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Zipline Marriage

March 26, 2021
A flat boat on a river in Costa Rica in early morning. There are about 10 people on the boat.

I told my friend Lauren that I would find the blog post from 2011 I had written about ziplining in Costa Rica. That led me to realize I had never written about ziplining in Costa Rica. So here we are.

My friend and I were spending 3 days in Tortuguero on the east coast of the tiny bi-coastal country. I had insisted we go to the Caribbean side because I was under the mistaken belief that the whole Caribbean would look like Bermuda, with crystal blue waters and tropical drinks under umbrellas. I didn’t realize that this ocean is rougher than the Pacific, and that almost no one goes here outside of turtle-hatching season.

We had a lot of time on our hands and not a lot to do, so we started snooping around for excursions. We soon found a ziplining company and made arrangements. I pictured a bustling facility with happy, yelping zipliners whizzing through the trees.

Two young men, one tall, lean and silent and one tiny, lean and silent, arrived to fetch us in a small boat with an outboard motor. We crossed the canal to a small island and found that we were the only customers. The men fitted us with helmets that smelled like they had been worn by 1000 people and marinated in jungle funk.

We climbed stout wooden ladders 150 feet straight up to the zipline platforms. We were both chunky and out of shape at the time, so just getting to the top was a victory. Standing on the platform, we discovered a design flaw – the rig to hook our safety lines on was too short to reach, so we had to stand on a telephone-book sized block of wood and kind of hop up in the air to get hooked in.

I had the tall, silent guy assisting me and the tiny man was helping my friend. I went first, and it took quite a few hops to get hooked up, all while teetering on a small platform in the treetops. I got hooked up and sailed from the first platform to the second, where we had to repeat the whole hopping sequence.

The zipline itself was…ok. The forest was second-growth, having been logged 40 or 50 years before, so it was a little sparse and not very diverse. It was mildly diverting to sail ungainly through the trees like a Thanksgiving turkey carcass swinging from a rope.

When we got to the exit, I waited for my friend to land and realized she wasn’t having a good time. She was MAD.

“What?” I asked.

“Oh my god,” she said. “I ended up having to wrap my legs around him and he would jump up and hook me in. He is so short it was really hard and…”

She paused.

“I think what we did makes us married in some countries.”

So that, my friends, is the story of how my friend, and a very small quiet Costs Rican guy, accidentally got molested by zipline.

A diversity of plants grow on a fallen log in a Costa Rican rainforest.

There are no photos of this actual incident. Thank God.

  1. Elvie permalink
    March 26, 2021 09:32

    You are so much braver than me.

  2. March 26, 2021 09:38

    It’s the line “It was mildly diverting to sail ungainly through the trees like a Thanksgiving turkey carcass swinging from a rope.” that had me laughing. I’m sorry she had that experience, though, That really is unfortunate (to say the least).

  3. Robin permalink
    March 26, 2021 10:45

    Hahaha. Glad I wasn’t there. I would have peed a little from the heights.

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