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Breaking down the barrier between females with a handful of grass

October 5, 2009

“This is Diega” the old man said to me in Spanish. Smiling I responded with a greeting, mainly in Spanish with the odd mispronunciation. It largely went ignored by Diega — the recipient. This was the oddest introduction I’d encountered in a long while.

“Diega” the old man repeated encouragingly as he turned her round to face me. There we stood, two females doing what females do best. Eying one another up, forming an opinion and setting the judgment long before words are shared.

She was younger than me, and taller by a hand. Her eyes big and brown were framed by long brown lashes. The envy of any woman. She had golden chestnut hair, so shiny it looked like it was brushed one hundred times morning, noon and night. Tall and regal looking, Diega was meant to guide royalty not a lowly female traveller without a word of Spanish to her vocabulary. I sensed her unease, her slight impatience in having to deal with a lower class woman.

Diega didn’t speak, nor smile, nor show any signs of interest. She just looked away — nonchalant.

My fears grew. If she is going to be my guide for the next two hours, I would have to place my trust and faith in her; and she in me.

Action was needed. I bent down and grabbed a handful of the greenest juiciest grass I could find, then bravely went up to Diega offering the grass as a token of friendship.

Graciously she took it and chomped on it as a lady would. The barrier had been broken.

by Cate

by Cate

Once on Diega, the journey began through some of Monteverde’s finest farmlands and bush. Diega plodded along, well-mannered if anything a little slow. She may have had youth on her side, but she walked like a tired old mare that had walked the trail countless times and lost interest in the scene.

We bashed our way through fallen branches, slopped through piles of trampled mud ending up among coffee trees and dairy cows. I was beginning to crave a cafe con leché.

by Cate

by Cate

It was a small group of riders: me, Diega, the old man who spoke no English and a young guy following behind. It was a horseride where the most common phrase spoken was “si” and hands were constantly pointing to wildlife in the bushes and trees.

The journey was new and refreshing. I hadn’t been horse-riding for years and only then was it walking and trotting on novice trails. As the ride progressed  so did my relationship with Diega. Coaxing her up the steep rocky climbs, trusting her decision in chosen paths as she navigated the tricky descents.

Sensing that she wanted me to experience the beauty of the landscape, she patiently waited while I took photos, pointing her head in the direction that offered the best views. Yes, Diega was a true professional and friend.

by Cate

by Cate

I could have chosen canyoning or ziplining through rainforests. I could have gone rafting on mountain rivers, instead, I chose to develop a new relationship with a different kind of female.

Trekking through farmland and bush may not have the allure of hiking through virgin rainforests, it may be hard going on the joints (yes it was) but I saw more birdlife and wildlife including sloths during that ride than I did walking around Santa Elena Cloudforest for three hours.

Horseriding in the Monteverde region is easy to book. No experience is needed, trails and rides vary as well as price. Check out these sites here and here.  I chose this group for the ride.

Caffeinated Traveller


  1. October 6, 2009 11:58 am

    I love the views you found on horseback, Cate. Great story!

  2. October 7, 2009 3:16 pm

    😛 You had me fooled while I read through the beginning of this post. I was totally confused when Diega chomped on the beans because I was imagining a person.

  3. October 7, 2009 4:44 pm

    Heather – they were nice views, Nicoya Gulf, Pacific Ocean and those rolling green hills in between.

    Toby – Hi and welcome. Good to hear you were almost fooled. I must be improving as story teller.

  4. Bear permalink
    October 12, 2009 7:56 am

    What a wonderful story!

    I recall an observation from one of my geology professors. He said that geologists back in the day travelled the countryside on horseback while mapping. Aside from having a nice perch, the pace — as compared to today’s use of cars — allowed for more thinking. In short, travelling by horse is more compatible with out ability to see and comprehend what we see. And the company of a good horse has a lot to be said about it.

    It appears that you made an excellent choice and a nice friend 🙂

    • October 12, 2009 9:02 am

      Thanks Bear for your thoughtful comment. Do you ride?

  5. Bear permalink
    October 12, 2009 11:18 am

    No, but I have always thought I would rather ride than hike in hilly country 🙂

    • October 12, 2009 12:20 pm

      Well then, next time yo travel think about riding for a change. It’s much cheaper than other types of excursions. And let me know how you get on.

  6. October 13, 2009 10:18 pm

    love Diega. What a beauty! love her eyelashes.

  7. October 16, 2009 10:32 am

    Those eyelashes are what made me green. Although I don’t think I could work with such long ones.

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