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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Smile, Mr. Iguana -- You're on Candid Camera!

By now I’ve probably seen dozens of Iguanas, large and small, in our year and a half here in Costa Rica but I never seem to tire of watching the prehistoric creatures. They look so fierce but are really quite timid, scurrying off into the brush as fast as their little legs will carry them whenever I catch one unaware. I’ve seen four or five different ones right here in our compound and I’m sure that’s only a fraction of the ones in our jungle outside the backdoor. When I caught this big guy having lunch on the steps just below our front patio, he seemed to know he was on Candid Camera and eyed me curiously as I shot this video before dashing up the stairs and away. I’m still working on holding the camera still but I think you’ll enjoy seeing his mealtime activities.

It seems that even here in the rainy season we can find ourselves water-less as we were a few months ago. (See that post here.) This happened again the other day and naturally, we had just put on a load of wash. Mind you, finding a day when doing laundry is possible during the rainy season is a challenge in itself. We have no dryer and must hang our clothes outside to dry but when the sky is cloudy and threatening a downpour, the better part of valor is to hold off on the washing. Well, this particular morning looked pretty good so we put on a load but when we went down to hang them up, we found the machine was stuck at the Rinse cycle with no water coming into the tub. Uh-oh. I called up to Layne to check whether we had water in the house and sure enough, the taps were dry.

And as luck would have it, we hadn’t yet had breakfast so rather than try to cook without water available, we headed off to town to one of our favorite breakfast places. Along we way, we came across these two gentlemen in the photo, hard at work on one of the pipes leading from our new water tank. After the de rigueur “Buenas dias,” I said to them: “Tenemos no agua en Los Angeles. ¿Es esta la razón?” (“We have no water in Los Angeles. Is this the reason?”) They smiled the affirmative. I asked how long the repairs might take and was told a couple more hours so we continued on our way to breakfast. Pura Vida!

Along the way we encountered a horseback rider, cruising alongside the busy main thoroughfare on his high-stepping Costa Rican pony. 

As he came alongside us, I asked if he would let me take a photo and he was happy to pose although the horse was a bit nervous at the whole episode. When I mentioned that the horse had his ears laid back, the rider patted him on the neck and tried unsuccessfully to push the ear forward, saying “yes, fear.” Seeing the huge trucks and buses and speeding cars that were moving on the road next to the animal, you could understand his trepidation.

As mentioned in my last blog post, the local organic market is back in full swing. We walked to Nathalie’s, all the way on the far side of town, maybe 2 miles, last Saturday to pick up our first basket of food, which included beets, red lettuce, carrots, wonderfully tasty tomatoes, a big bunch of bok choy, a chile dulce, a small eggplant, some celery and a head of garlic. Not bad for about $10! When we arrived, her daughter was engaged in some pretty amazing artwork with a friend. They were painting flowers and butterflies on the seat and back of what will undoubtedly be a chair. Pretty creative and so typically Tico.

Layne and I have been house hunting in recent weeks in our search for a larger apartment or house so when visitors come, we have a suitable place for them to stay. On some of our recent walks we strolled down side streets to see if we might happen upon a rental offered by a Tico, which would be less expensive than those on Craigslist that are targeting more well-to-do Gringos. We’ve seen some nice homes in our trips out with local realtors but most seem expensive to us, almost U.S. prices. Ticos often don’t turn to professional real estate people to find tenants, relying instead on word-of-mouth, so we watch for rental signs and ask all our Tico friends for help. Wandering through those back streets, it’s often a surprise to find a small plot of land crowded in agriculture, mostly coffee plants but also citrus and banana trees, corn, mango and papaya. It may be the rainy season but the plants sure love it! 
(Dear readers: Please let me know what you think of the little "Infolinks" that I've added. And remember, you can enlarge any photo by clicking on it.)

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