There’s nothing like a jungle retreat for some good female bonding. So when I was told I’d be sharing a room with an Irish free spirit and Jewish mother of two I had no fears.
During my first rainforest yoga retreat, I looked forward both getting to know like-minded women and being lulled to sleep by the sound of rain, tree frogs, and exotic birds. I chose the eco-friendly Goddess Garden because it didn’t have air conditioners to hum, TV to numb, blow dryers to pollute, or cell phones to dilute the peace and Zen I paid dearly for.
The first night I almost wet the only sheets I was getting for the week when I heard mommy dearest scream, “NOOOOOOOOOOO. PLEASE, DON’T HURT ME!” Her pitch was the equivalent of Mariah Carey’s soprano high “C.”
Had a Costa Rican drug lord gotten past the bars on her window? Had she mistaken a sloth for George Lucas’ Chewbacca? Were visions of mosquitoes dancing in her head?
None of the above. My not-so-soft-spoken roommate had regular bouts with night terrors, something she forgot to mention on the five-hour drive into the jungle, over vegan breakfast, and during our partner yoga earlier that day when we were close to intimate.
“Bygones” or “Pura Vida” as they say in Costa Rica when you let what be be, including roommate dreams and screams. So I fluffed my wafer-thin pillow on my one-star ecotourism bed and fell back asleep.
Then the hair on the back of my neck and front of my legs stood straight up when heavy breathing and guttural growls outside our room made me wonder if the Dementors from Harry Potter had arrived. Did jaguars growl like grizzlies? Was a pack of pissed peccaries rutting around the grounds? These were not sounds I had ever heard –- not even on the Discovery or Playboy channels.
The beastly sounds came from male Howler monkeys –the loudest of land animals. The monkeys eject signature screams louder than comedian Sam Kinison, but at four in the morning it wasn’t funny.
The rest of the vacation I enjoyed a full moon and exercised my full bladder. My normal water intake had tripled to offset the heat, humidity, and the buckets of sweat coming out of my third eye.
After once again relieving myself in the middle of the night, the “screamer” asked as I tiptoed back to bed, “Did you wash your hands?”
For the sake of female bonding, I did, but I let the hair on my legs go au natural and remain on standby the rest of the week.
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