Costa Rica :: Part 11

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

Part 11

On this particular night, the festivities included an introduction to the optional excursions — including zip-lining — which as Ciro quite officially pointed out, were not recommended by the tour company. But when pulled aside privately, off the record, he said that while his company couldn’t make recommendations, the local zip-line facility was very good, and much safer than some of those we might encounter at other locations we would stop in the days ahead. They also described the wildlife tours by boat that would be included, and the optional night trek to try to find nesting sea turtles. Somehow I could not envision myself traipsing through the wild darkness — without even benefit of flashlight, at times, as the light can disturb the turtles. It seemed almost certain that I would come across something that would make me want to scream, and surely my screaming would disturb any nesting turtles we might find.

All the while the excursions were described, I found myself distracted to watch the geckos climbing along the ceiling. How many at a time? Six, no, there’s seven. Oh wait, another… then I would turn back to the discussion, reminding myself that they wouldn’t, surely they couldn’t, and of course no they didn’t, fall on me, and then after a while I would count again. I was sitting near a young couple, and noticed that they would do the same thing periodically. The resort owner’s large black dogs laid on the tiled floor and panted in the heat behind me. A praying mantis bigger than my hand took in the night’s events from a branch beside my chair.

And then after the presentation and much laughter and music and drinks (for me, just one margarita; a bit of tequila to ease the tension of the thought of what might be waiting in the night), I gathered myself up to find my way back to my cabin.

The lights along the path were dim; with my flashlight I could see more clearly along the edges of the path the tiny salamanders that would scurry away into the night upon my approach. Softly I repeated to myself some desperate consolation: It’s OK; look, they’re so little and kind of cute. It’s OK; look, they’re more scared of me. It’s OK; they have legs. It’s OK… I remembered to keep an eye out for the spider web, and gave it a wide berth. I switched on every light in my cabin when I got there, locked myself in, and checked the bed for creepy-crawlies.

I pulled the flimsy curtains and changed for bed. I carefully placed my shoes up on a table rather than down on the floor. In the distance, over the sounds of the jungle, I could hear other members of the tour — some partying, some making their own way to their cabins. The air as always was warm and sticky. The soft swoosh of the fan overhead brought some comfort and relief. I remembered the deadly mosquitoes, and pulled the sheets up over my head.

Copyright © 2010

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~ by lorakceel on May 8, 2010.

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