Friday, December 22, 2006

¡Feliz Navidad!

I've noticed...

...that old school, flip-flop, between-the-toe, no-heal-strap-style sandals rule here! Reef's are the best! I collect them like t-shirts. If you want to be immediately identified and stand out as a tourist, wear Teva's or Nike's. It's equivalent to wearing a sign that says, "Rob me!"

...that all ants are not alike. I can now tell you the name of 4 species of ants by the way they bite or sting me without having to look at them. I can also tell you whether it's an ant or a termite that is biting me.

...that termites rock!! Unbelievable creatures!!

...that I have developed an affinity for observing the sky and avoiding rain showers to stay dry when I'm riding my motorcycle in early and late rainy season. I've figured out when and where to stop and wait for clouds to pass over the route I will be following, when to gun it and outrun them before they get there, when to take an alternate route to avoid them, when to slow up and let them pass in front of me. And I've noticed that I'm not always right.

...that many smaller bugs hurt more than larger ones when you hit them at high velocity on your motorcycle. It's the construction of the exoskeleton. Hit a dragonfly and you feel it. Hit a beetle, a quarter of it's size, and you REALLY feel it. But then, there are the butterflies... Butterflies leave exciting and interesting colors.

...that mosquitos don't really bother me much.

...that when I eat lots of bananas mosquitos don't bother me at all.

...that eating lots of yogurt keeps me from contracting just about any sickness that makes me vomit.

...that I eat a lot of yogurt and bananas.

...that I pay alot more attention to my feet than I used to. I wear flip-flops. I've had more than a few toenails ripped off by someone taking a step backwards and catching a long nail. I now keep them closely trimmed. I also get a lot of cuts on top of my feet and ankles, and sometimes on the bottom. My feet get extremely dirty. So I do a morning and evening inspection every day and night and perform periodic maintenance and repairs as required.

...that the crappiest, lowest price, bottom of the bin, discount Costa Rican coffee I can possibly buy here en el culo del mundo, brewed with luke-warm tap water, through a tin can filter I made with a hammer and a bent, rusty 6-penny nail, blows away anything that Starbuck's or Seattle's Best Coffee has to offer on any day of the week, at any given moment!

...that anyone who says they're a tradesman and doesn't have tools and a truck, isn't.

...that I can sleep through the calls of a male howler monkey (congo) - the loudest land mammal on the planet - navigating the canopy outside of my house at the crack of dawn with every sliding glass door and window in the house open, but be awakened by the sound of a mosquito buzzing in the bathroom.

...that driving cattle is very much like driving a car - you prefer to do it on a paved road. The only difference is that cattle occupy all lanes in one direction.

...that ticos who have to pull their car over to pee while on a road trip take pride in doing so and do it unabashedly, in the open and while sometimes waving at passer's-by with their free cigarette/beer hand.

...that orange highway cones, road flares and roadside emergency reflectors must be expensive because everyone uses a tree branch instead.

...that horses are more stupid than Irish Setters.

...that a crab of a certain species here can breath air, travel many kilometers of horizontal and elevational distance away from anything remotely resembling their birth/spawning place at the beach, climb walls, glass or any other vertical surface that is not coated with Teflon or butter, and gain entry into just about any man-made structure that it wants to. And that I will never be able to figure out how it does so.

But most of all, I've noticed...

...that holiday's like Christmas and Easter in Costa Rica are less about shopping and giving gifts than about momentarily and completely disconnecting from everything else that's going on in your life and, for a couple of weeks, concentrating on having a great time with the people who matter most in your life: your friends and family. Sharing stories, laughing, helping each other out, walking the beach, fixing a flat, sharing recipes, babysitting, running errands, playing beach futbol, snoozing in the hammock, cooking, eating, eating, eating, eating!!

Merry Christmas to all of my friends and family reading this. I love you all very much and miss you. I wish you could be here this year to enjoy the sol, mar y playa we will be enjoying this Navidad - and the TAMALES!!!! I wish I could be there for some turkey and stuffing, home made cranberry orange preserve, bannana nut bread, English toffee and Italian zucharini's!!! I can taste them all now!

¡Feliz Navidad! ¡Pura vida! ¡Paz! ¡Amor!

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