Archives for posts with tag: Random
Originally published on facebook – May 25, 2009.

I had my first encounter with a Scorpion today. He was all curled up inside my yoga mat and as I unfurled it he flew across the floor and scuttled under my fridge. He is still there. I am hoping that my landlord comes home soon because I am scared to go into my kitchen, and it’s close to dinner time. I’m pretty sure that this is irrational behavior on my part however I am not taking any chances with a creature like that. This thing is at least 3 or 4 inches long and honestly, I am not sure what would happen if it stung me so I am not taking any chances. Have I mentioned that the nearest medical care is 7kms away by taxi? (Aline, I think that you would happily welcome a nice little gecko into your home (or even your bath towels) after seeing one of these freaking things.) I just talked to my neighbor Kristen, she said they are not poisonous, however it would still hurt like a summbitch if you got stung. She advised waiting for a man to come along and take care of it, I will happily acquiesce. Yes they are as creepy and scary looking as you might think. I was thinking that I was getting pretty lucky in the creepy-crawly department…hadn’t seen any snakes, tarantulas or scorpions before today and now this. Please God, Buddha, Krishna, Gaia, Mom or whomever is listening, I beg of you, no more scary creepy things in my house! After this I would welcome a few land crabs, no problem!

Here’s a photo of what he looked like after he got smushed….

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I am still in Montezuma, It’s been raining every couple of days here, mostly at night. It’s never really just rain, it’s always preceded by a good show of lightening and then it DUMPS. A couple Fridays ago we had a big one roll in, thunder, lightening etc. I watched and heard the storm approach along the coastline then hover directly overhead (I seriously considered the possibility that my house might get hit as my roof is corrugated metal, but then so are most roofs here) and then it moved on down the road. Was pretty darn cool really. I love watching the storms but practically speaking it is a bit of a hassle as the roads become mud rivers and if you walk around in flip-flops you get speckles of mud all up the back of your legs and butt. Also they can come up super quickly and if you get caught out in it you are instantly soaked through, I am starting to recognize the signs of impending downpour now (it gets windy and the clouds roll in dark) but still I bought an umbrella and carry it at all times. I don’t care so much about me getting wet as it’s still nice and warm but I am often carrying my school books (or library books) and if those get wet, well that would suck. A rain jacket is inappropriate as it’s so humid you stick to the inside of it, not so comfy.

During a storm last week I lost power in my place for almost an hour. I was trying to study so I lit candles and experienced the most amazing array of bugs flocking to the light that I have ever seen, all of them appeared quite suddenly and commenced to attempt mass suicide by tealight, many succeeded and their remains now decorate the re-solidified wax. As well lightning bugs (about 1-1/2 inches long) seemed intent upon landing in my hair every few minutes, So I watched them flit around the room, lighting up every few seconds as they fly, trying to duck when they came near. Lightning bugs are new to me, I’ve never seen them before as we don’t have them at home (I don’t think). Their glow is like an old fluorescent green light bulb, they are really kinda neat but it’s hard to study through that, to say nothing of the crazy looking beetles that kept showing up on my bed as well.

I am getting itchy to start moving again yet I still have 2 weeks left go here before the training is finished. I am enjoying it but at the same time quite miss being footloose and fancy-free, going wherever my impulses took me. I am looking forward to getting back out in the world again. Montezuma is a lovely place (probably the most beautiful and unique place in Costa Rica that I have been to anyways) but I have been here for a total of 5 weeks already with 2 more to go and I am ready to move on and get back to a traveler’s existence. Plus I could use a night or two to let my hair down and have some bevs, just not able to do that while in the yoga program as the amount of studying required does not allow for a day spent hungover. As well, much as I like the ladies I am taking the program with I think a little more masculine company would be quite pleasant around now. I think after I am done here I will be heading up to Nicaragua, though I have been kicking myself for not visiting the San Blas area of Panama when I was down there. I have been told by many people who have traveled all through South and Central America that it is THE place for beautiful beaches (you might think I would be bored of beautiful beaches by now, but no, no I’m not!) so I may look into the possibility of a cheap and quick flight down that way before heading north to Nic.

A few words on local forms of transportation: Atv’s or Quads as some like to call them – these vehicles are a major form of transportation here, you often see whole families riding on them, mom, dad, a few kids, the family dog, and no helmets, everybody hanging off the bike, holding on to I don’t know what. In the dry season especially it gets really dusty on these unpaved roads and people wear handkerchiefs around their heads and faces so it looks as if the whole town is out to rob a bank. Sometimes you see people wearing surgical masks, and even ski goggles. The other day I saw a mom and dad sharing a dirt bike and their kid following on his own mini quad, he couldn’t have been more then 6 years old. At least he had a helmet! Pick-up trucks drive around with little kids in the back, little kids maybe 3 years old bouncing around with shovels and hoes, maybe some groceries as well and a spare tire. Guys drive around on dirt bikes, either sitting on their surfboards (both sides sticking out into the road) or holding them in one arm while they steer with the other. I have even seen women on the backs of motorcycles holding newborns. It’s crazy but it’s normal here.

It’s funny how obsessed we are at home with making sure that everybody is safe and can’t get hurt. We enforce all these laws and standards and consider anyone who would do these kind of things at home as being negligent or dangerous or bad parents or perhaps even self destructive and suicidal. Yet I come to a place like this and realize that most of the world is not as worried or judgmental or as cautious as us and it’s refreshing or at least eye opening to see people live in a way that is somehow freer then we do at home. It makes me wonder if we relaxed the driving laws (and maybe other laws as well) we have at home whether we would see a difference in the way people drive (or conduct themselves)? Perhaps I speed only because I know I am not supposed to, if I was allowed to drive at any speed would I enjoy going so fast? Sometimes we break rules because it’s fun, if there weren’t any rules then maybe we would be more careful of our own volition. Here it’s never a local who speeds dangerously by you on one of these dusty dirt roads, it’s always a tourist (you can tell by the rental cars because most of them are exactly the same brand, getting kicks because there aren’t any cops handing out speeding tickets) a local wouldn’t speed because they know how obnoxious it is to be walking down the road when someone roars by and you end up choking on a mouthful of dust. Of course I don’t have any statistics on motor vehicular related deaths here compared to Canada, so maybe I am way off base. I’ll climb down off my soapbox now, but before I do….

Here are some other examples of how different things are here in terms of health and safety: raw eggs are not refrigerated in the supermarket (I know, crazy right, just asking for salmonella or whatever to happen…it doesn’t). Dogs and cats are allowed in restaurants or supermarkets (that’s stray dogs, yup, with fleas and all. The cats often just live there). You can buy booze at the corner store and hang out in the street or the beach or anywhere and drink it (much more pleasant then the actual bar here btw). I believe I have already mentioned (in a previous note) the response to fires on the sides of roads (none). Bonfires are allowed on the beach, anytime of year. The dogs that aren’t strays don’t have licenses and in fact most people just let them run around free, they come into town on their own, they go to the beach, they go get a snack at a restaurant (is this what they mean by a dog’s life? If so I want to be a dog next time). One lady in my class gets a ride home from the school with another classmate and her dog follows the car all the way home, running happily behind. If you go out for dinner and haven’t finished your bevies by the time you want to leave the restaurant they will happily provide you with a to go cup (I love this).

Anyways enough on this one, my thought are rambling (I’m not even sure I made that much sense) and I should be studying so I’ll put this one to bed for now.

Love to all…pura vida!
xoxo

PS – I have been wondering what the land crabs eat and I just found out. One of these crafty little guys just caught a big wasp right underneath my chair….I wonder if they like scorpions?

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Originally posted on facebook – May 14, 2009.ยท

More random thoughts…..

The sound a gecko makes is like a bird chirping. I love them, they eat mosquitoes.

Land crabs are everywhere in beach communities. They live in holes in the ground and you can see them scuttle down them sideways as you come along. They are colourful creatures, reds and purples and oranges and pinks. On average they are the size of your hand, sometimes smaller. You typically see more crabs out at night and you see the remains of an awful lots of them smushed on the road by cars and atv’s.They have the one bigger claw, that looks quite threatening really as they like to wave it around, and they move exceedingly quickly. They are exceedingly shy, and fast, however perhaps one will pose for me someday (I got one, see below). In Domincal we stayed in a place that was on ground level just a few yards away from the beach. I came into the bathroom one night and found 2 hiding behind the door, I jumped up on the toilet seat and squealed (a very girly action, I shamefully admit), fortunately my knight in shining armour Jon was there and herded one out the door of the room with a magazine, unfortunately the other one took this opportunity to disappear down the shower drain (which did not have a screen, just a hole in the floor). Needless to say I kept my eyes firmly fixed on that shower drain during each subsequent shower! My home in Montezuma has the same thing, the first night I was there I put a bowl over the drain! Every time I showered I would pull it away and keep my eyes open. Now I have a screen held down by 2 very big rocks, this keeps them out of my house! Last night I went into the bathroom and I saw one hanging out just below the screen, he was trying but there was no way those rocks are going to move! It rained yesterday and today they were EVERYWHERE, seriously I walk down the road and can hear them scurrying around in the brush at the side of the road, I see them on the road ahead of me racing in both directions for cover as I approach, kinda funny actually. I’m much more used to them now and realize that they are harmless and really pretty stupid, literally dozens of their smushed bodies are on the roads, fresh ones every day, every hour….

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When it rains it’s like taking a strong shower, in fact the water pressure is often better then what you get in the hotels/hostels. Warmer too.

Falling asleep to the sound of waves is incredibly relaxing, however I have noticed that I have to get up more often in the night to pee, I wonder if these things are related?

Gatorade (or Powerade) is a godsend on long bus rides, keeps you hydrated and you don’t have to pee as often as you would if you were drinking loads of water.

When they do make a rest stop on a long bus ride they never tell you how long you have there, could be 5 minutes, could be 30. Once I was almost left behind, I came out of the bathroom and the bus was pulling away, I’m not sure I have ever sprinted so fast, the driver was laughing his ass off at me when I got back on, I’m sure the expression on my face was priceless.

If you are on a bus making multiple stops they don’t announce where you are, yup that’s right. Everybody else just somehow knows, but I get to look like the stupid tourist who only speaks a little Spanish and ask questioningly of the driver, “es (insert name of destination)???” If he answers “Si” then I have to scramble all my stuff together and high tail it out the door, and make him get up and get my bag from down below. If he answers “No” then I have to struggle to maintain my balance as I try to make it back to my seat as the bus is careening wildly (and speedily) down the road.

No matter how much sleep I may have had the night before, every time I get on a bus, I am asleep within an hour. I’m sure you can imagine how disorienting it is when you’ve just awoken from a nap to find yourself pulling out of a station or away from a bus stop. Was I supposed to get off there? Did I miss my stop? Where the hell am I? Does anybody habla ingles? Por favor? I then spend the next however long staring out the window trying to spot a road sign which might give me an indication of where I am and trying to compare that to my pitiful Lonely Planet map trying to figure out how much further I have to go, finally figuring it out, I’m ok! Then often fading off to sleep again, only to wake up disoriented…..

Maybe if I didn’t get so sleepy on buses I wouldn’t have these problems…..mind you so far so good, haven’t missed any stops yet.

Why do all the hostels think that “free” or “included” pancake breakfasts are a good idea? I swear I am so sick of pancakes and fake maple syrup…….Granola anyone? Maybe cereal of some kind? Seriously…..please?

Pizza is everywhere here, usually thin crust and most of the time quite good. There is no such thing as rice pasta or corn pasta down here, I am screwed, and coming home bloated and fat.

Oh, and beans don’t really agree with me either, how ironic is that? Casado anyone? Uh no, thanks, I’ll pass and you and everyone around me will be quite happy I did.

Casado – For those of you that don’t know a Casado is a set meal of rice, beans, some sort of meat of your choosing (chicken, beef or pork) and what can only be described in loose terms as a salad (usually some shredded cabbage, maybe some shredded carrot too). This is often the cheapest and largest meal you can find anywhere, at any soda or high end restaurant. And no, no thanks, like I said, the beans…..

I’m not sure I can ever eat Arroz con pollo (chicken and rice) ever again.

I have noticed that all hermits crabs like to travel North as sunset approaches, don’t ask me why…. but they all head the same way every day. Maybe at sunrise they all travel South? Will have to get up at dawn sometime to check this theory. Hmmm, not likely.

Howler monkeys sound like what I imagine Satan laughing would sound like.

In the rainy season the river and waterfalls in Montezuma look like the one in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a far cry from dry season when it was like swimming in liquid emerald. If you are up high you can see the mud spreading out into the ocean at the mouth of the river. Yes, it is still swimmable, though nowhere near as pretty.

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I pick mangoes up off the ground where they have fallen and eat them, (as long as the monkeys haven’t bitten into them first). Imagine….. FREE mangoes!

My backpack now weighs in at 30lbs! I’m honestly not sure how I manage to fit it all in there! It’s like a tetris puzzle every time I have to pack up.

5 pairs of underwear are not enough for 4 months. Not when you get laundry done 1-2 times per week. One word….disintegrating.

Why not buy more underwear you ask? Because I prefer thongs and they seem to be impossible to find, seriously are all these beautiful Costa Rican women wearing granny panties?

I have yet to do my own laundry, even though I brought these cute little individual packages of Woolite from home with great intentions. When it costs $2.00 Cdn. to get 1 kilo of laundry done, you just don’t do it yourself. Period. Also most hostels don’t want you to do it in their sinks and typically reinforce this by not providing sink plugs.

Every animal I meet has fleas, LOTS of them (advantage anyone? flea collars?). Sometimes after hanging around with them I do too.

Some hammocks have fleas, you get used to it. Everything else about hammocks…rocks! Though I do get seasick sometimes.

Originally published on facebook – May 6, 2009.

A few random things…..

I will be on a bus from somewhere to somewhere else and then all of a sudden notice there is a fire slowly spreading along the sides of the road, burning grass and bushes and fence-posts, leaving a trail of blackened landscape behind. Nobody seems to take much notice of this, nobody is worried, nobody is fighting the fire…..it seems as though this is not out of the ordinary….surprising in a country that has a dry season that is over 6 months long.

Women carry their babies and smaller children here, ALL THE TIME. Rarely have I seen a stroller being used. I’ve seen kids as big as 3 or 4 years old passed out asleep in their mothers (or grandmothers) arms, while the woman stands there waiting for a bus or even buying groceries. These women hold onto their kids for hours at a time! Their arms and backs must be incredibly strong, wouldn’t want to arm wrestle any of these ladies!

When having a meal, most everything comes promptly, except the bill! They never bring it without asking. In fact sometimes it seems like the service staff disappear once I start thinking hhmmmm, maybe I’ll get the check now, poof, they are nowhere to be found!

The bus will stop anywhere, either to pick you up or drop you off, now that’s service! Today I didn’t see the bus coming until the last second and waved just as it went past me, I figured that was it I was stuck waiting another half an hour, but no, it came to a stop about 15 meters down the road and waited for me to get there, (I ran but probably didn’t really have to) the driver even had a big smile for me as I got on.

New, English language books are stupid expensive here, approximately double the jacket list price…this hurts someone like me who reads super fast….usually can trade books at hostels or buy them used for a more reasonable price but I am in a small town right now without any of those options, so…..ouch!

I don’t know how this can be but you can walk from one beach to the next and they will only be separated by a very small little point of land or bluff or whatever you want to call it, and the colour of the sand will change completely. One beach has dark grey almost black gritty sand and the next will be fine and white with all sorts of pretty seashells. I don’t understand how or why this happens, can anyone explain it to me?

Last thought…..mosquitoes suck! Why do they like my elbows so much?

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