Costa Rica 2013, Part 5.

Before trail story-time, let’s look at some carts! The oxcarts in Costa Rica are hand-painted and it is a wonderful art form. I took pictures of a two carts and one yoke. So pretty.

Rainforest Walk! The Moomins and I were told that we were going on a “nature hike”. For three hours. I was petrified. I am not athletic, and what if I go on this hike with other people and we climb a mountain for three hours and they’re good hikers and I slow them down and they all hate me and then I throw up and pass out? I was skerred. However, I knew once I saw our guide we were a-okay for two reasons. One, he was morbidly obese, and two, he was wearing flip-flops. I immediately was like, yeah, I’m going to be fine.

It was fantastic. The Cahuita National Park goes right up to the beach.

The trail was about twenty feet inside the rainforest, so as you were walking through this crazy lush foliage you could hear the waves crashing on your left. It was paradise. Speaking of the beach, this type of ocean was something I had never experienced before. I’ve been in oceans many times before but they always had some way to slow down the current, whether man-made or natural. This chunk of Caribbean had nothing. There were signs everywhere that you go swimming at your own risk and that there was a rip current. The Moomins decided that we would forgo any warnings and live dangerously. Here’s some video I took before I even got into the water. I’m standing right at the edge. Notice how it’s all grabby and yanky. Very aggressive water.

So The Moomins and I went in up to our mid-thigh and it was intense. This actually happened, I have a witness: I was standing there when a wave crashed into me so hard that it made a “crack” noise against my abdomen. I belly-flopped standing perfectly still and upright. But the water was warm and clear, so we spend about forty-five minutes getting crotch-punched by Neptune. It was enjoyable in a weird way – you just had to be super-aware because the sand kept getting pulled out from under your feet and you would lose your footing if you didn’t stay on your game. I did discover something unfortunate when I got back to the bungalow. When I showered, the amount of sand that had been violently thrust into my crevices was astonishing. I felt like when a magician pulls that colored roll of tissue paper out of your mouth. You know Montezuma’s Revenge? I decided this should be called Poseidon’s Dilemma: the discovery of even more sand every time you shower for a week afterwards. “I thought I got it all” is the catchphrase.

I digress. Back to the nature walk. First, I thought I was seeing things because it looked like the ground was moving. It turns out it was covered with little holes that were inhabited by little crabs. When we would walk by, the wee crabbits would scuttle sideways into their holes to hide. I loved them.

There were also small lizards that were shiny and bright.

We walked past an iguana sunning himself.

And a basilisk lizard, also know as the Jesus Lizard for his ability to run on the surface of the water.

On the left we saw a little something move in a tree. A troupe of Capuchin Monkeys were all around in the bank of trees between us and the ocean.

We passed a male and female trogon. Trogons are birds that, in my opinion, look like they got knocked 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? Who’s the president?” Mr. Trogon is the teal-colored one, Mrs. Trogon is dark gray.

It was getting close to midday which is when animals tend to take a siesta. We walked right through a troupe of Howler Monkeys resting. We made some noise as we passed through and the leader opened his eyes a bit, decided we weren’t any kind of threat, and went right back to sleep. I like how the guy in the second picture is holding onto the branch so he doesn’t fall out the tree while napping.

And then! OMG! We came across a teeny-tiny eyelash pit viper. Even if you don’t like snakes, this one was cute. He was sitting on a leaf and he had his tail wrapped around the stem. I tried desperately to get a good picture, but my camera got uppity and decided to focus on things in the background. “Never mind this awesome snake right in front of us, let’s really draw attention to that rotting tree stump way the hell over there, that’s where the real action is!”

Every fiber of me was like I WANT TO PET IT but my brain wisely was like LET’S NOT LOSE OUR HAND TO NECROSIS TODAY so I didn’t pet the snake. There was a creek we had to cross at one point. We had to take off our shoes and walk along the beach to get through it. The creek-water was brown because there was a mangrove cluster along the route the creek takes, and mangroves apparently give off a lot of tannin so it had stained the water. I liked how it looked as it flowed into the ocean.

We finally reached the end where the coral reef began, ate some fruit (so delicious) and I watched the hermit crabs scamper around.

And then, drawn by the siren song of pineapple, the Capuchins showed up and concocted elaborate plans on how to distract us and steal our fruity treats. You know, how they do.

Next, the Veragua Rainforest Park and the wonders therein. And then… SLOTHS!

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