Costa Rica 2012, Part 1 (officially).

My books arrived! Now my avian photos are labeled correctly, no longer things like “teeny-bird.jpg’ or “bird-that-makes-cool-noise.jpg”. Seriously, has anyone noticed how freakin’ weird bird names are? I looked through this book and now I realize I have to go back to Costa Rica to see the Marbled Godwit, or the Lesser Yellowlegs, or the Great Potoo. I did see the greatest bird ever, not for its appearance (it’s a nice-enough-looking fella), but for its name – The Violaceous Trogon. Seriously. Here’s a photo of a Violaceous Trogon:

And here’s what something called a Violaceous Trogon should look like:

(This picture is taken from a website called ZeroFriends, they have lots of great prints, go check ’em out.)

A Violaceous Trogon should be laying waste to the cities of man, not sitting benignly in a tree looking like it got hit the back of the head with a brick. But I’m not an ornithologist, so I can’t complain about the naming system.

First of all, I would like to thank Susan for her photographs. Susan is this really cool dame from Kansas City who was with me on the trip and took about fifty of the photos you’re going to see here. A delightful and talented lady, she has a blog she updates periodically and it’s got some great pictures of her paintings and her glasswork and her fiber (or, if you’re pretentious, “fibre”) works. We bonded over our shared craftiness. And if you like paintings of dogs, she’s your lady. I love her dog paintings. Thank you, Susan. You da bomb. I am also using three photos from another co-traveller called Ami, so thank you to you as well, Ami.

The first thing I noticed when I got off the plane in Costa Rica was the plant life. As I said, everything is huge and insanely bright. And more often than not, the plants look vulgar, like the engorged sexy-time parts of mammals. I found myself periodically holding my purse in front of various flowers, attempting to cover them up. I might have hissed, “You’re just embarrassing yourself,” at some of them. Specifically, the bananas gave me the most problems. At the bottom of the hands is a flower-thing that just screams, “Hey, lady, you lost? Want a ride?”

Unrelated note: Has anyone noticed how popular sloths have become of late? There are whole websites devoted to the awesomeness of sloths. And then today on Buzzfeed, I saw this:

They say it’s because of the Kristen Bell sloth-freak-out video that’s making the rounds, but I’d like to believe the entire internet is in a tizzy over sloths because of my recent trip. And I will continue to believe that. Please do not inform me of the truth. Thanks.

Back to plants: Heliconia! These are all in the Bird of Paradise family. They are, of course, are bigger and weirder than the regular Bird of Paradise. And the last one is hairy. I wanted to pet it, but I was afraid it would growl and bite my hand.

Concerning my houseplant comment of the previous entry, I had never given any real thought to where those plants originally come from. Imagine my surprise when I saw a poinsettia in someone’s garden, just hanging out. It was like seeing Santa Claus in the driveway of his house picking up the newspaper in a bathrobe. “Oh, you…live here. This is your home. Okay.”

The houses in Costa Rica are very simple and basic. Almost all of them are small, boxy ranch-style houses built out of cement blocks with corrugated metal roofs. I suppose if you live in vegetal bliss surrounded by glittering hummingbirds zipping to and fro, your house need not be particularly fancy. I got jealous of these humble dwellings. I hope the locals appreciate walking outside every morning into gorgeous weather and seeing something awesome like a monkey or an iguana. If I go outside my apartment, most likely I will see clouds and neighbor with a dog on a leash relieving itself. (The dog is relieving itself, not the owner. Watching the other thing would not be awesome, but it certainly would be something.)

Speaking of the weather, there’s a lot of NASA stuff all over Costa Rica. I saw them with a big tent at the airport, and then various other places after that. The reason is that large chunks of Costa Rica have the most stable weather patterns in the world. Every day: sunny. Nice. Little bit of wind, nothing drastic. So NASA does a great deal of testing down there. I thought that was extremely neat.

Not all of the plants were unfamiliar to me. I’ve seen bougainvillea before, just never this lush and in such a variety of colors.

And I’ve seen hibiscus flowers before too, but not double-petalled pinwheel duo-toned ones.

Anyone ever see Little Shop of Horrors? Well, Audrey II is real, and I have seen her.

Another gigantor leafy thing with a simply unacceptable flowering bit. C’mon, there are kids here, man.

Some of the plants I wanted to shove a clipping of into my bag and take home with me. Like this Powderpuff.

Or this Queen’s Wreath.

Next entry: more plants and some birds and other cool stuff.

Addendum: I have been informed by one of my co-travelers that the bird in the photo is not a Violaceous Trogon, but a Black-Headed Trogon. They look very similar. I’m guessing none of you give a crap about Trogons, so I’m not changing the blog entry.

One Response to “Costa Rica 2012, Part 1 (officially).”

  1. […] look like they got punched out in a bar fight and they’re trying to get their bearings. I’ve talked about them before. I always want to walk up to them and say, “How many fingers am I holding up? What day is it? […]

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