Monkey Shines

The pain of the 6AM wake up call was non-existent once I realized that my alarm was monkeys jumping on the metal part of our roof. In fact, if I could have cute animals pouncing on my roof every morning at 6AM I would never be late to work. Not that I am late to work now, but I would definitely get out of bed to watch animals frolic.

Yesterday morning’s early rise was at about the same time as our alarm was going to go off anyway as we had scheduled an early morning tour at a vanilla farm. On the tour with us were three expats from Canada. There was another couple as well – also from Canada. I have met more Canadians on this trip than when I lived in Niagara Falls. Also, I think all we need is to meet someone from The Yukon Territories and we’ll have a full set. Finally, along for the tour was a woman with her very old mom – with whom I hit it off immediately by cracking an Alzheimer’s joke at her. I’m not very good at people.

Villa Vanilla is a biodynamic, biodiverse farm. They grow various plants in order to let nature kind of do it’s thing. They don’t use any pesticides; instead, they have plants that distract the animals from eating the crops they want to maintain. So, to prevent the squirrels (ardilla) from eating the vanilla, cacao, and ceylon cinnamon they distract them with pineapple, birds of paradise and pizzas.

photo 2

This is not quite what I imagined a pineapple plant would look like, but it did distract me.

The other interesting thing about the vanilla is the flower has both male and female parts in itself, but it doesn’t much like having sex. The people on the farm have a two hour window of opportunity, when the flowers on the plant open, to go and provide … ahem … manual stimulation … er … with a stick. But, in the end it is worth it. I left the farm with two sticks of vanilla that are as thick as my finger and as long as my ulna. When we got back to our apartment I made pork shoulder with vanilla, ginger, onions and wine. It was delicious.

As the pork cooked, Andrew and I swung in a hammock and watched the sun set.


I win at hammocks.

Then, because I am still on Pacific Time, I went to bed at 9:30PM CT (that’s how time zones work, right?). I don’t know if it was the walk, or the sun, or the half bottle of wine, but I was zonked.

I awoke at 6 again this morning in preparation for today’s trip. It was a mildly disappointing wake-up as no monkeys were hurling themselves into our building. We ate a light breakfast al fresco and waited for the truck to pick us up at 7:15. By 7:30 Andrew had to call the event place and give them the correct name of our AirBnB (Casa Pargo) as opposed to the name of our bungalow, because apparently The Jungle Villa is an actual hotel in Quepos.

We were on the road with 8 other tourists. Andrew asked the couple in front of us where in Canada they were from.

Couple: Boston.

Andrew: Oh there’s a Boston in Canada? What Provence?

The guy looked at Andrew like he’d just grown a third eye.

Andrew: Oh. You mean Boston, Boston! Sorry. We’ve met a lot of Canadians. We just assume.

Another couple claimed to be from Texas but then kept mentioning all the things that are similar to Costa Rica in Arkansas. I hadn’t realized Texas was an upgrade…

There was a French couple. She weighed about 80 pounds and he wore gingham patterned Daisy Duke’s. They constantly had their camera out and were kind of nerdy and awkward with each other. So, I immediately assumed they were on an elaborate first date a la The Bachelor.

The final couple was our Canadians. Unfortunately, not the Yukon Territories, however.

Our tour that day was zip lining. It was awesome. One of the lines was a mile long. I want to zip line everywhere. I wonder if I can set a zip line course up from my house to work. If I had that, I would never be late to work.

We got back to our place and passed out for a nap.

When we awoke, I reminded Andrew that we live on a very steep hill that it would be super hard to run up. So we got dressed and did a WOD. The hill is maybe a quarter mile long, but it is 180 ft elevation, within that quarter mile. and most of it is at the end. We raced down the hill and back up. Then we took a breath and revisited the WOD I did in Cahuita (this time Andrew joined me). Then we cooled off in the sun-warmed pool. At this point I was thinking the day couldn’t get better, as we watched the sun slowly drift closer to the horizon.

Then all of a sudden the monkeys descended. They played games all around us.  If I had monkeys dancing around me all day, I would never be late to work. They talked to us. They chased each other around the pool. Three of them kept coming up to the pool and drinking from it, while Andrew and I were inside it!!!!! We were like the olives in their pool-martini. This party lasted for what seemed like an hour. Both Andrew and me are still smiling from the encounter.

I don’t know how to describe the feeling of being that close to a monkey. The only thing that comes to mind is, SQUEEEEEEEE!

See Andrew’s version of our travels at It’s a she said/he said.


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