To my niece,

What you heard is true and this is the whole story:

Jeanne and I went on our four-wheelers to a place called the ‘dry rain forest’. You’re probably thinking I have it all wrong, how can there be a ‘dry rain forest’? Is that like a ‘hot snowball’? Well, yes and no. The dry rain forest is named so because it is dry half of the year and wet the other half, but not very wet. So, instead of calling it the ‘not very wet rain forest,’ they call it the dry one.

The forest is about five miles from our house. In order to get there, we take a small dirt road to a smaller dirt road that’s only big enough for one car. We have been on this road before and we know some people who live in Coyado, the village in the forest.

Anyway, before the forest, there is a lot of land that cattle graze on. As soon as we’re past the open pastures, we’re in the forest. It happens suddenly. One minute you are in the bright sunshine and the next minute you’re in the shade, surrounded by huge trees that stretch high up into the air. At times, you can hardly see the sky. Inside the forest it’s cool and comfortable.

When we were about a half-mile in, we began to hear deep, loud sounds, almost like a motorcycle. We looked into the trees and way, way up we could see moving figures. They were howler monkey’s.

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There were about four of them above me. They howled. I howled. And every time I howled, they answered me. I must have gotten them very agitated, as, all of a sudden, I felt drops, but I knew it wasn’t rain. As soon as I realized what it was, I drove away as fast as I could. Later, I was told I was lucky, because I learned when they feel threatened they sometimes throw poo. I guess I was really lucky!

From there, we drove our dirt bikes into the very small town of Coyado, where people still live like it is the dawn of man. No electricity, no running water and no cars, but they have horses, cows, pigs, and chickens. We have a friend there, Gerrado, who has ten horses. His job is to take people on rides. Your aunt and Jeanne went on a long ride once, across a river along a beach and into the ocean. They loved it. When you come, we hope that you will ride the horses, too. They are very tame.

Also, I saw some whales. They migrate right near our house. Before you see them, you see their spouts of water shooting high in the air. Incredible.

I miss you and your mom and dad. Jeanne sends love to everyone, me too.

Uncle Marc