Time moves slowly at Playa Juanquillal. Maybe it’s that our days start so early. We wake at dawn and make the most of the day. We’ve learned that there is no guarantee of sun in the afternoon, so we fill our morning with activities. By 9 a.m. we’ve had breakfast, a swim in the pool and a walk along the beach, taking pictures and collecting seashells no one will care to see but us, and we come back wondering if it’s time for dinner, when it’s barely lunch.
There has been lots of reading by and in the pool. Yesterday, at around 2 p.m. (we’re not entirely sure because we’re refusing to wear watches – although it would save us always wondering), it started to rain. Make that, pour. It was a thunderstorm, with lightning and thunder close by. We watched it with enthusiasm on the balcony of our vista. The thunderstorm did not dissipate after a while, but we so we brought out our books to enjoy the thunderstorm. Three hours later, we were napping in the thunderstorm and wondering when it would be over. There was a brief reprieve where we ran over to the open air dining room. It was finally time to have dinner.
We were warned that the food could be crappy, but I have never tasted such maravilloso meals! Yesterday, peppered beef, potatoes and fresh vegetables in a cream sauce. Today, nachos with black beans, salsa, and guacamole. The real deal. Everything is so tasty. We linger over every bite and discuss whether we should order seconds.
I’ve read one of my five books, Bad Trips, and have learned that if not for danger or disease, bad trips can be caused by boredom. While time is moving slowly, we are not bored. This is not a Bad Trip. It’s a long, relaxed sigh. It is a Good Trip!
Although there are barely any people around, we have certainly made friends for there are all kinds of creatures that surround us. Creatures so small, like the tiny, transparent spider I wouldn’t have known was there except for the dot on the lower case i of my book shifted, and creatures so tall, graduating to the size of horses. Massive horses. From the mosquitoes that feasted on me the first night (repellent was packed in J-M’s missing luggage) to the bobbing dragonflies that come out at dusk to catch these flesh-eaters, to the butterflies and birds and crabs and squirrels and dogs, there are insects and animals everywhere, extra-small to extra-large.
Crabs keep us entertained, popping into tiny holes or shells on the beach to teasing us with a colourful dance near the resort. Here we are, now we’re gone! Last night at supper a small hummingbird gave us a show, sipping on the nectar of flowers within arm’s reach of us, for several minutes. We wouldn’t talk and hardly breathed, aware that this would be over too soon. There are large birds in bright colours. We don’t know their names and they’re too fast for us to snap a clear picture. We’ve given up trying to document them and have decided to just enjoy them instead. We spotted a ring-tail squirrel which jumped from tree limb to limb accompanying us on one of our walks.
Then there are the dogs. The dogs are everywhere. Who do they belong to? More importantly, why won’t they leave us alone?? They are all kinds of shapes and sizes: weiner dogs, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and other mutts. No two alike! One blonde perro made friends with us, lounging with us by the pool, joining us for dinner at our table, walking with us to the beach, and to the store…
This morning, we took a loooong walk to the supermarketo rumoured to be a kilometre (or so) away, to see if they had anything that we were starting to desperately need: sunscreen, bathing suit, moisturizer. On the walk, our friendly dog accompanied us. I was irritated with the mangy thing, being that I’m no dog lover. I blame a traumatizing Christmas dinner as an adolescent, when our family dog chomped on my foot in a rage and wouldn’t let go. My mom says that most poodles are off their rocker. I know Christmas can make anyone crazy… This one targeted me on that festive occasion and ever since I haven’t figured out how this bonding thing works. I avoid dogs instead.
The dog here did not make me nervous, but annoyed, as it would walk back and forth across our path as opposed to straight ahead which was how, I thought, most dogs operate. A man was ahead of us and the dog ran up to him and jumped all over him, muddy paws and all. “Oh no! He’s not ours, but the man will think he is! How do we tell him to get down? What do we do?” I moaned to John-Mark.
But the man knew this dog. “Guacamaya Lodge?” he asked. The dog had betrayed where we were staying. And apparently, the dog is promiscuous, lending all his affections to other guests, as this obviously wasn’t the first time this had happened.
We carried on and the dog became antsy, crossing back and forth in our path, even closer than he was before. We were shooing him ahead. Stoopid dog. “Vamos!” J-M kept speaking firmly to him. The dog ignored him.
Then we spotted the other dogs, a pack of them, approaching us. Guacamaya Lodge dog, was now walking so close, we could hardly move ahead without tripping over the thing. The pack of dogs got closer and were barking. Even though there were no poodles in the pack, I was getting extremely afraid. I noticed that Guacamaya was HIDING behind and in front of me. Wherever the pack was on one side of me, Guacamaya was on the other side. This aggressive pack was pursuing Guacamaya and Guacamaya was using me as its SHIELD. Yet again, I’m the target of a dog’s neurosis.
I stopped being scared and got mad. I was mad at Guacamaya, mad at the pack of dogs, mad at J-M for laughing at the situation, albeit nervously. I’ve heard so many people talk about the unconditional love an animal can give, but this one was putting me in danger.
I started walking at a fast, angry pace. I marched to the beat of my self-talk, “This is ridiculous! I will not be used! Who do you think you are!”
Packs of dogs came and went and I kept the pace. I felt a little invincible to tell you the truth.
Next thing I knew, I was at the supermarketo, the dogs were gone, Guacamaya had left to fend for itself, and J-M was still laughing at me.
We spent time in the supermarketo avoiding the dogs and trying to figure out whether the things we were buying were actually the things we needed. Deet is apparently the same in English and Espanol. We took a chance with crema corporal, although it was in with the shampoo, our hunch was right that it was a literal translation, body cream. We were surprised that the only aloe we could find was either in a massive tub of hair gel or a soft drink. We were almost willing to rub both on yesterday’s sunburns. Bonus, they sold Australian Gold sunblock, which makes me wonder if there is even a local equivalent. Do the Costa Ricans need sunscreen?
On our walk home, the dogs left us alone. We found Guacamaya dog waiting for us back at Guacamaya Lodge. I’ll admit I was a little relieved, but still ticked. He knows it too, acting a little shy, but not avoiding me altogether.
Later after the traumatic events of the morning, J-M and I went for a walk on the beach, to be greeted by a Rottweiler and his small mutt friend, running back and forth in front of us. An American greeted us as he passed asking if they were our dogs. “No way.”
“Looks like they are now!”
Happy to say that J-M’s luggage arrived tonight! We promptly change from a green shirt into another green shirt. He’s feeling fresh!
We leave Guacamaya Lodge tomorrow afternoon–I mean, 9 a.m.–and head toward the volcanoes in Rincon de la Veija. Wonder who, or what, we’ll meet there!