I live a charmed life. I mean, I must. How else would you explain how I lucked out to be currently living in a sprawling beach house on the northern peninsula of Costa Rica with a sweeping 180 degree view of the Pacific Ocean right in front of me? In exactly 105 footsteps I can leave my front terrace, cross the lawn, head down a little macheted path, and bury my toes in the sand. I am surrounded by palm trees, flowering bougainvillea and hibiscus bushes, and the constant sound of waves crashing against the rocks and breaking on the shore. I'm paying next to nothing in rent. Yes, I live a charmed life.
Heat and humidity hit me like a wall when I first arrived. Thus far I've spent the majority of my time simply sitting in my favorite deck chair on the front terrace of this great beach house, cold drink in hand, staring out at the incredible tropical scenery in front of me. Some might call it being lazy; I call it acclimatizing. From same deck chair I watch groups of pelicans flying low over the water, gently moving up and over the waves in smooth synchronization. I watch the hummingbirds that come throughout the day to sip the nectar of the hibiscus flowers. I watch the red squirrels with cute white faces that scamper up and down the palm trees. I play host to a couple of foreigner-owned dogs who swing by the property for a quick scratch and cuddle while on their daily circuit around town. And from same deck chair I watch the sunset every night, a ritual I haven't partaken in since I left Rapa Nui.
Now, as pretty as this seaside place is, it hasn't come without a few challenges for me .....
As it turns out, the beach house hasn't been lived in for around 8 months, and being this close to the ocean, the elements and critters had all but successfully completed a hostile takeover by the time I arrived. It's literally taken me a week to air out cupboards and drawers, wash absolutely every item in the kitchen, ditto for the towels and bedding, search and destroy all spider webs and bug nests, and finally get the place to a point where I can comfortably nest here for a while.
I've also come to realize that living here means living with daily surprises regarding which critters have slipped into the house. Of course this is the tropics, doors and windows are open throughout the day, it's easy for them to troop in and out. Spiders, ants, and flying things are ever present and not particularly bothersome, especially when I'm armed with a can of Raid. I've learned that it's an absolute MUST to wash dishes immediately after use as to leave a dirty dish lying around for a while means that an army of tiny squirming insects will be having a disgusting feeding frenzy in said dish when you return. I can handle the geckos that scurry up the walls, and the little crabs that rip sideways across the floor or reside in the shower stalls and bathroom sinks, although it is kinda freakish having little crab faces staring back at you when you're spitting toothpaste down the drain. Even the larger crab with bright red body and hairy purple legs that rears up and goes into attack mode every time I come upon him doesn't bother me anymore. I've successfully completed bird extractions, and I've even gotten used to - well, almost - the large iguana whom I've named Iggy, that resides in the terrace roof and who used to scare the bloody begesus out of me every time I heard him scurrying overhead.
Harder to handle are the critters that have been sneaking into the house come sundown. Every night I deal with toad extractions - I'd say about 3 on average - and let me tell you these fellas are "muy grande"! Hard to keep them out without closing all the doors and windows, and thus far they've made it through every barrier I've put up. Also hard to herd them out as they make frequent unexpected detours on the way to the door, but I'm starting to anticipate and outsmart their cunning maneuvers.
My least favorite extraction to date has been a small snake. I really don't like snakes, regardless of size. Just a couple days ago I read that Costa Rica has approximately 110 species of snakes, including some deadly breeds ... yeah, I really wish I hadn't read that.
Anyway my friends, by now you've probably figured out that another trip has begun, this time in Central America. Starting with Costa Rica.
I arrived in a little place called Junquillal (pronounced like Hun-keel-yal) about a week ago. It's nothing more than a dot on the map on the Nicoya Peninsula in the northwestern province of Guanacaste. My friends described it as a "Sleepy Hollow" kinda place. They were bang on. Other than a few handfuls of locals and foreigners who live here, it seems as yet to be undiscovered by the tourists who prefer either the more populated resort towns further north or south along the coast, or the calmer waters on the Caribbean side of the island.
Junquillal has one mini supermarket with a small selection of supplies and a computer with the slowest internet dial-up on the planet, a couple of hotels and beach bars, most of which are closed right now as it's outside of season, and that's pretty much it. The local roads are some of the roughest I've ever seen. I didn't think it possible, but they're even worse now that rainy season has arrived.
I'll be here for ... well I'm not sure for how long exactly. You see, I've been asked to write a book, and I think that this location will provide some pretty good book writing energy. The plan is to stay here for as long as it takes to write the book, or until the owners return and I get kicked out of the beach house, whichever comes first.
Yes, I definitely live a charmed life!