Thursday, November 24, 2016

Costa Rica Day 2: Bugs and Monkeys

While putting today's blog post together I realized about 50% of the pictures I have are of bugs. What a treat you are in for.

Today we had a new guide/driver which was a little disappointing because our new guy wanted to ask all the same questions as yesterday's guy. We even stopped at an identical fruit stand as yesterday. Luckily most of the day's similarities stopped there.

We started so early today that they included a stop for breakfast. Costa Rica has an innovative breakfast dish that will just knock your socks off. While for lunch they have rice and beans, for breakfast they have rice mixed with beans called gallo pinto.

Not long after breakfast our driver handed us his cellphone with a guy from our tour company's office on the other line. He broke the news that due to the sketchy weather our destination, Manuel Antonio National Park, was closed today. He gave us the choice to either go back to the hotel or continue to the park and just do some other things in the vicinity. We said screw it lets go anyway.

We stopped at this funny little tourist spot: a bunch of crocodiles who live under a highway overpass.

We had a little beach time but didn't actually get in the water.

I don't know.

We spend so much time in the van in Costa Rica. So much time.

The national park is in the town of Quepos, and as soon as we entered we spotted a new kind of monkey that I've never seen before: the squirrel monkey.

The encounter was pretty hilarious. They were maybe trying to steal food from a restaurant by scaling the power lines nearby. The wires were thin and wobbly though so they kept slipping and sliding around on them. They have really funny little chirping noises that they make as well. I wouldn't have guessed that sound was coming from a primate. While they are pretty tiny they tend to travel in large packs.

Our guide was really good about spotting and stopping to take pictures of animals just on the side of the road. He was maybe trying to make up for the stuff we were missing as a result of the park being closed.

Today's MacGuffin was a butterfly park. The journey to and from the park was maybe more fun, but it was still nice to have someplace to go. 

Termite mound.

They have a little house where they collect the butterfly eggs and incubate them.

I think this flower is a false bird-of-paradise.

Other countries have hilarious names for fire extinguishers. Who could forget the "fire killer" from Yangon, Myanmar?

We had lunch at a really nice hotel that kind of made me jealous.

It had a killer view of the ocean.

There were bats.

Yesterday I learned that if you hold your camera up to a telescope you can take good pictures of far away things. Well today I learned that you can take really bad pictures of close up things through a beer bottle. This is a picture of Lydia.

They fed us the same casado lunch plate medley as yesterday but this time it was fancy.

We saw another species of monkey on the side of the road so we stopped to say hello. These were more of the capuchin monkeys like we fed yesterday.

Well since our tour day had been cut pretty short I felt comfortable asking driver man to take us to the nearest supermarket. I love a good foreign supermarket. Turns out Maxi Pali is not only owned by Walmart but also sounds like a feminine health care product.

I grabbed a cool looking Christmas decoration to take home.

We stocked up on beer after experiencing how long and boring the return trip in the van was yesterday.

A shop on the way home wanted us to pay 36 cents to use the restroom. Sure whatever.

Awesome driver man spotted some scarlet macaws so we all jumped out of the van to take a look.

There were also a ton of leafcutter ants underfoot that were hard at work. I find these little creatures fascinating. They don't actually eat the leaves, they feed the leaves to a specific kind of fungus which they then eat.

Humans have been farming for about 12,000 years. Leafcutter ants have been farming for about 8 million years. Source.

We got back to the hotel just in time for Zoe to have some delicious plantain chips.

A local recommended Porky's Burger Bar for dinner so why not? We were walking along the street and I asked a couple of ladies for directions and I was rewarded with one of them explaining in Spanish how if you order a certain monstrous burger there and finish it in 30 minutes that it's free. It was a beautiful cultural exchange. I asked our waitress for a recommendation and she replied: the juicy lucy. That's about as American as it gets right there.

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