20 February 2016

Anybody Interested In Grabbing A Couple Of Burgers And Hittin' The Cemetery?

Today is this man's birthday. True. 

For years I'd revel in Rusty's birthday. We were born in the same year and even attended the same high school. In years past I'd delight in those few days between our birthdays when Rusty was older than I. This year I announced: Dear God, we're both old . . . let's just spend the day digging a couple of graves and wait. So, no party; and we even cancelled Operation: Dinner Out . . . though we did luncheon on the beach, and I did make Rusty's favorite, coconut cream pie.

Anyway, I thought that I'd take this opportunity to share a few more photos of Rob's visit (my photos, this time), and to make fun of my darling husband . . . and men, generally . . . since we're both old and have so little time remaining.

I know a little about horses. That's a complete lie. I know a great deal about horses and I can say, with authority, that Rusty hates horses. I conceded that hate might be too strong regarding Rusty's feelings about hummus or dolmas, but not horses. Rusty hates horses, and the feeling is mutual. He says, they bite. Well, as Rusty and I both say (often): any animal with teeth can bite. Rusty, a horse does not want to bite you. She/he has no interest in biting you. Period. 

So we were at the Buena Vista Lodge, which is arguably the single place in all of Costa Rica where one can enjoy the total Costa Rica experience. We've visited a number of times; and with Jenny having only one week in Costa Rica, Buena Vista was a must. Zip-lining, wet- (if not rain-) forest, possibly the longest raft/tubing experience in Costa Rica, horseys, volcanic mud, volcanic springs of differing temperatures, myriad plants (like this fiddle-head fern) and animals . . . the whole shebang.

One problem (for Rusty) -- after the tubing down the icy cold river, one rides a horse to the volcanic mud/springs. Rusty's horse spied Rusty from a distance of 100 meters and immediately threw back his ears. No joke. How the horse knew that Rusty would be riding her is a mystery. I declare, I could have mounted the same horse and ended the ride (as I did with Paco) by repeatedly kissing its nose and whispering in its ears. Rusty believes that horses are dumb. Obviously we have some disagreement here. But I will acknowledge this: for the man who doesn't want to be anywhere near a horse, much less atop the horse, Rusty's horse did everything within its power to annoy Rusty; and good for her. Rusty, embrace the horse; be one with the horse; love the horse.

Speaking of disagreement, on the eve of his birthday, I thought that Rusty exhibited the appearance of this puzzled, if not forlorn howler. Rusty disagreed, though he did acknowledge some degree of melancholy due to the upcoming birthday. I didn't have to go far (nowhere, actually) to get this shot of a howler. This gentleman is a frequent visitor to our chicle trees. These guys! Not to mention my man . . . always demonstrating some level of testosterone. The man who is afraid of horses has no problem challenging Costa Rica drivers (who are still learning to drive), scaling palm trees, juggling power tools, wielding multiple machetes down our mountain to tackle an ever-encroaching jungle, and working with high voltage. But will he come within a meter of the back or front end of a horse (both of which he calls the business end) ? Nay, at least not willingly, which is a shame because we could ride horses on the beach every day here in Samara.

Men! Here's yet another example . . . this one including Rob. How many men does it take to drop a cluster of coconuts growing atop a 20 foot tree? Perhaps the better questions is why would any man spend more than two minutes trying to toss stones, previously-fallen coconuts, sticks, etc. in an effort to fell coconuts when coconuts are already everywhere in this land. Hey guys, those coconuts that you're tossing up fell down for a reason -- they're ripe and ready to eat. But no . . . it's the testosterone challenge. Was a machete really needed?

True, the photo of Rusty and Rob demonstrates a keen insight into the workings of a man's brain. See those gears turning? They say Hey, we're men and we will triumph. But more importantly this photos shows the lovely beach that they are missing. I wallowed in the shallows of this sugar-sand beach . . . and I've got the testimony of our housekeeper to prove it . . . Janet having cleaned cups-full of black sand from our shower floors.

Let's back-track a bit to our Rio Celeste trip. No, that water color isn't from an amusement park additive. Here's how it works. Take two rivers, perfectly clear and not amusement-park-blue. Each river contains different minerals. Add the different mineral content from each river as the two rivers meet and this celestial blue color is the result. Cool, huh? The hike simply to arrive at the waterfall isn't exactly an easy strolll down the lane. And just when one arrives at the waterfall, one faces a fairly slippery (waterfall and mist!) walk down about 250 steps to the level of the pool. I got half-way and decided that I really didn't need to risk a fall to capture the waterfall image. They guys however . . . .

Here's an image of one of the clear rivers as it meets the neighboring river and turns that brilliant blue. I didn't actually see this (Rusty's photo). To get to the meeting of the rivers, bubbling pools of blueness, and some other sites (I really didn't care after reading the sign) one must walk another 7500 meters. Uphill, both ways. Rusty returned stating that I'd have never made it in that there are no stairs, merely slippery, moss-covered roots for footholds. Anyway, had I tackled the trek I'd have missed the sloth.

Here's my photo of the sloth. If you look closely, lean your head 30-degrees to the left, stand on one foot, and dance around under a full moon you might see the eye of the sloth. His fur is more clearly visible. Rusty missed the sloth. He was too busy scampering up and down a muddy volcano demonstrating that he still possesses the strength and endurance of a 30-year-old (Rob).

So what else do men do when they get together? Tossing back a few beers goes without saying, right? And . . . ? Let's move on to the bird lure.

Oh yes they did . . . and I helped. What is the number one rule about all wildlife? Leave nothing but footprints (or bubbles, if underwater); take nothing but photos. So the idea of intentionally creating a man-made lure solely for a photo op is unconscionable. And yet we did it. Now before you phone PETA let's recall that Rob was here for only a few weeks, we'd seen voluntary toucan visitors in our papaya tree (they destroyed it), and Rob had hopes that we might lure more toucans for a better photo op. So we created a dish of fresh fruit that included papaya and placed it on a stump on the edge of the pool. But wait, it gets worse. I strung over a meter of fresh fruit on a length of kitchen twine, which the men wove into the branches of our nearest papaya using three-meter sticks to delicately position the string during a period of about 30 minutes. And folks say that I'm obsessive.

Where Rob gets his insight into bird behavior and their language skills is a mystery; but believe me when I tell you that Rusty was right there with him positioning the stump, hanging the strung fruit like garland on a Christmas tree, and even placing a two meter wooden perch along the pool's edge. What? Like a toucan was going to read Rob's hand-made Samples sign, spread the word, and bring its friends to sit on the wooden perch along the pool? Really, Rob and Rusty? Like that big blue watering hole wasn't a red flag to toucans and parrots, who have never expressed any interest in bathing, drinking. lounging, or sipping cocktails near our swimming pool.


True, I can see why Rob wanted closer photos of the toucans. Prior to their destruction of the papaya tree, they were deep in shadow and rather difficult to photograph. Still . . . men. I suppose that it's nature's way. This was a one-time Samples offer that will never be repeated. I wanted to add those words to the sign, but Rob and Rusty felt it unnecessary. I simply want to clarify that we are not in the habit of luring wildlife to our home. In fact, we take multiple precautions against lures.

We went to some extraordinary lengths to photograph the other animals, including the five-at-one-time chicle-fruit-eating pizotes (known more commonly in North America as the coati mundi). Rob scaled down the cliff-side on his first day here, camera in hand . . . only to be tossed the mountain-rescue kit by Rusty. Rob and Rusty spent hours climbing our mountains in search of citrus and photo ops. If there is a bug or a plant on our mountain whose photo was missed, I'd be most surprised. Again, men. But it is what it is . . . and happy birthday, honey-pie. Let's aim for a few more before we really hit the cemetery.  Lo que hay.