January 10. I awaken early in Alajuela and head out for a morning walk. The hotel is close to the public square, so I enjoy the ambiance of this village. I stop in the Cathedral and say a prayer for good health. Graffiti adorns a building that looks to me like it is the city jail. Alajuela is beautiful.
I have breakfast. A Stellar Jayish looking bird sings for me in the courtyard of the hotel. The cook tells me the name of the bird, which I promptly forget. There are lots of Hippies and Surfers at my hotel. The Surfers smoke at breakfast; the Hippies just look stoned. I talk to a couple from New York who have a map and a guidebook with them. We look up where Durika is. I am making this trip on total faith--I have done no research as to where I am headed. I want to have this experience without any preconceived notions. The guidebook states: "don't even think about going into the Durika area without a guide". The mountain we are to climb is located in the southernmost portion of Costa Rica--close to the border of Panama. It looks impossibly remote.
I hope that Ian shows up. He does (as promised)--promptly at 11:00 am. Ian is playful, witty, smart and a tad irreverent. I like that.
We have transportation arranged for our trip to Durika. A driver takes J., R., Ian and me on a four hour trip to Buenes Aires. This goes across a 10,000 foot mountain pass called "The Pass of Death". We are on the Pan American Highway, a little two lane road that transects most of Latin America. In places the road is washed out--with deep plunges off the road awaiting the inattentive driver. All of it is beautiful. I remember, how in the days of insurrection in El Salvador, Guerrillas used to stop cars and buses and collect "war taxes" at gunpoint on this very same highway--a few hundred miles north of here.
In Buenes Aires, we get on a truck which transports us the rest of the way, up the mountain, to the Eco Intentional Community of Durika. The road is steep. Rugged. We cross streams and go up impossible grades on a very primitive and rugged gravel road. We arrive in Durika at dusk and have a delicious vegetarian meal; we meet our guide for the trip: Eugenio..and then retire to our shared accommodations.