BOB CORBETT'S TRAVEL JOURNAL -- 2005

Costa Rica 32 -- October 31, 2005
Local Halloween and iguana

By Bob Corbett

Folks,

I had a very unusual restless night of relatively little sleep but lots of tossing and turning. Even had to get up and turn my fan off, it was quite cool. No rain for 36 hours or more. Very unusual.

So, I was up early today and headed off to walk. Got the first bus, the one that is standing room in the aisles of all the workers headed to work. I did my standard walk down the mountain, but didnít see a single mammal. However it was a good day for birds. There are three -- I have no names for them -- which are all very beautiful, and the beauty in each case is the dominant brilliant yellow. The first is large, about the size of a robin at least. It has a yellow belly, and then two yellow stripes from the neck, alongside the beak and up to the head. These are the singly most common bird around. The next is only the size of a sparrow, and itís all yellow and flies so incredibly fast. The third is tiny. The only birds at home this small are hummingbirds, but this is DEFINITELY not a hummingbird. In the Monteverde Forest last week one landed on a banana leaf just inches from me. It was so tiny, but had a normal bird beak. The hummingbirds, and there are so many different kinds here, have longer beaks. This tiny one also has some bright red on its head. Lovely birds.

The cold black and shiny hummingbirds are the size of large sparrows at home. I had no idea they every got that big. When they hover over water they make a huge racket with their wings.

When I got to the beach the tide was the farthest out than Iíve yet seen it, so I could walk farther on the beach and walked a long way, actually my morning walk today ended up being a full 7 miles. So incredibly lovely. It was overcast the whole time, but no rain, not a drop. I did have my rain coat with me.

Two people were walking on MY BEACH. Some people just have no consideration. A man and woman, Americans, who greeted me in English. I was behind them on the way up the beach, the woman walking barefoot and the man in tennis shoes, were leaving fairly deep prints in the sand. I was in my tennis shoes and not wanting to get them wet, and since I was walking right where these prints were in the sand, I figured I was sinking in too. I check my prints. Absolutely NOTHING. NOTHING AT ALL. I though, wait a minute, this canít be. Iím just 1 to 2 minutes behind them, and the water isnít coming up here now, at all. How can they leave these deep prints and me none? I picked up speed and passed them, greeting them and they me. I went to the end of where I could go and turned. The man was still coming, but the woman had turned back. I passed the man and we again greeted and I headed back.

Again I was in her barefoot print path going my direction and still BOTH their prints from when they came. But none for me. I turned and checked again. Absolutely not a discernible mark.

Then I realized, I must really walk lightly. I got thinking about that. I suspect it must be from all the soccer I played. Seriously. As a forward I learned by the aged of 3-4 as my dad and I played in the back yard by the hour up on Childress Ave. when we lived there. He would dribble and I would chase. Then I would dribble, or at least HAVE the ball and he would chase.

I learned to be very nimble on my feet, light, ready to feint, move, twist, turn on a dime and such, and one had to be very lightly set to do that. Since I played soccer until I was 44 I guess I must have picked up a very light mode of walking.

Then again, perhaps it is just something natural. I have no idea. Perhaps I donít really exist and just think I do. Hmmmm, tomorrow Iíll have to see if I can make a hand-print on the beach!!!

When I got back in toward Manuel Antonio I decided to walkup up along the row of coconut palms. Yesterday I met an American man who lives here and he comes to walk the beach every day as I do, but he stays for hours. He carries a sturdy hammock in his backpack, picks out two trees, ties the hammock up and reads for hours. I was very excited by this idea. He showed me the hammock and the way to tie it and so on. But then he and one of the forest guides both warned me to be very careful where you put a hammock because falling coconuts can really hurt you, even kill you. They said generally GREEN coconuts are safe, but donít put the hammock under brown one.

So, I wanted to check out the coconut trees. I was walking along, and all along have seen a number of iguana along by the beach, but always on the ground. Lots of the coconuts trees lean out toward the sea, many are even bent more, with sort of a right angle, they go STRAIGHT out toward the sea, many ten foot, then the trees have turned UP TOWARD THE SUN. So it is an L shape, if the L were on its side.

On one tree when I came to, the long part parallel with the ground was about 6 foot long and on it was a huge iguana. It was just level with my eyes and I about jumped out of my skin. It never moved but those eyes never left me either. I donít think they are at all harmful, but --

  1. I donít know that.
  2. They are just so pre-historic looking and so scary

I quickly decided I could easily study the coconut trees from ten foot down on the beach. The sand was harder there anyway.

After a shave, shower, change of clothes and all, I repaired to the coffee shop, but not to read this morning, but to write postcards. I had 16 to write. One to my Aunt and Uncle, 14 to my grandkids and one to a sort of adopted grandchild, a boy one of my sons takes care of a lot, and we just call him informally the 15th grandchild.

I will finish those tomorrow and get them in the mail soon.

Today is Halloween and here it is celebrated, but not by the KIDS but by the adults. Every bar in town is advertising costume contests and other such things. Iím hoping that given my poor sleep of last night, I will be sound asleep by about 7 PM. Halloween for drunken adults I can joyously live without.

Bob Corbett

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