I drove to Santa Cruz on Monday to meet up with my friend Silene. She’s one of the students in the university that I met when I was living with Cecilia. I’m really impressed with Silene. She is majoring in ecotourism management and hopes to one day be the director of some sort of business related to the ecotourism industry. Obviously, Costa Rica is the perfect place for her decision. Santa Cruz is a 40 min drive to the south and has a population of 60,000. July 25th is the celebration of the Annexation of Guanacaste which happened in 1824 when the Guanacaste province which I currently reside in seceded from Nicaragua. It’s given great importance because it is a large province and it’s felt that it gave Costa Rica much of it’s culture today. Seline said we were going to a bullfight. My first thought was that I didn’t want to see any bulls killed but I didn’t want to be rude and I thought “when in Rome………..”. Fortunately it turned out to be a translation error as it was just a bull riding event. It was unlike any rodeo I’ve ever been to though! Here’s some video from the event. They don’t have a few clowns like in the us, but there are lots of people to distract the bulls. There was also a ruckus that started up behind the bleachers we were sitting in that I’ve added a video of. I only caught the tail end of it on video. I’ve seen it in the movies but this was the first time in real life I saw a guy grab a bottle and bust it to use as a weapon. Quite an entertaining day to say the least.
The abundance of wildlife here is astounding. There aren’t very many mammals in this part of the country. There is a small white tail deer a bit larger than a goat but I’ve yet to see one in the wild. The squirrel is probably the most abundant besides the howler monkeys. I can hear them from time to time in my new place but I’ve yet to see any here. Add insects, reptiles and birds to the equation and it’s another world. I was sitting out on my back patio watching the birds and gazing up at this giant Guanacaste tree when I notice a lizard about 18-24″ long perched up on a limb. When I came out later, his camouflage is so good I didn’t notice him at first.
A bit later it started raining and I had the back door open and this guy kept wanting to come in the house to visit.
The next day I see a wasp on the concrete wall behind the apartment and he’s alive but he’s not acting and doing normal wasp things. When I looked closer I could see why. The ants (hormigas) had a hold of him. He was still alive. What a way to go!
I saw one of these birds closer yesterday and the light on his back wing feathers was multicolored and beautiful. In this shot the light isn’t very good but you can see the unique looking tail feathers he has. The guanacaste tree behind my apartment is a small micro ecosystem. Hopefully I’ll get some shot’s when the light is right so you can see his beautiful colors. How about the tail feathers on that bird?!?!?
I drove Carlos to his Mother and Father’s house which is about 2 hours away up near a volcano. Sorry but I can’t remember the name of it. I’ve been told there are 14 volcanoes in Costa Rica. They actually use the geothermal from the volcanoes to produce electricity. There were also many wind turbines scattered about. I’m not positive but I think this is where Costa Rica gets almost all of it’s electricity. No fossil fuels or very little if any. It was a nice drive. The countryside is lush and a lot of it is being used for agriculture. When we got to his folks house his mother is this short little lady with a big smile. She gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek for bringing Carlos to see her. His father was there also and both of them are really nice people. She asked was I hungry but I could tell that whether I was hungry or not I was going to be getting some food. She whips up these delicious homemade tamales with big chunks of avocado picked fresh from the tree in their yard. It was actually delicious. The fruits and vegetables here have so much flavor and are some of the best I’ve ever had. Most of the time the produce I’m eating has just been picked in the last day or so. I’ve never eaten so much fruit in my life! After a bit, Carlos’s brother, his wife and 24 yr old son show up. Really nice people! The mother is a doctor, the father is a nurse and the son is studying computer engineering in the university and spoke pretty good english. The father spoke a little english and he wanted to practice with me. He made a few sentences and I pointed out any errors he had made. Then he asks me “Do you ever buy any whores?” I was shocked! I started saying “nunca (never/none)” over and over. No, no, no, no, nunca!!! This is a very religious family and we are all sitting here and I’m flabbergasted that he just asked me if I buy any whores!!! They wanted to know why I was reacting so strongly to his question. Caballo is horse in espanol and he was asking me if I bought horses. I had to explain that there is a word in english for a prostitute called whores that sounds exactly like horse and what I heard was “do you buy whores?”. Best language mishap yet! Needless to say there was a lot of laughter. Carlos’s father has Alzheimer’s and they are constantly testing his memory by asking him questions like “what day is it?”, “how many children he has?”, etc. A really nice family! When we left, everyone stood up and Carlos’s older brother said a prayer. Most of you know where I stand on this subject but it was pretty special none the less. Below are a few pictures from the drive. Didn’t take a lot of pictures since I was driving and my good camera’s battery is dead since someone forgot the charger on the boat.