tall started and then climbed to the left of it out of my sight. I was talking with Elias and Bryan, and I kept saying ‘if he dies it will ruin my vacation’. And for a moment I thought about that; I don’t even know him at all really, but if he died I would be the closest to a friend or family he would, and that felt incredibly strange. How would that have affected me beyond just the hardship of someone you know dying? Would I need to talk with the police? It is also one of those things about travelling that will never cease to amaze me, that trust or even dependence you put in a person that you hardly know. I went over to a few people who had seen them jump, and they told me both of them were okay, but that Tommy had looked a bit askew and he was probably hurt. When he returned he was a little shaken and said he had chipped his tooth and almost hit the rocks. He almost had injured himself severely jumping off it. I felt a little mad at his irresponsibility, if he had hurt himself he wouldn’t just have done it to himself but also to me.
The Americans came up in a bit, and they had all seen him jump. They also all thought he was crazy. We stayed for a while while the guys jumped a couple of times. The whole day I was the only girl to jump. After a while we went up these stairs a short hike to where an abandoned canopy park lay, and we climbed a platform for a nice view. Then we hiked down, and found that there were some stairs that were so much easier than the route we had taken.
We had to check out from the hotel, and I went to a hostel across the street where I probably could have stayed the whole time. There were a few different hostels in Montezuma, but only one of them were online. I left my bag there and went to see what Tommy was doing, since he was checking out the hotel where Marko and Olivier had booked in. They were arriving later in the day. He got a room there, fully equipped with kitchen and two rooms. After that we just sat at the beach for a time, and I went for a few swims. The waves were strong, and as I swam back to shore I understood fully for the first time in my life how strong the riptide can be. I had to make an effort to get back in to shore. It wasn’t scary, it wasn’t that strong, but I felt it. We went for a smoothie, and then for a walk on the beach. The light grew low as we walked, and shone onto the beach in a haze.
Marko and Olivier arrived at 5 – 6 ish, and we had pizza again. Then we went to Tommy’s palace and drank for the rest of the evening. It was our final night together, for me, at least. They would continue up north together, while I was heading South to do my Scuba Diving and Corcovado tour. It felt bittersweet, these guys have been such great company for the past ten days. Yet a part of me is also looking forward, a little, to being totally independent again. To focus on my diving course during the day, and read or write or simply sleep in the evenings. I left them at 11, when the rum was gone and the city was dead and the beach was totally empty. It was supposed to be the biggest and brightest moon in 68 years that night, but we saw it far off as just another regular full moon. At the floor in the hostel I almost stepped on a cockroach that had turned on it’s back and was struggling to get up. I left it there, not wanting to touch it.