Wildlife. Finding frogs in the shower, hearing monkeys howling in the jungle, never knowing what’s lurking in the kitchen sink, huge blue butterflies, dozens of hummingbirds, giant moths, and even molting grasshoppers
The view of the ocean as we biked down the driveway
The ice cream shop (it really is that good)
Being surrounded by the most beautiful plant life ever. The unreality of opening the shutters in the morning and realizing what incredible variety and abundance we have in store for the day
Picking star fruits off our own tree
The fresh fish vendor and our tofu man
The Loco Natural dogs. Come home with us, Rumba!
Lack of marketing — bags weren’t printed with the grocery store name, zero billboards, etc.
Horses walking down the beach like it’s no big deal
The smell of ylang ylang trees
Hey, we may have complained, but it was a pretty magical place.
Thunderstorms in the mountains. They rock your world
Cool, beautiful weather and clean, sweet air
More howler monkeys!
Cool shops, restaurants, and touristy destinations like the bat exhibit
The rain forests. The Santa Elena Reserve is one of my favorite places on Earth
In Atenas (we’ve actually been pretty lazy here, so I’m sure we’re omitting something wonderful):
Mist rising out of the valley in the afternoons
The best weather in the world. Texas highs in the mid-90s, here we come!
Our spectacular view of green, green hills
Dragonflies in every color of the rainbow
The cool zoo
But oh, how thrilled we are to be coming home tomorrow! We miss all of you more than everything above combined!
… To Puerto Viejo! I have some photos that need sharing.
First of all, here’s Charla the spider. She lived at the top of the stairs for our last two weeks or so. Graham was very fond of her.
Next up, this stick bug was the biggest we — or our hosts — had ever seen. It crawled across the living room floor one morning, up the door frame, and then hung out until we went to bed. In the morning it had vanished.
And finally, here’s a visual of why we were desperate to leave early. Happily, he is healing.
Those of you who have been to our house in the past… well, ever, will probably be amused to know that here in the jungle I sweep a minimum of three times a day. It’s the first thing I do after I get dressed in the morning, I do it after every meal and snack, and it’s usually necessary on at least one random occasion during the day.
You see, living in a house with rather arbitrary walls and a serious ant population, any little crumb or dead bug can lead to a Biblical-scale number of insect scavengers in the blink of an eye. Dirt, too, is a problem, but mainly it’s the ants. In this reality, there is no leaving the dishes in the sink overnight or being casual about the smooshed cracker under the table. Heck, even with all these precautions, there’s a continuous stream of ants marching across our countertops and scouting our floors in hopes that Dean left them a morsel.
That’s not the only thing that’s different. We can’t flush toilet paper here, so the bathroom trash must be changed daily. There’s no dishwasher (no great loss, since the one at home is so ineffective). No vacuum (oh, how I miss my Dyson!). And of course, the kiddos are still doing their very best to trash the house every waking moment. I could easily spend half my time on housekeeping each day, but I value my sanity more than a clean home. On the plus side, our hosts’ housekeeper is coming to clean for us tomorrow for the insanely low rate of $2/hour. I am pretty darn psyched about that! We have the option of hiring her once a week while we’re here, and I think I’d be a fool not to.
One thing that has been interesting about keeping house in the jungle is the laundry. To refresh your memories, here’s the laundry sink:
If I want to wash clothes, I carry them outside to the sink, then scrub them by hand with a little detergent, rinse, and put them on the clothesline to dry. This process must be started at the crack of dawn if you want to have any hope of having the clothes dry that day. It’s so humid here in the afternoon that clothes have to come off the line by about 2, regardless of whether they’re dry. If they aren’t I hang them around the house and put them back on the line the following morning. It’s surreal to have this much planning going into laundry!
Our hosts do have a little laundry service here on the property. It’s awesome to drop off clothes in the morning and have them delivered fresh and folded that afternoon. The catch is that it is very expensive. Consider this — last week I paid $15 for a bag of laundry that I could have easily fit into a single load in my washer at home. $15! And yet I’ll be paying about $10 tomorrow for someone to clean my house top to bottom…. the economy here is weird.
Today was a good day. We hitched a ride into town with our hostess Pamela and bought produce and a chicken at the farmer’s market, then visited the grocery store. Being able to purchase more than just a bike basket’s worth of groceries was very liberating. We must guard against getting too pampered. Later, Zach took Dean into town on my bike and its chain broke once and for all, but he was able to trade it out for a fresh one that appears to be in better shape (and it’s still pink!). Graham still says he doesn’t like Costa Rica, but he was in a good mood almost all day, and that made things much easier.
Dean is getting really communicative. He has added two words to his vocabulary since we got here (ball and Dada), and he points things out to me all day long, providing commentary that is both witty and insightful. He is managing to perform all sorts of daredevil stunts in our jungle home, and he cracks himself up on a regular basis. Our boys are such charming little people.
Both boys (and their parents) got a couple of real thrills today. We had two visitors from nature make their way into the house today. First, I found this little fella under our draining rack!
What lures a crab into a jungle house?! I should mention that we are across a street and through about 5 minutes of jungle roads from the beach — very mysterious! However, finding a crab in the sink was about the most exciting thing Graham has ever experienced. We trapped him in our bug jar and set him free in the jungle. It was awesome.
And if that wasn’t thrilling enough, this evening we found the biggest frog/toad I’ve ever seen under a stool in our living room! He hopped into our bedroom, where he was kind enough to stand still (aka, be terrified into immobility) for some photos. It took some doing to get him out, but I finally managed to coax him with our dustpan. Off he hopped into the safety of the foliage. The mystery here is how he got in in the first place…
Thus concludes another day at Casa Jungla Thomas. I leave you with a little slideshow. Hasta pronto!