After leaving the waterfalls, we headed to the ranch. We arrived, cleaned up a bit and changed into dry clothes. We were served lunch and given a chance to relax for a bit before the next portion of the day, zip-lining.

We were again fitted for gear, which included a helmet, harness and gloves. The guides gave us a safety briefing and we began climbing stairs to the first line. The first trip included three stages, which seem very easy and fun. I was disappointed in the end, thinking that was all. It wasn’t. We then climbed higher in the tree to over a wooden bridge from the first platform of four more. These were higher, longer and faster. The view of the second in this series was the best. We zipped down over part of a river watching horseback riders going through it, horses we would soon be on.

When completing the final step of zip-lining, we were picked up by the truck and taken to the stables to get ready to ride the horses. Once again, and reluctantly, we put on helmets. At this point I was over wearing helmets. The horses were of all colors and personalities, to me they looked sad. I think it is just my desire to see them run and have fun instead of tied to the fence waiting on the next rider.

After we were all on our horses we began at a slow walk out of the yard and into the field. We went though that same river and into an open field where those of us who had experience could open up the horses and let them run. Not sure if the horse enjoyed it as much as I did, but I was happy to get her going. The view in the field of the surrounding mountains was breathtaking and the trip back to the stables was over the path, but to me too short. It was good to be on a horse again.

This was the end of the excursion and we made our way back to the truck to go back to our resort. This wasn’t the end of me being awakened, it was just part of the beginning. Over the few days of exploring the city and excursions I came to realize how these people live.

During the trips to and from the excursions I saw homes that were no more than a cement room with a tin roof and a blue curtain for a door. Some of these houses didn’t even have protection over the windows. These homes housed whole families. I began to feel bad for them and even guilty about spending the money we did on the excursions. I wondered how that money could help these families.

I spent days going over these thoughts and the more of these communities I saw, the more I would feel bad for them. Then I thought, what right do I have to feel this way? It is their culture, their lives and from what I could see they all seemed happy. Do their lives mirror mine? No, but neither do their culture. Giving money to them wouldn’t change their community, but contributing to their economy will help. It was apparent there was a growing middle class, for in the middle of a poverty ridden neighborhoods stood larger and more elaborate homes. I also saw many under construction.

As tourists, a lot stay in the resort and never venture out into the local communities. We need to get out of the comfort of the paradise they create and see the natural paradise. Give to the community by taking part in their local tours and shopping in their local stores. Understanding their everyday life and customs will not only enrich our lives, but also help us be more thankful for what we do have. So many people in developed countries focus on what they don’t have, what isn’t working like we expect it to and then become stressed over it all. We need to remember to be thankful for those little things that frustrate us each day, those little things we take for granted.

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