Costa Rica :: Part 10

This story is being told as a series. Here’s a link to Part 1

Part 10

There were a few things we had been told to expect, and things we had not been told. That Tortuguero means “place of the turtles” — but not that there would also be geckos, salamanders, gigantic spiders, insects of infinite variety. (“You came to the jungle, what did you expect?”) That the resort was remote, accessible only by water — but not that the resort was really a series of small metal-roofed cabins cut into the jungle, connected only by narrow, raised wood-plank pathways. That the water was not potable and we should refill our drinking water only from the dispensers in the public areas — but not that we would not be able to flush even paper in the toilets. That we might hear howler monkeys, which can be heard for miles away — but not that they would be directly overhead, on our roofs.

I was certainly getting the full Costa Rican experience — but the intense rusticity of living in a jungle was a shock to put it mildly, and once again I wondered what had convinced me to come here, when I am so completely an indoor girl.

I was assigned my cabin — the last one in a row, backing up to jungle on the other side. An enormous spider web had been built off to the left of the pathway, between my cabin and the next one, and I made a mental note to be cautious lest its owner decide to expand it further — I would hate to walk blindly into that web at night.

But my nerves were still pricked from the afternoon’s adventures, and it was “snake” that was foremost on my mind. I walked gingerly down the path to my cabin, up the wooden step, and onto a small patio. Two rocking chairs sat on the porch: I tried and failed to imagine myself willingly sitting out there. The wooden door felt flimsy as I fit the metal key into the lock.

I was mindful still of the potentially deadly mosquitoes, and therefore didn’t want to leave the cabin door open for any longer than necessary. Though I planned to rush in and close the door behind me quickly, as I pushed the door abruptly open, there was a distinct scuttling sound on the far side of the room, startling me. Alert for danger, I leaned with my back to the door — my hand still on the doorhandle in case I needed to flee, my eyes darting anxiously around the room.

I couldn’t see anything, but I knew I had heard movement.

There wasn’t much to the room, really. There were two beds: one double, one twin; a ceiling fan centered between them overhead. A small table was beside the door, on which rested a checklist of items in the room. The list had bird droppings on it, evidence that as some point there was one in here; was that what I’d heard? A small single chair pushed up to the table. I stepped gingerly into the room, still uncertain. As I did, I saw movement from the corner of my eyes, and realized that the walls were almost entirely screens. Whatever I had seen move had been outside; I hoped whatever I had heard on arrival had been outside as well. Through the dense foliage I could just make out the next cabin over, but could clearly hear the comforting sounds of my nearest neighbors settling in.

I felt a million miles from anything familiar, but help was not that far away, if need be. I set my small bag squarely in the middle of the larger bed: up off the floor and away from the walls. Just to be doubly sure, I checked under the beds, just to make sure there were no unwelcome visitors.

The rest of the cabin consisted solely of the bathroom. I crept cautiously in, not knowing what I might find. I peered carefully around to the light switch before reaching for it, and quickly inspected the room. Simple, basic. The shower curtain was a riot of bright blue and green stripes, too long for the shower stall it hid. I pulled it back with one sharp flick of my arm, even as I jumped backwards, expecting… something undesirable. There was nothing there, just the shower walls, the spigots, a drain. All in all, the bathroom was rustic but functional; safe enough.

Thus reassured, I grabbed my can of insect repellent, stepped out onto the porch to apply another coat, then locked up to explore the area, take some pictures, and join my new friends for the evening’s dinner — which as always included some variation on rice and beans — and entertainment.

Copyright © 2010

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~ by lorakceel on May 7, 2010.

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