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February 12, 2011 / puravida2011

We love Cocles!

So we’ve been here on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, barely north of Panama, for almost a week now and are establishing a rhythm to the days. We wake up early with the howler monkeys and toucans, then I have coffee, Chico has Komplete cereal with banana, and we either get ready for the beach or have a little bit of exercise, depending on the day. In either case we are at the beach by 9:00 or so, and the local beaches are gorgeous. We’ve tried Playa Cocles, Playa Chiquita, and today spend a few hours at Playa Punta Uva, which I think is the best. Punta Uva is in a little cove, so the water is calm. It would be absolutely perfect if there were not ladrones in montes, “thieves in the bushes.” Signs are posted. And the beach is water, then sand, then thief-laden bushes. So we take turns in the lovely water, with the non-bathing person guarding our backpack (in which there are not many valuables, but the backpack itself is essential for our packing to come back to MN).
I did encounter a young American women whose backpack had just been snatched from her beach blanket. She was wandering forlornly down the beach, looking for a ladrone with her black sac. No luck. They disappear into the bushes. Ah well.
Our casita is nice and surprisingly cool. Based on our readings we expected to be very hot and moist here. It is certainly moist (in fact I don’t think my hair has been really dry since January 5th), but the house is under tall trees and with the ceiling fans running we actually need to sleep under a blanket to stay warm. It is very comfortable, built in local style, with lattice walls, so nature comes and goes as it pleases. Bats swoop through at nightfall, and I am being quite brave about them. Our bedroom upstairs has screens inside the lattice, so no bats there.
Speaking of cool and moist, hot water for showers is unpredictable. We start the hot tap, then get about 45 seconds of warm water before the stream turns quite chilly, then have to wait for the next bursts of warmth, which come at intervals with no pattern we’ve been able to discern. Chico considers the cool showers refreshing. I get kind of chilly. But shaving my legs with goosebumps gives me a nice smooth result.
We have cocoa trees growing in the yard and Chico thinks it would be fun to ferment the beans and make some chocolate. Based on the wikipedia entry this sounds like a lot of work. We can tour a local cocoa plantation to get more information on the process and decide from there.
On our first day here (without our camera, sadly) we saw a sloth in a tree next to the main road down the coast. It was eating leaves and seemed quite relaxed and mellow. We watched him for a while, then looked across the road, where a collection of toucans were settled in a tree. These things only happen when the camera is away. But we have collected lots of good photos of the nature here and share some now.

Cool frog in our yard.

This is a really big tree in our yard.

Ground-dwelling bird walking through our yard.

Playa Cocles, the beach nearest our casita.

Chico caught a toucan!


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