Saturday, January 31, 2009
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
A lone Howler Monkey stares balefully from the forest canopy. All around me, primates of a distinctly lower order are looking back up. They are Michigan frat boys, and they’re on a nature walk. And nothing says wilderness adventure quite like standing under a tree and making monkey noises while engaging in witty banter.
“Somebody give him a banana.”
“You see that? He’s giving me the finger.”
“Dude, it's black, I can’t believe it’s black.”
“That’s okay man, so’s the president.”
And people wonder why monkeys hurl shit at them.
These guys are like overgrown children, big but soft, loud and demanding of attention. I used to think it was a good thing that Americans get out and see the world. Now I’m not so sure. Maybe it’s just as well if the world only gets to see us on TV.
I’m headed for the airport today, a three hour drive away from the ocean, through the rainforest and back into the volcanic bowl of San Jose. I'm more than a little sad to leave a country that has managed to preserve such a significant portion of its wild places, along with its dignity and grace.