South America 2011-2012: Montezuma, Costa Rica


27 Feb, flying from Santiago to San Jose
An early start at 4:45 a.m. to fly to Bogota, where a layover of several hours eventually sees me taking to flight again and landing in San Jose, Costa Rica ... SJ's rush hour puts things at practically a halt when leaving the airport, but 20km later - and a bus and a taxi and a hour of my time - sees me situated in my hostel. En route I notice right away that English is pervasive to an extent like nowhere else in Latin America, plus every conceivable food chain in the U.S. is apparently represented in Costa Rica. This expansion of food choices (in spite or because of the presence of the chains, but definitely on account of tourism) is evident at the hostel as well, where I have a curry and a chat with a cute French girl about Kerouac, Kesey, and the rest of the counterculture vein such as I am familiar with it. Of course she has a boyfriend due in momentarily on a plane ... Steadily continuing to plug away at a couple of chapters a day on Magister Ludi.

28 Feb, busing and ferrying from San Jose to Montezuma
A taxi to one of the half dozen long distance bus stations in SJ, and then a bus, takes me to Puntarenas ... CR buses are quite a drop down from Chile and Argentina, now running from beaters to ancient U.S. school buses for the most part ... An hour-and-a-half of busing drops me off in Puntarenas, where a local gives me a short lift to the ferry while not forgetting to leave his number to drum up future business ... Tourism is king in CR, no two ways about it, and it seems a fair number of locals speak a fair amount of good English ... The ferry to the Nicoya Peninsula, at Paquera, is all of an uneventful hour. The trip is most notable for the seagulls that trail the boat - and the fact that a macro beer (an Imperial at 1300 colones) costs more than the ferry (810 colones) ... I'm already beginning to hate the annoying surfer crowd, no surprise, as they get somewhat worse on the two buses needed after the ferry to put me in Montezuma. It could also be the heat and the crowded conditions speaking. Nah. The weirdest thing is that one would think that surfers should be humble, the tiny specks they are against the immense might of the ocean. Instead methinks that theythinks themselves conquerors ... Arriving in Montezuma, I run around to find a place, eventually succeeding when I bargain for my own room with a fan. Enough of hostels for now. Will this turn into a place to stay and get some writing and trumpet work done? Dunno ... Will eat well at least - M's restaurants have surprisingly good offerings, plus the grocery store is much better and varied for its size than what I was seeing in Argentina and Chile ... Quickly realizing that the local bus transport is generally avoided by many tourists in favor of much more expensive shuttle services. This is something which wasn't the case in Chile and Argentina, but it definitely is here in U.S.-dominated CR.

29 Feb, Montezuma
A fan might not cut it here, I realize, right about when my yoga unwittingly turns into a Bikram session and the sweat flows all too freely ... Over a desayuno of gallo pinto, impressive beggar birds show up to breakfast as well. I also find that an "Americano" is REALLY American here, and probably only in CR: It's a freaking drip coffee, and I accidently order that mixed with shots of espresso in my failed attempt to get espresso with more water ... CR seems more expensive so far than Chile or Argentina for food, but this place is also a tourist hotspot that knows how to commercialize what was formerly hippie/alternative. Number of people playing hackysack in M's environs: zero. Have the hippies moved on from that and frisbee? Does anyone under 35 NOT have a goddam tattoo? There should be a computer program that shows the aging of a tattoo on a person much like those ones that age a face ... I'm already hunting around for another place as I swelter in my porous room, one where wasps can enter at will and everyone gets a free show of me if I turn the light on thanks to the shutters nailed to the open position and a screen poorly both poorly positioned and with holes. A short hunt lands me a new spot at double the price but quadruple the gain in amenities, from hammocks to a fridge to A/C to a kitchen to a private bathroom: sold! ... Playing trumpet in the park is a balm under the banyan trees, blatting away quietly as some locals construct a new bench. They say they like my sound after I first play some tunes for a few kids who stop to ask questions. I also meet the "law", the lone bored cop in town on his dirtbike motorcycle. He's fortunately pro-horn, so I might as well start my life of crime here among the beach thieves. In the interim I promise to play some more in the park in the days to come ... I learn two songs, George's Dilemma (found on Clifford Brown's Study In Brown) and Mobil'homme (found on Paris Combo's Living Room), and write them mostly down ... Plunk down the $$ for the one tourist thing I decide to do here, a snorkel in a couple days at Tortuga Island ... In the late afternoon - sundown is much earlier now in the southern latitudes of the northern hemisphere! - I also decide on an ill-advised-if-postcard-beautiful late walk along the palm trees, rock tidepools, and beachfronts to the BIG beach called (naturally) Playa Grande. There I talk to a turtle nursery volunteer as the sun goes away and I have to find my way back in the dark. I'm frankly lucky I don't break my neck as some howler monkeys loudly grunt at my nocturnal intrusion. I meanwhile put some plastic trash in a better place while considering what the proper sign should read to encourage others to do so as well ... The area is currently experiencing a red tide, a brute which is leaving a handful of impressive and rather dead fish to stare at on the beach. The ocean water is otherwise warm, but luckily still shy of bathtub warm.

1 Mar, Montezuma
Up at the butt crack of dawn, so I decide to walk to the end of Playa Grande again now in the dawn light. The dead fish from yesterday eve's red tide are gone, but I also notice a few well-fed vultures walking about the beach ... I revisit the same breakfast restaurant with hopes of a second encounter with the pretty garbage birds, but of course I suffer no such luck - until I see one pecking at the glass and mirrors of a parked car between there and my dive-tel. Should its actions make me question Darwinism? ... I do the great room switcheroo from Tucan to Hotel Aurora, kicking on the A/C to low and immediately passing out with an overdue sigh that has awaited me since the halcyon days ofMendoza. ... I've gotten the hang of the colones-dollar racket, such as it is. It seems that everywhere in tourism-land one can pay at $1=500c, but the dollar actually trades at ~480c these days. So it pays to pay in U.S. dollars. On the other hand, no one really seems to care a whole hell of a lot - perhaps because the prices are probably inflated a la U.S. tourism in the first place. CR enjoys a pride of place in that regard which is a double-edged sword ... still trying to figure out which is worse, all-too-cool surfers or turbo travelers smugly living in the moments that, by necessity, must come one after another - and NOW! This is definitely the land where the loud American reputation is well earned, a contrast and change I expected in going from South America to the traditional overseas American vacation hunting grounds of the Caribbean, Mexico, and CR. If I see another American loudly sighing when a local merchant doesn't speak English, I might have to go ballistic. I mean postal. Or is it "college" these days? It's so hard to keep up ... play the park again, this time learning Miserlou (Klezmatics version) and West End Blues (Louis Armstrong, but gotta still fight with the iconic intro), then popping out Star Wars and Spiderman for the kid who plays the violin ... a dip in the ocean and I see that I'm the only one doing so around. Is it the horse shit randomly deposited on the beach (thanks to the jerks who insist on beach horsey rides)? Then I exit to see a horrific photo shoot for a couple walking the beach. Canned stuff right out of a cheesy romance novel, they do repeat takes of sauntering the beach at sunset, stopping for a kiss, then even the embrace that turns to him lifting her off of her feeting and swinging her around as she bends her legs. If there is a god, please don't let them be American! Later I'm interrupted from standing between some rocks and watching sand pile up on my legs - they apparently want my spot out of all of the zillions of fucking rocks around. And yes, by my new math logic, I now know that there can't be a god. Mercy ... On the way back I see a crowd gathered for a release of baby turtles. Cameras abound, but I wonder if anyone knows that only about 1 in 10000 make it to adulthood. Best of luck, buddies!

2 Mar, Montezuma
The "big" snorkeling excursion is a pleasant if slightly disappointing jaunt. The waters are warm enough, the sun is out, and the boat to the island isn't onerously long - that's the good stuff. But the red tide does a good job of literally casting a shadow on the affair. Wherever it comes in, it pushes through the top meter or so of the water in a blotting fashion of particulate matter. Fortunately this leaves good visibility below, and I DO so love to swim around down there. For that I see plenty of colorful fish belonging to the parrotfish and angelfish families, with the standouts being a not-too-infrequent sapphire blue fish of electric lighting and several fluorescent spots of lighter blue on each side. A massively white-spotted puffer fish and an odd (for me) sea star - a white-spotted blue star on its back, with a fat red-brown stripe below it for contrast and highlighting plus a bright white belly below - are the other highlights. Our "white sand" beach stop, advertised as a point of interest, is a bit of a crowded festival on an island with every other tour company in the area. Nevertheless the one tame peccary - who insists on only hanging out with our group, and is even predisposed to drinking our beer - and a marimba band provided by the one ritzy tour operator (that all of us get to enjoy by default) make up for any shortcomings in our uninspired lunch. I then cement my swimming fame - I alone was foolish enough to loop Tortuga island and weather the reddings-out and hot spots of the red tide - by swimming across the channel from the white sand beach back to the Rainbow Arch. I'm rewarded with plenty more fish on this lonely stab of a swim, but I'm MORE rewarded with riding the current back in a hurry. On the way back to town, we get a nice pause for some dolphins which decide to flirt with us as we otherwise get spray-soaked from plowing steadily into the waves being pushed by the current against us ... I finally officially celebrate my arrival in Central America by making my own wicked black beans, replete with red pepper, onion, garlic and cuuuuuuuuumin among other things. I deem them superior to the ones I've been happy ingesting in the locals' gallo pintos and casados - worthy dishes those, but I'm partial to my particular play with the spices which I don't go lightly on ... the trumpet mostly gets a rest on this day, but its number is certain to be called tomorrow muchisimo ... the day's only damper: a leak from two floors up makes its way into my room, steadily dripping on all the music I've got laying on the other bed. Arggh! An elderly Canadian couple's hand-washing of clothes - followed by leaving them somewhere inconvenient to drip dry - easily meanders through two levels of wood floors.

3 Mar, Montezuma
Too much coffee, plus too much sun to avoid - so I'm productive instead ... I properly write down the themes for George's Dilemma, Miserlou, and Mobil'homme from my chicken scratches on scrap ledger paper ... I catch up on my travelogue writing ... Yoga gets its due ... and I cook more beans, but this time of a chili nature ... These are all the makings of a good day. Next!

4 Mar, Montezuma
Up early to walk the seven or so kilometers to Cabuya, taking the road along the beach instead of the beach itself. It still takes longer than planned, and I get to the point where I hope to walk over to the island too late. The tide is coming in and, although I might be able to make it there and back fine, I decide not to chance it with my pockets of electronics. I came back to the beach to take in some handsome herons, then check out the all too many number of small dead eels lining the shore. The animal parade - such as it is - continues when I begin to return to town and watch two iguanas fight it out a while before the prettier one decides to hang around and let me shoot it. Uh, photograph it. Less photo-ready is the footlong lizard that skitters somehow over the surface of a stream when I surprise him, the howler monkey that hoots at me from god-knows-where, and the two beautiful and large birds that seem to belong to the kingfisher family. They overlook the stream in shadow, each sporting a black tuft that makes them look like they should belong to a gang of hoodlums. Hitchhiking some of the way back gets me to a now rather late breakfast ... An afternoon swim finally lets me discover a relatively rock-free entry into the sea near town (in front of Vlang Vlang, or bling bling as I tend to think of this swanky-looking spot), more notable still for the ride tide being less pronounced. I can float around all day, plowing into the random wave of size ... Today's great musical effort is merely to transpose a rendering of Louis Armstrong's earth-shattering (to the world of jazz) cadenza to West End Blues before transcribing the few solos that follow it ... Magister Ludi finally moves on as I leave it at the door of the local bookstore, now in two pieces from the sea spray of the snorkeling trip. I write a note pleading for restoration, hopeful since the woman has a lending library of classics which I hope it will join.

5 Mar, Montezuma
I go through my sheets of music to figure out which songs to work on next, sorting through what I've jotted down and what I actually have on my iPod to listen to. I settle on a few Fats Navarro tunes to get their short heads down: Boppin' A Riff, Eb Pob ... Time to check out Montezuma falls, just a short walk from the village to get to the outlet stream and then a short hike in along the river to the falls. Other falls lie along the way; I get a couple of dips in the fresh water which is a nice change from the salt. Although no one is jumping the main falls, I hear and see sounds above to the next ones and decide to head up that way. Problem is that my scaling takes me in the other direction and much higher, such that I come out closer to the main road and have to whack a dog with my water bottle when he comes lunging out at me with teeth snapping. Yikes! Then I meet a girl who is lost, in town to learn about fire-spinning (I've been seeing the practice sessions round and about, minus flames), and we head into town. We are pleasantly surprised when a good number - perhaps fifteen - of monkeys decide to cross the road in front of us. They look small, like capuchins or colombos, but they are soon making the telltale howler sound after they cross the street and head down to some of the nearest cabins for some raiding. Black with a golden-tan head, each has such human expressions that it's a bit eerie - which is always the great appeal of monkeys. More importantly we work to try and slow the odd vehicle down that comes flying up or down this VERY steep hill nearing town. No casualties, and I'm promised a few of the best pictures - which I'll believe when I see them, given the horrific track record of such promises ... Another trumpeting in the park for a short while until mosquitoes arrive: I've really gotta get my playing outside in before dusk! I should KNOW this by now! ... I find a favorite restaurant, the oddly-named Puggy's (whose falafel dish and lemon-mint smoother are more than just mere winners) ... I begin reading my overdue first Mario Vargas Llosa novel, The Green House, and instantly realize I have a new author to read extensively. My plate now will have a healthy sampling of Peruvian goods like never before. Excellent!

6 Mar, Montezuma
An early morning plan to do some cycling is foiled when the bikes are EVEN WORSE than what I rented in Mendoza for the wine tour: only small frames, sketchy gears, and seats that won't change their tilt (rust and sea the likely culprits) add up to NO, however nice the price. Better to try again tomorrow and pay 150% more ... In lieu of cycling pleasure, instead it's a double round of coffee (The Bakery Cafe - recommended) and Fats Navarro gets more of his due as I muck some more with Boppin' A Riff, Eb Pob, and now Nostalgia as well. As an extra challenge, I'm finding it's difficult to be properly in tune with the recordings - which makes for transcription headaches as I make assumptions that I hope bear true enough ... Montezuma Falls calls me again in the meantime, this time with a camera. I again stop at the main and largest falls for a dip, watching a couple of locals nonchalantly scale the wall next to it to gain the one above. They're unquestionably showing off, but the rest of us schmucks are happy to watch them do it. Then I do the same via the much more sane trail that I saw leading off the previous day. It's probably just as steep - which is VERY - but with the numerous vines and trees along the way, something will catch me if I fall. I go a ways above EVERYTHING, then down to that same waterfall above the main one where a group of people have stopped for high dives and rope jumps that don't imply potential death like the main falls. Then I continue for a very good while following the river upstream, happy to leave the hoopla behind. To call what comes next marvelous and amazing would be to understate it. Outside of not seeing any more people - like immediately - one waterfall comes after another, virtually all with swimming holes for me to try out. I do so numerous times, enjoying the water's temperature of perfect (be it Celcius or Fahrenheit). The only other sign of life I run into as I keep going and going is a foot-long lizard with quite a bit of "plumage" riding down his back - but I doubt I get a decent photo of him, especially as my camera is REALLY now on its last legs. Eventually I come to a number of sections where the river levels out, and the brush takes more and more over, so I scale another canyon wall via a dusty trail I spy after doing some looking around. As I make my way ever more skyward and to the opening for the sun's intrusion I thank god for the plethora of vines. I come out somewhere near someone's house, ignoring the "perro bravo" (watchdog, literally "tough" or "brave" dog) sign at my own risk, but fortunately no pit bull dashes out of nowhere to greet me. I eventually pick up the main Cóbano-Montezuma road and make my way back to town. There'll be no massive monkey sighting like the day before, but I do see a few of the howler goofs - all with black heads this time. I don't know what the difference is.

7 Mar, Montezuma
I again make a stab at a bike rental, but this goes awry when the woman refuses to accept my ten dollar bill. Since they only state their prices in dollars at this accursed Sano Banano place, they might as well recognize that it's the merely slightly-older-but-still-awfully-common version of the bill that I've given her. Meanwhile the guy who's handling the order couldn't have more negative comments about his employer, practically begging to be fired with each exchange we have in our conversation loud enough for all to hear. Which very well might be the point, from the looks of it. My take on the "Healthy Banana", then, is that perhaps it's merely...a banana. Anyway, with a credit card deposit of $500 for a bike hardly worth that anymore in the first place, I finally just back out of the rental as bad juju to avoid when I've had enough of this rigamarole ... I now make tracks back to the friendly woman who unfortunately only hawks crappy bikes. However, NOW I'm willing to upgrade and pay the $15 more (to the whopping tune of $40, plus displaying a license of ANY sort to be held onto) to rent her perfectly serviceable scooter. Naturally I almost plow it into her sign out front when I put the thing in gear, but I quickly get the hang of it once I realize what some of the pedals are for. In the process of the ensuing test to see if I know what I'm doing, all we establish is that she actually doesn't know herself - which is odd. Finally she shrugs her shoulders and off I go, immediately further learning that I better soon figure out how to get back in first gear in a non-circular fashion. That's certainly true if I'm going to get over the super steep hill out of town. That success nevertheless doesn't save me from taken the wrong turn for an alternate return to Cabuya. This, it turns out, is the NOT recommended road to go to Malpais, a town on the other side of the peninsula. Oops. No signs - and this will be the case anywhere outside of the environs of Montezuma and Cóbano - have a way of making this a reality. But cows in the road (it's worth noting that the way those huge beasts can nimbly get up and move their hulking bulks in a hurry - and so gracefully - is impressive) and a building heat be damned - I'm off for a long joyride to get to know the southern Nicoya Peninsula! In no time I'm scaring iguanas and god-knows-what back into the bush and shortly find myself repeating applications of sun cream. This comes on a day that must reach 100F/35C eventually, so I'll be alternately adding layers of sweat and immeasurable amounts of dust along the way. No, it's not for nothing that anyone in the area with a modicum of money puts up a large three meter high plastic tarp/dust shield for the length of their property (or just the house) against any road frontage. When I finally get to Malpais, I take the shore a little ways south until it ends where some fishermen putz about. Then I flip around toward Playa Carmen and Santa Teresa. This, apparently, is where all of the surfers I've been wondering about have been hanging out. Indeed, the waves look right, the beaches go on forever, and the buffed flesh of both sexes is strutting about proudly. Undoubtedly the nightlife is better on this side, that's obvious in no time: the restaurants and bars never seem to end. I shortly opt for one promoting its Italian roots - there are a surprising number of Italians hereabouts, none of them evidently worried a whit about what their carefully wrought tans will wring for them later - to get a good coffee and breakfast. Bingo on both. Then, in a conversation with with the rare Tico (Costa Rican) I find in the area, I hear that the red tide has abided in these parts the last few days. I can visibly make this out, sure enough - and then I work my way past Playa Hermosa to reach Manzanillo. By now I'm definitely getting my money's worth of dive-bombing pelicans, soaring frigate birds, stalking herons, watchful hawks and, naturally, the even more watchful vultures. I'm game to stop at times at various beach pullouts to watch them do their thing. Anyway, Manzanillo's good enough for a pause, I figure, and so it is that I suck down a fruit shake at Manzanillo's only business which effectively IS town. Then I remount my motorized steed to go to yet another end of the road before heading inland to Rio Negro. THIS in turn is merely an excuse to pass through REALLY freaking hot countryside and trying out higher speeds than I've previously dared (I not hitting 4th gear for the first time even as I've yet to get past 45kph on these bouncy roads). That's the story as I "fly" over uniformly unpaved road, a constant dust cloud maker until I turn back toward the coast and Playa Hermosa. A few questions along the way save me from likely wrong turns - what WOULD it take to put up a sign here or there, I wonder?!? Then another Italian coffee is in order at Santa Teresa as the sweat pours down al; sides of me and I am doubly reminded by the only only other two customers that people can still smoke anywhere they please in Costa Rica. They both puff away as I receive the stream from both until I move tables in a routine I haven't had to do much of anymore in the States. Properly jacked on good coffee, next I head inland again, this time passing via San Ignacio. This is just another town on the map which will prove to be something between one and five houses. The hot, hot winds continue all the while for the effort, as does ever more dust (especially so if anyone comes by in the other direction, fortunately rare). Somewhere along the way I'm reminded of a similar blistering moped ride/rental in Viet Nam - this time, though, I vow to get no "tattoo" from brushing a leg up against the exhaust pipe. I don't, even as I crowd up the road to eventually pass by the lone bus of my day. I blaze into the "big city" of Cóbano and immediately continue on to Tambor. That comes from the sudden decision to check out Cocalito Falls from above (last seen from the boat to snorkel). This I shortly do while wondering what it would precisely take for the mud cliff below me to collapse. The falls are sure pretty in any event, and for a bonus I get to check out a pile of golden-headed howler monkeys on my way out. It's too bad that my camera sucks to properly snap them, but I enjoy watching the buggers either way. Finally it's only the ride back to Cóbano for gas - I use about $2 for the entire day! - and then 7km more of dusty plowing on to Montezuma. Once there I immediately decide to tag on a victory lap that is an out-and-back to Cabuya. That adds about 7km each way to have another fruit shake - naturally! - before coming back to Montezuma at the most leisurely of paces I can manage. So ends the long day's cruise just as the sun leaves until the morn. Talk about a great day! - and it'll take a lot of showering before I can possibly ever feel clean again.

8 Mar, Montezuma
A more pedestrian day, literally, as I retrace my steps to the end of Playa Grande, this time with my all-purpose shopping bag found in the wilds of Australia in hand. Yeah, might as well fill it with some of the ubiquitous sea trash - and this is on a stretch of coast that seems clean, mind - as I listen to Bizet and the sun wakes up. I can only wonder, however, if said plan is defeated in measure as two small groups of horse riders make their way out to Cocalito Falls. As usual they leave copious droppings in their wake to await the next tide. Nah, I tell myself, this still IS a good thing - especially when I dump the by-now heavy bag into the plastic recycle bin back at town's edge. It's worth noting that the weight of plastic really adds up when it's a bunch of small stuff and thus a densely-gathered mass. Meanwhile I try to convince myself that I've saved a turtle. Maybe I did, and maybe it's the legendary one in 10,000 that will make it to adulthood - and maybe someone else will do this sometime as well ... A return to Montezuma Falls in the afternoon as the sun sets continues this theme, as I remove the small pile of plastic bottles that people have hopefully heaped without removing them themselves ... I finally return to sociability with some Quebecoises women and an Argentine couple come evening after a hiatus since, well, South America, but I'm still staying dry for the moment for no explicable reason.

9 Mar, Montezuma
I wake with no more bold ideas than walking more coastline and picking up more trash. So be it, and I head toward Cabuya for a spell by - this time - clambering over the jagged rocks that line the shore. That is, I do when they are not otherwise broken by short expanses of beach with crashing surf, heavier than usual of late. These morning walks are particularly good times for classical music and jazz with vocals, I find, plus you also get to bump into other rhythms of life otherwise ignored. For example, on this particular occasion I find that there are a number of folks essentially living in the rock and tree outcroppings, or in little shacks invisible to the road so close by at hand. A few have hung clothes out to dry, or are emerging to walk the dusty road with empty water bottles. I have no idea if they are seasonal or merely seasoned. Whichever the case, and now with my bag full (which took, unfortunately, absolutely no time), I eventually stop at a tiny beach: Dave Brubeck will be the score as I stare out to sea for a spell. Of course, stopping also allows for NOTICING, and I see that I've crashed a crab party that was otherwise non-existent to me as I blithely walked along. Indeed, there are countless of them - and the early morning light and my lowered position in sitting it dawns on me that I'm seeing them scurry every which way. The only clusters of them seem to be where they must have found a piece of sea flesh to rip apart and haggle over for breakfast- which sets me off on tangents about crab cities, crab culture, and a host of other things that most likely prove that I have no need whatsoever to get stoned. I seem to be already there on a daily basis sans any assists. In the end, though, I'm most curious about their shells. How do they get one started? Do they grow with the crab? Do they consciously design them? I'm amazed that - for such a tiny cove as I've chosen - how vast the variety of their shells is. Seriously: They come in shades from white to black, are bumpy, crowned or smooth surfaced, might be flattish to tight-spiralled in shape, and come spotted and striped any anything between and beyond. They are literally all over the map, designwise. I can't figure the rhyme or reason to it, either, in terms of camouflage or contrast, all of this posing an enigma I vow to research in the near future. Which means wikipedia and probably not much more, of course. [Some hours later: they are hermit crabs, exchanging their shells as they grow but not making them. They come from snails first before enjoying this second coming of crabdom. At birth the crabs are shell-less and probably resemble floating plankton more than anything else.] ... Meanwhile my ongoing mission of transcriptions of Fats Navarro tunes (Tadd Dameron compositions, mostly, I believe) continues with the last two I have, Fats Blows and Fat Boy. Among others those join Fat Girl, which I worked on some time ago. Given that he DID weigh 300lbs or so, I and the rest of the world should figure that he could call everything fat if he wants. So be it. This realization nevertheless doesn't occlude the more important reality - that some of his stuff is quite difficult to transcribe, particularly because he's playing so freaking fast. I need a turntable I can slow down! ... Committing myself to moving on tomorrow, I go for a last hike of Montezuma Falls. Or rather I hike beyond it to check out all of the falls and pools above the main one again. I plop in and float about a number of them, contemplating the monkeys that are scrambling way above me in the canopy. I also pester a spider as I wonder about the rock formations that have bulbous holes here and there to gather water. Some get fresh changes of water, others don't, and some seemingly go really deep. But the weirdest thing about these volcanic-seeming structures is that there are no volcanoes on the Nicoya peninsula. Hmm. Anyway, again I eventually come to the jungle bog of no return that suggests coming out - and I do, reappearing this time on the other main road to town from above. I come out by what apparently is the grand house of the guy who owns Sun Tours, but he's shortly topped in opulence by the Croesus-styled Israeli that lives on the same road closer to town. He's actually built a full-on metal suspension bridge - a private one, and at least 60 or 90 feet long - to his mansion. Yeesh - I somehow musta missed it the other day when I was mucking about with trying to figure out how to change gears on the moped. In any event, I wonder if it is occupied more than a few days out of the year. My money is on it being yet another ridiculous trophy home.

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