The scorpion’s failed attempt at revenge

(To read El Gringo Feo’s Costa Rica Diary from the beginning, start here.)

Thursday, October 18

The Sibu dog waiting patiently for something worth begging for.

I made my weekly run to el supermercado today, and as is my custom, I locked up my valuables in the bodega, a secure, gated part of PurUvita, before I set off to torture the Ticos with my mangled Spanish. I have the key to that area hidden on site, tucked in a magnetic key holder that’s attached to a strategically located piece of metal.

I’m of a paranoid nature (see above), so I always take a good long look into the crevice where the key is stashed before sticking my hand up in there to dislodge the magnet. Never know who might have decided to call it home since the last time I checked in.

When I returned from the market, bristling with enough food to last me a week or so, I looked up into the crevice, and retrieved the key. But I noticed something way up in there, a bit farther back, that I thought might be those odd pods that contain spider eggs. So when I went to return the magnetic key holder I carried my trusty broomstick, stuck it in there and gave it a quick stabbing motion.

The first scorpion I dispatched here in Uvita …

A bad-ass scorpion promptly plummeted to the ground, no doubt kith and kin to the one I encountered and terminated in the kitchen not too long ago. I proceeded to bash the bugger with my broomstick until it stopped moving, which took a surprising amount of violence. After I swept him off the patio and into the jungle, I got ready to put the key back in its hidey-hole, and paused. Maybe not. I now have a new location. Just as concealed but easier to assess before I stick my paw in there like a drunken bear digging for honey …

Anyone who has Suffered the Benz knows what an insufferable creature of habit I am.

  • Evidence, exhibit 1: When I go in to the supermarket, I always stop for lunch at a place called Sibu, which has been consistently excellent. Today was no exception. I had their Sibu salad and a red snapper burrito that were superb, as well as a papaya-banana smoothie. As an added benefit, there were several dogs milling around, including one Gian once told me is a fixture around town. She came up to let me pet her and then went on her rounds, showing no interest whatsoever in the salad I was shoveling into my mouth. But when that snapper showed up, she suddenly materialized in front of me. Smart dog. I also see her ranging around the parking lot in front of Sibu at times, and she’s clearly street smart. That stretch of the Costanera Sur is almost always congested, and the truck drivers like to barrel through as if it’s a stretch of Kansas Interstate.
  • Evidence, exhibit 2: After lunch, I always swing over to the catercorner side of the intersection, trying to be as traffic-aware as my canine friend, and buy a kilo of mamon chino from a guy who sets up there. That 1,000 Colones (about 2 bucks) is the best money I spend each week. So I’m sitting here cracking those buggers open and eating them like a hungry howler as I write this. I love market day.
  • Evidence, exhibit 3: As I hopped out of the taxi (a crewcab white Toyota pickup, more accurately) my driver, Michael, grinned and said, “¿Hasta la próxima semana, no?” (Until next week?). Sí, hasta la próxima semana. Like clockwork.
Is that snapper I smell?

This morning was gorgeous, which was much needed after the ceaseless rain we’ve suffered. The howlers were in full flail and the jungle was buzzing with yellow flycatchers and a bunch of blue, finch-like birds I couldn’t ID. The agouti were out, foraging for scraps of papaya I’d tossed them earlier. I flock of parrots flew high overhead, chattering noisily, paired up, maybe 20 or so total, and I heard a macaw or toucan somewhere out in the jungle, but I didn’t get a look. Several insanely beautiful butterflies flittered through. It was sublime.

When I returned from the store it was cloudy, but I still managed to steal an hour or so in the hammock before a light rain started to fall, chasing me inside to read Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot on my Kindle. But several hours later, as I write this, the relámpagos y truenos are raging, the rain is falling and the electricity is being incredibly fickle, flashing on and off, pitching me into sporadic bouts of blackout. It’s amazing how inky it gets here when the lights fail. Really eerie with the lightning illuminating the jungle in flashes like a B horror movie.. When the lights die, the glow of my computer screen becomes a magnet for swarming insects. And when the electricity comes back up, bats zigzag through to snatch the bugs that regroup around the restored lights. The bats don’t bother me at all. They come and go all evening while I type. I’m assuming one of them is BatBoy, who spends his days snoozing above the doorway of the Treehouse. I always stop to say hi to him when I’m coming and going. I’m sure he’s told his comrades I’m cool, for a human.

Oh well, light or dark, rain or shine, at least I have my mamon chino.

Munching mamon chino between lightning strikes.

Last, but certainly not least, Happy Birthday, Lara Edge. I can’t put into words how much I miss you or how utterly happy I am to have you in my life. I love you. Only two more weeks and we’ll do Costa Rica in a more decadent way than the Tarzan life I’ve been leading for the past two-and-a half-months …