Friday, January 28, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This was an adventurous morning for the women on the trip – the caretaker of this beautiful property, Marvin, took us on a 3 ½ hour tour, along with his son Josue (maybe 8 or 9?) and the cutest little dog, Perlita. Marvin speaks only a few words of English, and luckily Judie is pretty fluent in Spanish, because he knows so much about the flora and fauna and enjoys sharing his knowledge with us. This was quite a hike, much more so than we expected! It started on a neighboring property, down a hill so steep we had to hold onto saplings to keep from sliding down the slope, and in fact some of us did part of the descent on our behinds! At the bottom, we carefully crossed the creek by balancing on a fallen log, then continued through the jungle, watching birds and tasting the wild things Marvin found for us: wild limes, culantro (similar in taste to cilantro), hearts of palm, a dried berry that is used for stomach problems, the membrane between the seeds of the carao seedpod (a beautiful, long brown pod a little like a tamarind – good for high blood pressure). Each time, after we took a bite, Marvin would say “muerte!” (you’re dead!”), teasing us with una broma, a joke. He is funny! Eventually we ended up walking right down the middle of the creek, which had us in stitches because Judie had just carefully water-proofed her hiking boots. We saw many wonderful plants, including sour orange, sapote, and guanaba, plus the ceiva tree we have admired so much from our beautiful patio. All along the way, as we hiked down the middle of the creek, Marvin lifted big rocks, looking for crawfish. Yikes! Too bad he didn’t find any. He says he and his family come out after dark with flashlights and have better luck finding them. I can’t imagine being out in the jungle after dark! There are so many wonderful and different noises – we saw and heard kingfishers, herons, woodpeckers, wood creepers, squirrels and monkeys, including a pregnant one. The howler monkeys have babies year-around here, and we’ve seen lots of little ones. They are so cute! At the end of the hike we saw a hive of tiny bees, with the most interesting little tubular entrance to their hive – I meant to take Doug back to get a good picture of it and I forgot. Dang. We talked a little politics, too; there are border problems with Nicaragua, analogous to the problems we have with Mexico. About 30% of the population of Costa Rica is Nicaraguan (I think I understood that right, I don’t guarantee these figures), and in the little town we are staying in, 4 of the 8 families are Nicaraguan.

In the afternoon, we drove down the coast and checked out the surfers at Playa Hermosa. What a beautiful beach! The waves are consistent and not too big, so it’s a perfect place for beginners, they say. It sure looks like fun! Maybe next time.

Later, Marvin brought over his private collection of antiquities he has dug up. They are not Mayan (no Mayans in Costa Rica), but from around that same time and they are amazing! Pottery bowls, figurines, all wrapped in newspaper and stored in a bucket in his house. They seem museum-worthy to me! Amazing.

Tonight we had leftovers and loved every bite!

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