The last full day I spent in Cahuita was a rainy one. Between showers, I walked around the town a bit and visited the shore. Most of the day I spent under cover on my cottage porch, reading while swinging in the hammock, writing and sketching. I proved that I'm out of practice using watercolors, but still enjoyed making a small depiction of the cottage.
After a rainy night, I woke early to be picked up for my last adventure -- a rafting trip. The driver took me to the Rios Tropicales lodge, where I had a lovely breakfast and coffee. Because of all the rains, we weren't able to go on the Pacuare River, instead going to a river managed by dams, the Reventazon, along a 10-mile stretch. Guides and rafters were divided between three rafts, with a safety guide in a kayak moving between the rafts. The safety talk gave me some reservations, but I forged ahead, clipping on a life jacket and helmet. It was thrilling to go through sections of rapids and welcome to float through quiet sections of the river and enjoy the scenery. Several people in the larger raft bounced out through a rapids and quickly climbed back in. Fifteen minutes later, I was the one flying up off the raft and into the water. I was terrified, and had already sucked in water before I could see a paddle being held out but couldn't reach. The safety guide got his kayak to me within moments that felt longer and I grabbed on. A guide from the larger raft pulled me up into it and I coughed and caught my breath. The young women in that raft said I did exactly as I should have, but it sure didn't feel like it in those scary seconds I was underwater and struggling to surface.
The remainder of the route was fine, and overall I'm glad I did it. I'll never feel the need to do it again.
After we banked our rafts, we climbed back into shuttles and went back to the lodge for lunch. The ride to San Jose was quiet, and the shuttle dropped me at a hotel where another driver picked me up to get me to the hotel near the airport before my flight out the next day. I took a long, hot shower, put on pajamas and watched the movie "Ghost" in Spanish before falling asleep.
Checking in for my flight went smoothly. I bought some rum in the duty-free shop and waited to board. Flying through Houston meant having to go through immigration, customs and back through security. Lines were long, but I made my connection and was very happy to get home and to see my husband and daughter waiting to greet me.
I so appreciate the ways traveling allows me to stretch and explore, and I am always grateful to return home to my family and friends. I'll continue to consider how this trip will inspire me in days ahead. The group of five Omaha artists have committed to an exhibit in September where we'll show the results of the trip's inspirations. So stay tuned!