BOB CORBETT'S TRAVEL JOURNAL -- 2005

Costa Rica 26 -- October 25, 2005
Curious coati on a cold and windy day

By Bob Corbett

Hi Folks,

Not too much to report today, save that it is quite cold and the first day of my trip when it is very windy. Youíve heard that it rains sometime nearly every day. However, the rain always falls fairly straight down with almost no wind, thus people carry umbrellas all the time. Today an umbrella wouldnít last 15 seconds. It would either be turned inside our or ripped right out of your hand.

Today I did a sort of crazy thing. I took the 6:15 AM bus to the Monteverde Reserva, but I didnít go into the park. When I left home it wasnít yet raining nor windy, and I was hoping to walk the park again before the typical afternoon rain.

However, by the time the bus got to the park it was raining hard and blowing. I waited until 7 AM when the gift shop / coffee shop opened and had a cup of coffee, and then I decided rather than spend $13.00 to go into the park and walk in the (then) driving rain, I would just wait a bit to see if the rain would let up and then walk home. It is just over 5 miles back to St. Elena from the park, just about what I like to walk.

This meant walking the very muddy, rocky roads, but the first 1.5 miles wasnít any trouble since it is the road from the main road into the park and there was very little traffic. In that whole portion of the walk I only was passed by one car and two motorcycles.

But I had some company. A coati, a white-nosed coati. This is an animal that the naturalist here tell me is closely related to the raccoon family. Yet it looks a lot like a cat, except it has a very curved tail, and an angular face more like a dog. With, as the name suggests, a white nose, otherwise black.

They donít seem frightened much by people and one was crossing the road and saw me. It stopped, retreated, but not running, just walked back to the edge of the forest and watched. I came abreast it and stopped, talking softly to it. Yea, yea, I know, Iím a nut case. But, when I walked on very slowly, so did the coati. It must have followed me 15-20 steps I guess, then it got bored with me and just turned into the forest.

When I got to the main road I had to be very careful. There were more cars, but in the nearly 2 hours it took me to get home (5 miles would normally take me just over an hour -- but this was some very steep hills, mini-mountains and lots and lots of mud) I was still only passed by about 2 dozens cars at most. The roads, however, are full of deep pot holes and they have this muddy light tan water in them. The cars, especially if they are going up hill, try to go fast so they wonít get stuck in the mud, and they splash the water in the pot holes. As soon as Iíd see a car Iíd look for a way to get as far from any pot hole as I could, and I think I managed not to get splashed at all.

Just a bit ago I went to my favorite restaurant and had a lovely meal of sea bass with beans and rice and salad, with a blackberry and milk fruit drink that was marvelous. My entire bill was 2700 colones, about $5.50 with a nice tip included!!!!

Now, on this really cold day, Iím about to take a nap.

I told my host Juan that Iím leaving on Friday. Iíve decided not to go to Nicaragua, at least not now. My son, Brian, will be coming here on Nov. 7th, and on the 9th we will celebrate his 30th birthday. He and his friend will have a rental car and we may go to Nicaragua then. But I decided to go back to Quepos - Manuel Antonio. There I couldnít wait to get here because it was so utterly HOT there. Now Iím freezing (in the house I have on a long-sleeve tee-shirt, a heavy sweater and am wearing my rain coat. Itís cold!)

Also, I want to see what itís like there. They had heavy flooding in Quepos last week caused by Hurricane Wilma, and this is a PACIFIC COAST town. But the storm was very large and drew water from the Pacific and caused huge rain storms and high tides. The area was on the news all the time with on-the-scene reporters talking of the floods. The roads were closed and two bridges out, but Juan says the roads are again open, at least to Quepos, but not beyond. Just a bit south of Quepos is a place called Dominical where I had also though about going, but the roads to Dominical are not yet opened.

Lazy day and thatís about it. I finished my book called PRAGUE, (which, ironically is set 100% in Budapest) and now Iím reading a book set in an unnamed Central American country, not Costa Rica (the main character spoke of people escaping the country and running to Costa Rica). Iím guessing it is modeled after Nicaragua in the 1970s or 80s, but not sure. It a great book for a day like this and Iíll just read and nap, but both under the covers with my clothes on for warmth. Several places in the house are windows with ONLY screens -- permanently -- and there is one, at least, in every room including my room. Brrrrrr.

Bob

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