Friday, 29 June 2012

Greetings from the Four Seasons Resort, Papagayo ... Costa Rica!

Our dear producer has kept the Diary going while I have been in the jungle.

El Silencio - north west of San Jose - is all about escape ... and the fact I haven't had much internet access has been strangely uplifting.

I am exhausted already ... this is fast shaping up to be the most physical episode we have ever filmed.

We have taken oodles of photographs ... but I am going to spread them over the next few days so as not to overload!

Anyway, every evening I have been jotting down notes on the day ...

Tuesday 26th

Flew from London Heathrow to Atlanta, Georgia where we spent 3 entertaining hours eating pizza and drinking Mountain Dew. The flight was ten hours but felt like fifty. Ugh.

Good in-flight entertainment meant that I caught up on all the silly films that I have wanted to watch but have had no time to do so – including Safe House and … um … something else … it was THAT memorable!

It was then a 3 hours and 15 minute flight from Atlanta to San Jose, Costa Rica … where we cleared customs & immigration in just 30 minutes!  A record indeed.

We were met by the GM of El Silencio Lodge & Spa … Andrey Gomez … and driver Jimmy … and we drove through the rain for 65 minutes … climbing up to 2200 metres and finally settling at 1500 metres at the Lodge.

We arrived in pitch black ... but I felt hemmed in by jungle ... there's a "feeling" you get.

Wednesday 27th

Awoke at 0330 … and finished reading On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan – probably the most depressing book I have ever read. Truly awful in just so many tragic ways … READ WITH CAUTION!

Had breakfast at 0700 – I am 6 hours behind home here ... so it was almost lunch!

Then we filmed the Lodge. It was opened in 2008 – has just 16 suites … on a 500 acre private estate. My suite – 6 – is not huge – 64 metres squared – but is comfy and has stunning views of the rainforest. The sun shone this morning but at around 4 pm – the crazy storms started.

The food here is very nice indeed … beans, rice, nachos etc etc … yummy!

The Lodge has a Spa (I have just had a fabulous massage from Carolina) … a yoga deck … a mini-supermarket garden with eggs, fish, fruit & veggies that as guests you gather for dinner at Las Ventanas (restaurant).

The scenery IS stunning and tomorrow we are off to explore.

No television in the rooms, little telephone and no wi-fi … it’s a retreat here, not a place to work!

Thursday 28th

A simply stunning morning! Fresh air, sunshine, cool … delicious.

We headed 15 minutes drive to Catarata Del Toro (Toro is the river) to meet with Wil Buijze and Donais Alfaro. They run an adventure centre which revolves around the 100 metre waterfall which offers people the chance to abseil/rappel down.

I did a bit of rappelling in Marrakech … so I thought why not try this one! A 100 metre drop is MUCH, MUCH more difficult that a 10 metre one! The rappel took around 15 minutes, I got wet, hot and exhausted!

What a view … what fun!

If that wasn’t enough, we then headed around 60 kms away to Hacienda Pozo Azul which offered me the chance to do some white rafting! Along with the “boys” – Toni Rodriguez, James Matarita and Miguel Salas, we rafted down 7 kms of rapids … including "Superman" ... fast & tough!

I am now back at El Silencio – totally wiped out … but content! Hot shower, a small meal and sleep is in order!

Friday 29th 

We leave the lovely El Silencio and head off to the Four Seasons Papagayo …

The staff at El has been superb … and our time there was very happy. It is VERY different to where we usually film … and I so appreciate my jungleland surrounds.

Usually when I leave a property I sign a “guest book” … here, I planted a sapling. My energy will remain here in Costa Rica for many years to come and for that I feel truly honoured.

Song of the Day: Billy Idol - Sweet Sixteen

My tree!

 The view from Suite 6
 Tim eyes up a local
 My first cup of caffeinated coffee in a year ... WOW ... it HIT me!
 Rafting ... it IS fun!
Yep - that's me!
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