Crumbs from your table

Trip Start Dec 15, 2009
Trip End Aug 27, 2010

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Guanacaste,
Monday, December 21, 2009

It's been a few days since we last wrote and I'd love to regale you with tales of adventure...all Pirates and treasure and the like. However, since this is our decompression downtime, you'll have to make-do with a near-death experience and an unsolved mystery whodunnit.
After settling into our new surroundings at Ocotal beach, we made the 4km trek to Playa del Coco (the local town) to get a feel for the place (went by taxi - not acclimatized to the humidity yet). Had dinner at a quaint little Caribbean place and in true laid-back style the food, although tasty, took an age to come ... in retrospect, the perceived delay was as much a sign of our need to chill out and the fact that we turned up super early for this part of the World (North American + kids = 5pm dinner). Later that evening while chillaxing on our balcony, Lauren spotted a pretty "crested" bird with a bad hair day (or maybe it spotted her), and decided that "Crester" might like a little bit of coconut cookie - he seemed to appreciate the gesture.

The next day was also fairly easy going. We went to town again, primarily for Derek to get online for a little work time. Sarah & the kids did a little shopping and beach exploring, discovering a horde of little hermit crabs doing battle with the incoming tide, re-burying themselves every time a wave washed over. Upon our return to Ocotal, and after a little time spent on our beach, we again retired to the deck just in time for Lauren's daily date with Crester. This time however, Crester was prepared; Once the coconut cookie crumbs appeared so did Crester, followed shortly thereafter by Crester's friends, family and anyone else on his birdy-mail list. In spite of this "weight of numbers" strategy employed by the magpie-jays, Crester's gang's plan backfired. Rather than soliciting a coconut cookie feasting frenzy, they managed to generate a bizarre Hitchcockian scene with scrambling humans diving for the doors before the macabre music kicked in and the pecking truly began.

The next day didn't have a lot to report other than a pleasant meal including the best snapper Derek had ever had (whole fish, grilled to perfection for $7) and Lauren's near miss with a flying scooter/moped. After dinner, we were strolling in town spying on the locals in the "Lizard Lounge" dance bar, but not partaking. While fixing her hair, walking backwards into the street from behind a parked car of course, Lauren managed to step in front of the only moving vehicle in the street (and boy was it moving). The narrowly avoided incident wouldn't have been pretty and worse still the hair might've gotten a little messed up! Lesson learned (we hope).

Yesterday was spent entirely at Ocotal, and involved our first snorkeling adventure. Mid afternoon we decided to head down to give it a try since the tide was coming in and the rock formations off the beach were ideal for fish. That's when the mystery revealed itself. Could we find Lauren's snorkeling mask? We could not. We looked high, low, and everywhere in between. After some time, the consensus was that they were last seen on the table on the balcony the day before. But no-one had been into the apartment and we were on the third floor so how could they have vanished? At this point, I know what you're thinking ... must've been Crester and his gang. So were we - They were the perfect suspects, with familiarity, and a history of thievery and corruption, even if it was in the food arena. While shaking our fists over the balcony at the oh so conveniently absent Crester and friends, Alex spotted a couple of new visitors to the area. Gliding from branch to branch in a powerful yet graceful fashion were a pair of indigenous howler monkeys. They'd have looked mighty tough, if it wasn't for the fact that what they had come to chomp on were some very pretty pink flowers on the trees just outside our balcony. Wait! "just outside our balcony"... the plot thickens - we have some new suspects in the case of the missing snorkel mask. Could Howler boy & Howler girl be responsible for this dastardly crime? They may not have previous convictions, but they do have a greater capacity to perpetrate the deed. To this day (i.e. the next day) the mystery remains unsolved, but rumour has it that just yesterday in the fading afternoon light, a diminutive snorkeler was spotted just offshore, his bare little butt cresting the water every now and then... and although Alex's swimming shorts are a little loose, they stayed on the whole time we were down there, so it wasn't him! Notwithstanding being one snorkel mask short, it was a lot of fun and the kids did great - we even saw some cool stripy fish.

Before signing off I should tell you about the near-death incident (you thought it was Lauren & the scooter right? Wrong!). At 3am last night, Lauren came running into our room screaming something about a scorpion in their room. Just a dream we expected, but guess what - it was true. Not 2 feet from where Lauren was sleeping, was a 3 inch long scorpion just hanging around on the curtain. Mummy was summoned, and with the screaming multiplying, daddy was subsequently roused to do the daddy thing. Not sure if this was a poisonous scorpion or not, but chances were not taken and he was dispatched forthwith over the now infamous balcony. Maybe he met up with the guilty party in the snorkel-mask incident and invoked some sort of retribution on our behalf. At least that's what I was telling myself as I drifted off to sleep.

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Joe S on

Well Derek nothing says Welcome to Costa Rica like having a Scorpion in the bedroom. Wow.
I look forward to following you and the family's safe travel.

Nancy McEvoy on

Wow - Sara! Glad you are all safe and enjoying the local wildlife to the fullest!!! Hope you have a very Merry Christmas!!!


Lorraine & Richard on

Hi to you all. Sounds like the start of an amazing trip. Look forward to following your blog. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from a freezing cold Coleraine!

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