Honeymoon in the jungle By Lisa...


February 10, 2002|By Special to the Sun


Honeymoon in the jungle

By Lisa Swann-Rank


For our honeymoon, my husband and I rented a small cabin near Manuel Antonio National Park on the central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. The cabin was aptly named the Monkey House (www. monkey-house.net). Upon arriving, we were surprised to find that the mahogany cabin was open-air. The three-sided structure allowed -- well, OK, forced -- us to interact with the natural world during every moment of our stay.

One of the first interactions we had with jungle life at the Monkey House was with a lizard who slithered through a fan in the bathroom and planted himself on the shower wall. When I shivered to think of showering with our new housemate, my husband threw a washcloth at him and he slipped back through the vent.

Leaving that evening for dinner at Si Como No, an excellent, ecologically friendly resort in the Manuel Antonio area, I noted that our lizard had not gone far. He was sitting on the outside of the window, devouring a smaller lizard.

From the open wall overlooking the jungle we could see the clear waters of the Pacific Ocean outlined by our lush, overgrown yard. There was a small path through the rain forest to a private white-sand beach. The earth was rich and red, and the ocean was warm.

We spent evenings at the Monkey House in two high-backed rocking chairs. Bats swooped in and out of the cabin, and my husband and I ducked and laughed. The trees were alive with the sound of birds and insects. We spotted anteaters making their way along the forest floor.

At night, we pulled a mosquito net over the bed, which was not ornamental. The net may have kept out the bugs, but it didn't keep out the strange sounds of the rain forest, the moisture of the air or the early-morning sunshine. We had vivid dreams and woke early each day.

And what about those monkeys? Between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. each day, a pack of between 20 and 30 squirrel monkeys swung through the trees. The tiny monkeys chattered to each other, and many of the females carried baby monkeys on their backs. The trees shook with life.

By the end of the week, tree frogs on the beams of the Monkey House and even our lizard friend failed to make us shiver. We felt more attuned to the natural world and less squeamish.

As we made our way down the rugged road that led to the airport in San Jose, we felt a little sad to be leaving our new jungle friends behind.

Lisa Swann-Rank lives in Centreville.


Canadian reflections

By Sally Ransom Knecht, Timonium

On our Canadian Rocky Mountain vacation, we soaked up the rugged alpine scenery as we canoed on the mirror-smooth, glacial-green Bow River. The backdrop of the snow-covered mountains was breathtaking.


What city is the most romantic, and why?


Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, Rochester, N.Y.

"I've been to Paris, Venice, Rome, San Francisco, Cape May and other romantic places, but the most romantic city in my book is good ol' Bawlmer, because that is where I met my husband, Baltimore native Wayne O. Carter. It was on a wintry day in 1988 at Regi's restaurant in Federal Hill; we've been together ever since. We moved to my hometown of Rochester about a year ago and may travel the world one day, but Baltimore will always be the world's most romantic city to me."

Prague, Czech Republic

Karen Laino, Baltimore

"Prague: cold, snow falling, crunching sounds walking across the Charles Bridge, lights reflecting off the castle, the clock tower chiming the time musically; ducking into a warm, soft-lit Bohemian cafe for wine and dinner, then off to a concert. Music fills the air everywhere. It's a city of musicians, a city for lovers!"

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