Limon, Costa Rica

Trip Start Dec 24, 2007
Trip End Jan 08, 2007

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Day 6 29th December 2007
Limon, Costa Rica
Another day another country.  We got up early and had breakfast....only to find out that we had docked hour late!  We had also crossed a time zone so gained an extra hour of sleep.  We eventually got off and onto our bus....which was only a week old...great seats and good air-con.  We had a 40 minute drive through what looks like another poor country.  Unlike our previous ports, Limon doesn't carry any remnant of style or grandeur - just looks run down.  Limon is Spanish for lemon which is funny as there are no lemons growing here - despite the great soil and abundance of other fruit due to the great volcanic soil!  Costa Rica is the world's 2nd largest banana producer (Ecuador = 1st) and the world's largest fresh pineapple supplier - ie not canned.  Only 1 bunch of bananas grow on a plant and they can continue producing for 40-50 years - very economical.  Today it's mid 20s and very very humid and muggy - it's also rainy which they say is very unusual just now for the mornings.  It's the "dry" season which means just less rain than the wet season - but it's usually afternoon rain here - the guide said it's due to abnormal soft trade winds.  The trip today is to the world's only sloth sanctuary.  We saw a video introduction, had a photo op, met 4 sloths living in cages, had a canoe ride in torrential rain (they sold out of plastic ponchoes) spotting herons (4 types), cayman & sloths in trees, had lunch, got very close to 5 cute young sloths (one of whom grabbed Calluna), had a small disappointing rain-forest walk (saw ylang ylang, bamboo and typical rainforest trees) and saw 2 very very cute baby sloths being fed.  Ok - random Sloth stuff.....they are very cute; we saw their ears which look very human; there are 2 fingered and 3 fingered types which are different interbreeding;  fingered not toed is the correct term; 2 fingered are omnivores while 3 toed are herbivores; they sleep for 18-20 hours a day; they are solitary animals only getting together to mate; they are clumsy on land but are good swimmers; they can live too about 30 years; they have great self-healing powers; they come down trees one a week to do the toilet; they don't smell; they are not covered in parasites; they have algae in their fur which helps camouflage them - both for looks and smell; only sloths and dolphins have persistent smiles; they live 17 degrees on either side of the equator and only in the americas; they live about 100ft up by choice and are light for their size so can go on smaller branches than their predators; they have virtually no stress; they have 4 stomachs and have a slow metabolism taking a month to digest a meal; they grow used to human individuals by their smell and by the sound of their voice; the main causes of problems are electrocution on new power lines (poles too similar to trees), being run over on roads which pass through their territory (built after territory established) and kids throwing stuff at them because they are easy targets..............unscrupulous touts also take them for tourist pictures.  On the way back the bus stopped at a hotel so we could browse their tat shops, hear some Costa Rican music, use their bar and use their WC....what a wasted half hour.  Back on board we changed out of our wet clothes and went for lunch.  We then left the boat to look at the artisans market on the port - mainly mass produced tat.  No-one wanted to join Stewart on a stroll into town - the other tour guides had warned everyone off from going into town - and he wasn't going alone.  After a wee rest it was quiz time again.  We lost on the tie but could have won if one of the others had made it along.  Next up were some laps in the pool - giving up when it got too rough - almost chucking a young girl out of the pool.  Funnily enough they shut the pool after we got out.  A Jacuzzi, a shower and then dinner - USA themed with not a hamburger in sight.  Overcooked seared tuna (safer?) with a great sweet/sour sauce was the best - the woeful baked american cheesecake was the worst.  The evening flew with cocktails, a terrible comedienne (rough blackpool lass with old jokes - cringing but funny asides towards passers-by), a good few games of flux with Ursula, an ABBA sing-a-long (without providing most of the words - 1 good singer, 1 average) and then back to the bar to see the comedienne's second act!  At 2am we lost that hour that we gained yesterday!
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