Thursday, September 20, 2007

Costa Rica: The Mature Version

Now that I have that last bit of silliness out of my system I can finally write the Costa Rica post that you were expecting. You know, the cliché one about how pretty the sunsets are and the painful cuteness of the monkeys and exactly how jealous you should be of my tan (I think I may have finally manage to darken myself enough to match the “nude” shade of nylons, implying that in the past I have always been more naked then everyone else).

Before I get started on the pretty and cute Costa Rica I need to cover a less appealing but much more common aspect of the country. I’m going to use this paragraph to get a little USA #1 on you, I promise to insult us later on to balance the scales and prove that I am not that universally hated thing: the stereotypical American tourist. What is up with the plumbing in other countries? When in Europe I always assume that the plumbing is so ancient that it predates toilet paper or that people in olden times didn’t have sufficient food to warrant large pipes but I have no idea what Latin American’s excuse is. Like Sweden, the UK and (one assumes) Hades Costa Rica (and, if I remember correctly, Mexico) also expects you to toss your toilet paper in a garbage can next to the john. Despite the heavy signage asking/begging me to not put anything in the toilet that didn’t come out of my body I was unable to follow these instructions at least 70% of the time. I fear that there must be some maximum number of American tourists that any given country can support without risking the loss of indoor plumbing.

Sky and I spent our second week in Costa Rica on the Osa Pennisula enjoying a much more adult vacation than the first week provided – there was much appreciation of wildlife and naps and eating of healthy food. There were no tequila shots or reggae bars. I did a lot of reading. If Malpais was age 16 all over again the Osa foreshadowed my early forties. This makes it sound boring but it wasn’t that at all – I personally plan to be a very cool 43 year old.

To get to the Osa we booked a quick flight from San Jose which was ridiculously cheap – cheap enough to make one worry about if the airline is skimping on nice to haves like peanuts, pillows and engines. Being asked for my weight preflight didn’t help inspire confidence but I figured they couldn’t be too serious about the danger considering they were trusting people to tell the truth – if the threat of a large ass forcing the plane from of the sky were real wouldn’t there be an actual scale involved?

Sky and I took a bit of a gamble traveling to Central America during the rainy season but thus far our luck had held out and Thor saw fit to only send torrents of rain when it best suited his sick sense of humor – thankfully while in Malpais this was only at night and left us with plenty of dry daytime to play outside. Not content to avert our eyes from the gift horse we decided to go play in the rain forest (take that common sense!). I can now report that neither “rain forest” nor “rainy season” is a misnomer. We got a little rain (the ocean has a little water in it, the war in Iraq has been a little disappointing, ice cream is a little yummy….) and these storms highlighted one of the greatest failings of Costa Rica: the appalling lack of magic umbrella sellers (you know, the guys who come out of the woodwork on ever New York City street corner at the mere hint of moisture). I feel that as a gesture of goodwill we should sponsor some sort of umbrella seller work abroad program (perhaps this would make up for bringing down their entire national septic system). Until that happens silly Americans like us will continue to suffer for our poor travel season choices. That said, the suffering was fairly minor. The rain was torrential (at the risk of offending former boyfriends I have to honestly say that I have never been wetter (Hi mom! Good thing you weren’t ever shooting for a nice ladylike daughter!)) but thankfully the rain was sporadic and didn’t stop us from hiking or snorkeling or communing with nature.

Speaking of nature, can we talk about the bugs? The majority of insect pictures in my flickr set were taken in our house in Malpais. INSIDE OF THE HOUSE. I’ll pause while you think of an appropriate prize for my bravery (*hint*NintendoWii*hint*). I think that these pictures serve as irrefutable evidence that if there is an insect Olympics the USA is getting its thorax kicked. My previous ramblings about large bugs aside Costa Rica offered one specimen that I fear foreshadows the downfall of human civilization. It turns out that the 1950s Sci Fi movies were more than prophetic – humans, meet your new not so benevolent dictator – Tropidacris dux (that’s Latin for HOLY SHIT EVERYBODY RUN). If Trop is the king then his queen is this yet to be identified beetle, as you can see from exhibit B, she has already taken over at least one beverage.

Despite the subpar plumbing, sheets of rain and the IOUSes (oh yes, they do exist) Costa Rica was a blast. In the bleak future that is to come (one starting with this job thing that people seem to expect me to do ALL OF THE TIME and ending with being enslaved by a race of giant grasshoppers) I hope that I someday get to escape to Malpais or the Osa again. Oh yeah – the sunsets were pretty and the monkeys very cute, if you see me in the next couple of weeks you better check out my tan before it fades.

1 comment:

Emilie said...

whoa. Serious bugs. I was demanding a medal for having dealt with worms in my organic concord grapes the other day...but I might prefer tiny little worms to those huge guys.

Glad you enjoyed all ages of your being in Costa Rica.