Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Oh, another wonderful day in paradise . . . we have been getting up at about 6 every morning, with the sunrise. We’re drinking Costa Rican coffee made in an espresso machine here, and it’s wonderful! We’ve had fresh fruit every day, much of it local. The granola here is delicious, too.

Today we took a drive across the bottom of the Nicoya peninsula (from our house in Betel) through Cóbano, Montezuma and Cabuya, to the Cabo Blanco Reserve.  On the way, Judie spotted a bunch of howler monkeys in a tree, including a mother and two tiny babies. When you see something cool on the side of the road here, you just pull over, stop your car and get out to look. Anyone else who comes along on the road either drives around you, or stops to see what you’re looking at. Montezuma is a throwback to the 60s: hippies, the smell of dope, hash pipes for sale on the street, camping on the beach. And the beach is spectacular! The Cabo Blanco Reserve is the first of its kind in Costa Rica. It’s a second-growth moist tropical forest, right on the ocean. We hiked there for about an hour and a half and worked up quite a sweat – it’s hot and humid here! We saw howler monkeys, a few birds, tons of lush tropical vegetation, and a 4-foot-long snake, about as big around as my little finger. Cool! On the way back to Montezuma for lunch, we stopped at a tiny bakery in Cabuya where Judie bought a dessert called tres leches, a delicious, not-too-sweet cake made with three types of milk – regular, cream, and sweetened condensed. Always eat dessert first, she says! We had lunch right on the beach in Montezuma. We’re on Tico time here, meaning service is slowly paced and everyone is relaxed and mellow about it, so we spent quite a bit of time waiting for lunch, enjoying it when it arrived, and watching the beach action, including a guy climbing down from the top of a coconut tree after whacking off a bunch of nuts and leaves. On the way back to the car, we saw white-faced capuchin monkeys, right in the middle of the jungly town. The drive home took about 45 minutes, including a stop (right in the middle of the road) to look at an enormous, 500-year-old strangler fig tree. These trees are soo interesting – they literally grow around another tree, strangling the life right out of it. This tree is said to be the oldest in Costa Rica, and it’s huge! Because the inside is hollow (where the strangled tree used to be), it’s a haven for bats. There is so much to see here!  It’s hot today, and the ride home is very dusty so when we finally get home, it’s straight to the pool. We spent a half hour or so watching a kinkajou eat bananas that we had hung from a tree right next to our swimming pool. Kinajous are members of the raccoon family, with huge eyes in a face that’s reminiscent of a bear. So cute! We also saw a black-header Trogon, about 4 feet from our beach chairs next to the pool. We love this place! At about 4:00, the animals start coming out, and the night-blooming plants start to become fragrant. The noises here are so incredible: howler monkeys . . . well, howling; doves cooing, nightjars and falcons calling, cicadas singing, and much more that we can’t identify! It is so entrancing to hear all these jungle noises.

 As I write this, Mitch is grilling the rest of the shrimp we bought yesterday, while Doug is making rice and a sauce. I’ve got a cabbage and avocado salad just waiting to be out together. Another day in paradise!

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