There comes a time in Costa Rica when you have had enough of the monkeys. I would like to stay here for as long as it takes to get to that time. I imagine it will be about 30 – 40 years.
To give you a sense of what I mean, here is 2 minutes of monkey time.
This is only two minutes out of about 30 minutes that Andrew and I were sitting in a secluded part of Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio just hanging out with monkeys. These monkeys are the Capuchin. It turns out the monkeys at our AirBnB were Squirrel monkeys (an apt name from the way they frolicked – as opposed to the more laid-back nature of the Capuchin). Getting to the parque was a bit of a puzzle. Andrew had read that there were people dressed up as parking attendants and they are not to be trusted. This turned out to be good advice when we missed the turn off to the entrance of the park. However, once we figured out where the correct entrance was, and Andrew had fleshed out the evil guise of the fake attendants his high-alert stance would not calm down and he tried to get me to run over the park ranger that came up to the truck to help steer us to proper parking. Luckily, despite noticing the park ranger’s flip-flops, I decided to believe his tattered shirt patches and followed his instructions instead of Andrew’s.
From the moment we parked all the way until we passed the entrance gate we were bombarded with people telling us we need to purchase a guide or we would never see any animals. I wasn’t sure if I was to take this as a warning or a threat, but I finally put my foot down and said, “No” (which loosely translates to “No” in English).
Once in the park my neck immediately started craning up to the tree tops in order to put my newly minted sloth-eyes to good use. They weren’t working so well. So instead I kept my eyes level in front of me and watched where all the guided tourists were pointing. A few sloths deep we passed all the crowds and went off on the trail without them. This parque, like the one in Cahuita, is beachside jungle. In fact, a lot of people just go into the parque in order to hang out at the beach. We got to the first beach area and there was a woman sitting alone at a picnic table. When we neared her she asked Andrew, in Spanish, if he would take her picture. He kindly obliged.
Then she asked Andrew if she could join us on our walk.
Andrew was so startled at this request that he accidentally said, “Si” (which loosely translates to, “are you fucking kidding us?” in English).
Then she said something to me in Spanish, I think it was, “can I wear your skin?”
To which I responded, “No comprendo Español” (which loosely translates to, “I think you want to drag us into the jungle to knife us to death you crazy weird lady, but we are on to you and are going to ditch you as soon as we can – also, I will cut a bitch.” in English).
A little ways off the beach and into the jungle the path looped. Crazy Lady was ahead of us – we hung back to take pictures and hopefully lose her to a jaguar attack – we took the other end of the loop when she wasn’t looking. As Robert Frost said, “And that has made all the difference.” Not five minutes later as we quietly enjoyed the jungle sounds around us (here, you enjoy them too), we saw and heard some scuffling nearby. And that’s when we saw the monkeys, hanging out. We just stayed there snapping photos and quietly enjoying them.
We finally broke away when Crazy Lady made it to the spot having gone around the loop. She was so loud and talky that she didn’t even notice the monkeys were there until they started running away from her voice. As soon as she saw them she stopped talking to us to take a picture on her iPhone and we quickly darted along the path out of her reach.
We found a rock to lay upon at the top of a cliff overlooking the ocean. We ate a snack and just relaxed (and gave CL plenty of time to get back to the parque entrance or find another unsuspecting couple to highjack).
The walk back to the entrance was longer than the one in, due in most part to the heat which was suddenly incredibly unbearable. But, we got out of the park with some more stolen glances at animals found by guides. As I hopped in the driver’s seat, I quickly used Andrew’s phone to look up how to lose a tail (just in case) and hurried back to our room to nap.
After napping, Andrew and I went into the pool. The woman from the room next to us (Canadian) joined us and started chatting our ear off about everything from Twitter to working remotely to the pros and cons of child rearing. She is a writer for 4 year old children’s theater or TV or something and was on vacation but for having to work for a little bit because of an emergency having to do with renaming her main character. Apparently, Pickle Pirate has a not-appropriate-for-four-year-olds alternate meaning.
Andrew and I then took her suggestion to go to the marina (which we could see from the pool on the hill of the AirBnB we were staying at!!!) for dinner.
We walked down there and they served me the most disgusting meal I have had in Costa Rica yet. I ordered the mahi mahi. It was the Catch of the Day – it did not occur to me to ask which day. When asked how I would like it prepared I said, “however the chef would like to prepare it.” Apparently the chef wanted to prepare it overcooked and rancid.
Despite having seen fish more rare when cooked by StarKist, I took a bite. The fish tasted like meat that had been left in the sun because even the vultures knew better. I spat it into my napkin, put my napkin on the plate and went back to my ginger martini. They came to collect my plate and asked if I didn’t like the fish. I explained that it was overcooked, but that didn’t matter because it was rancid. They asked if I would like something else, but having tasted Andrew’s coconut curry chicken I opted for a liquid diet.
About ten minutes later the manager came up to the table. “We tasted your fish. It was awful. I am sorry. Can I get you something else?” I appreciated the apology, but at this point I was really done. Also, so was Andrew. We climbed back up the hill to our room, I changed back into swimming gear and had a lovely evening of dancing to 80’s music in the pool while drinking white wine and chatting with Berkowitz.
I went to bed at 9:30. I awoke again about a half hour later to the sound of hurricane force rains, turned over and went back to sleep.
Something about the weather, or the full days, or the hanging out in the sun, or the bottles of alcohol I have been drinking have been making me really sleepy. Yet every day I wake up to the chirping of birds at 5:45AM. It’s kind of delightful.
Today we came back to San José.
During our trip in Costa Rica I have fallen in love. The coffee here is so amazing. It’s smooth and earthy without being overly bitter or harsh on my stomach – and, apparently it has no affect on my sleep. On our way back to San José we stopped at a coffee roasting tour and learned all about how coffee is grown and picked and roasted. The company is called Britt. They have three regular blend roasts, three unblended roasts, and decaf as well as fair trade and organic. I am not a fan of fair trade (which I won’t go into here, now) but the fair trade they do is a women’s co-operative (which annoyingly, they do not call out on their web page, so I cannot give you more information about it).
We arrived just as a tour was starting but decided to wait for the next tour. It ended up being just me and Andrew. Instead of an hour and a half it took an hour and fifteen minutes, and that included a bathroom break in the middle. The tour guide was adorable and seemed only slightly off her game by not having a large group and having only one person in the group who actually likes coffee (hint: not Andrew). However, when it came time to the coffee tasting Andrew actually tasted the coffee – several times.
I believe he will now be awake until 2 AM.
After the tour we got lost only twice heading into our new accommodations. The landlord here is delightful. He has another tenant who is from Portland. She is ANNOYING.
Tomorrow we will tour the city and Saturday we will head home where, according to Facebook, the weather is rainy and everyone is sick.
Sunday we will start planning our next trip.
Andrew is blogging this trip too. He is at andrewberkowitz.com/blog. His blog will be up as soon as the jitters wear off.