Sunday, August 31, 2008

Costa Rica Day 2: Fish! Not So Good!

My day started very early today with some gastro-intestinal distress and a small earthquake. Really. Dan and I came to the conclusion that it must have been the fish we had for lunch the day before at the Las Vegas resturant in Sierpe since we both had the same thing and he also was having to make frequent trips to the bathroom. So if you eat at the Las Vegas, do so with caution.

The small earthquake was very surprising this morning. I was awoken just before 5 AM by some birds screeching and about a minute after that there was a little rumbling, the bed shook slightly, all the water from the rain the night before came off the leaves and I heard coconuts start hitting the ground. "Watch out for falling coconuts" indeed.

So yesterday I had noticed that the grounds of the lodge were covered with holes surrounded with mound of dirt. They are made by land crabs nick-named "halloween crabs" because of their orange and black coloring. I have become absolutely fascinated by them.

So as soon as it is light I'm sitting on the front pouch of my cabing, camera in hand, zoom lens attached, waiting for a good sized specimen to pop out of its hole. The one I've got my eye on is about half-way out of its hole, just checking out the area, while I'm checking it out, when Da Monkeys arrive.

Having the monkeys over for breakfast is the greatest thing EVAH! They are white-faced Capuchins. They're coming for the red fruit of the palm tress on the property. When they see me and the camera they are unsure what it is and are a little shy. They keep an eye on me for a bit, then decide I'm not a threat and leave just one guard on me. Finally I'm able to get up and move around slowly without them sounding the alarm. The dogs are another matter, though.

Dan and Holly have two dogs. A German Shepard named Lassie, and a Beagle-mix named Daisy. Both of them are friendly, well-behaved girls that like to have their bellies scratched. When the monkeys spot them both dogs are still lounging around on their beds at the side of the lodge waiting to be fed. One of the monkeys saw the dogs and jumped up and down the branch a few times and screeched in alarm. Then it settled down to watch the dogs, showing its teeth. Interesting behavior.

Another monkey came over, they chatted amongst themselves for a few seconds then both turned and showed their teeth to the dogs. Like that's going to intimidated a German Shepard. About that time Lassie noticed the monkeys in the tree and charged under the limb, barking and jumping. There was several seconds of this noise and mayhem until all the animals realized they couldn't reach each other, then went their separate ways.

Marc and Illianna showed up shortly afterwards and we all had breakfast, then we saw them off back to Haiti. I rushed to the bathroom. It should be mentioned here that the lodge has no hot running water in the showers. Consequently, showers are cold! Not a good idea in the morning.

I decided to go for a walk. There was no way for me to get lost or hurt since there are paths and roads all around. As isolated as the village of Sabalo and the lodge is, there are people all around living and working small farms and ranches. So I set off down the road to Sabalo village. I wandered around the area for a couple of hours with the dogs until I had to race back to the lodge to use the bathroom again.

After lunch Holly fired up the 4-wheelers and we went in search of a jungle pool fed by a mountain waterfall she had found recently. Because of the recent unusually heavy rains the road was blocked by a fallen tree and faster than usual stream. So we parked the Quads and hiked into the forest. The dogs proved very useful in helping us find what little trail there was since they had been there before with Holly. There were signs all around us of recent flooding because of the heavy rains. Trees were down and the ground vegetation was washed flat. We could also hear the water running but couldn't see it until we, literally, almost fell into the fast stream that wound across the path.

When we reached the waterfall is was, as promised, a wonderful scene. I had only seen the like in movies before. Surrounded on 3 sides by high canyon walls, with the water plunging over a 12-15 meter cliff into a shallow pool. Once I finally fell in, the pool wasn't more than about chest deep. The water was cold! So cold it makes you gasp; I wasn't expecting that at all. The pool also wasn't very large. About 3 times the size of a good sized jacuzzi. The current from the waterfall spun you around and around. It was fun!

So after doing that for a while and trying to get Daisy to swim we headed back. I thought I was going to have to make emergency pit stops a couple of times but I was able to control myself until I reached the lodge.

I read the rest of the afternoon, on the back porch of my cabin, until dinner time. I saw a python in a tree and tried to get some pics. This is one of the best ones. Regrettably none of the python shots turned out very good. I should have tried to get closer.

Dan made it back before the rain hit and had dug around and found a remedy for our "little problem." Hopefully it will work.

The rain hit hard again a little after 5 PM and continued most of the night. After dinner I read till about 9 PM then called it a night.

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