Thursday, 19 January 2012

We are officially slaves to electricity....

....and more specifically, refrigeration and A/C.

Jill and Modest warned us that they'd had rolling blackouts at the bungalow. Since our arrival we've had nothing more than a few flickers. Until today. It started this morning with a 30 min blackout. Not too big of a deal, except that it coincided with the typical morning parade to the bathroom... our plumbing is dependent on an electric pump. Meaning, we had one flush. For four adults. Who'd already consumed approximately 2 cups of coffee each. Yah.... Luckily, the power came back on before we had a real situation on our hands.

But that wasn't the end of it. Two more short blackouts before noon and then, just before Lauren's nap-time, the power went out and did not come back on for the rest of the afternoon. The mid-day temperature in Playa Hermosa is well over 30, not counting humidity. Within 20 minutes, the bungalow temperature reached equilibrium with the sweltering heat outside. Minus the sea breeze. Poor Lauren didn't last long, waking in a pool of sweat, even without her usual sleeping attire. Meanwhile, the fridge and freezer also warmed, compromising our delicious food (and beer!). Without electricity we were limited to consuming things that didn't require cooking. Tortilla chips and fresh guacamole only carry you so far. Eventually, a crew arrived to check things out and began poking around at the power lines with a bizarre tool that looked like a tiny hammer on the end of a skinny orange pole. Sparks flew, there were a few big bangs, and finally, FINALLY, the air conditioning hummed back to life. We were saved!! For the time being...

The power remained intact just until it was time for Lauren to go to bed.... the crew had returned after dark to do more permanent repairs (or at least that's what I assume; this time they brought a truck with a man-lift so it seemed like serious business). Hoping the repairs would be quick, we tried to make our "headlamp party" fun and entertaining (i.e. not scary) for Lauren. She seemed confused, mostly. Then, when it came time for her "milka-milk" and "booka-book" the real severity of the situation became clear. Powerless (/groan), we had no way to heat up her milk!!! Or did we.... being the brilliant minds that we are, we came up with a potential strategy: we poured the milk into a small pot and suspended it over 4 candles. Yes. We did. And it worked marvelously, thank you very much. Thank goodness, because Lauren fully rejected the cold milk Modest tried to give her in the first place. Crisis averted.

Yah, it's a tough life.

What else have we been up to? We visited a nearby national park (Carara). It's a transitional forest that connects the subtropical cloud forest with the full on tropical rainforest of the coast. After foregoing the offer of a guide (for US$40, over and above the $10 per person park entrance fee... have I mentioned the consistent gouging in Costa Rica?), we embarked in search of the scarlet macaw nesting site as per the instructions of the park office attendant. A short ways down the trail we encountered an agouti traipsing through the leaf litter. Chris snapped the photo at right.

We then spotted a few birds on our own before coming upon a guide and his client who were observing more birds in the low-brush. I watched them for a while but inevitably got bored and walked down the path a bit further, staring skyward in awe of the intricately woven canopy of trees and vines and mosses. My gaze was attracted the movement of some leaves falling from high up above. That's when I saw what I thought was monkey. I called Chris over and, after watching for another moment, he realized it was actually a sloth. It's extremely rare to see a sloth moving around in the daytime - that activity is usually reserved for nighttime, when it's cooler and, ostensibly, safer. As we watched it became apparent that the sloth had a baby with it. The guide came over to see what we were looking at and was astonished at our discovery. Felt pretty good to surprise the guide with our spotting! He said something must've startled the sloth in order for it to risk moving around in broad daylight. Pretty neat experience. The rest of our short hike included spotting a few species of trogons (colorful birds) and a few lizards. We were also asked by all of the guides we passed on the return trip if we'd seen the sloth and where could they find it... I wanted to charge them US$40 for the tip but I didn't. I'm so Canadian sometimes.

Other than the excursion to Carara we haven't ventured far from home. Chris and Modest have gone to Jaco Beach semi-regularly to hone their surfing skills and Chris took me for a nice steak dinner last night. Tonight, now that the power outage fiasco is over /(knocks on wood....), Jill and Modest have gone for dinner in town. They are going to check out a French/African/Asian fusion restaurant called Pili Pili. *snicker* All my microbiologist friends out there will know that pili is the term used to describe what are basically bacterial penises. Basically. I did not mention this fact to Jill and Modest. Hopefully their dinners are delicious!! TTFN.


  1. So I have to admit something. I got through half of this post before I realized that Lauren probably wasn't an adult.

    Chris S

  2. Ha...yeah, I was thinking the same: Lauren is a pregnant woman? An elderly woman? Oooooh a baby! Gotcha. Pili - heehee!