Monday, March 31 2008
setting: Ylang Ylang Beach Resort, a half mile northeast of Montezuma, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
Unlike other "vacations" Gretchen and I have taken, which had rich itineraries and seemingly educational purposes, this trip to Costa Rica had been planned entirely as a vacation, with no fixed goals and no action-packed days. The idea was for us to lie on the beach, drink fruity alcoholic beverages, swim in the pool, and hopefully see a few monkeys at some point.
After breakfast this morning I had accumulated only complaint about Ylang Ylang. It concerned their control of every aspect of our refreshment. I'd hoped breakfast would be served under the buffet paradigm, but it all happened through our waiter (a somewhat surly gentleman of apparently Carribean ancestry). The problem with this arrangement was that it placed control of the flow of coffee into my body in the hands of someone other than myself. For an addict such as myself, waiter-initiated refills are never as frequent as I would prefer.
Our breakfast had actually begun at the bar, since my need for coffee had preceded the arrival of Gretchen's appetite. She took the opportunity to practice her Spanish with Anita, the friendly woman making the fresh-squeezed orange juice.
Yesterday Gretchen had found the short children's novel A Series of Unfortunate Events: the Bad Beginning by "Lemony Snicket" in Ylang Ylang's "library," and after she was done with it, I read it myself. How could I not with this beginning:
If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book. In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle. This is because not very many happy things happened in the lives of the three Baudelaire youngsters.
When I was done with that, I searched the Ylang Ylang library of abandoned books and found the perfect trashy beach read, Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. It was vapid chick lit at its finest, complete with a shocking pink cover. We spent hours stretched out in wooden recliners reading beneath the shade of some trees only a couple dozen feet from the crashing Pacific.
Late in the afternoon we walked northeastward along the beach, past the stately house of Ylang Ylang's Jefe (if features organically-patterned concrete columns and a thickly thatched roof), over a stretch of rocks to another beach featuring a freshwater pool and many dozens of cairns made of carefully-stacked rounded stones. There were other beaches beyond, but we explored a stretch of rocky coast instead, with dark greenish-blue sea crabs to scuttling away as we entered the wave-sprayed intertidal zone.
Heading back to Ylang Ylang, we caught sight a pair of White-faced Capuchin Monkeys, so we stood watching them in delight as they went about their monkey business. Soon we saw others, including some very small youngsters. They were casually climbing along low branches going from tree to tree, not paying much attention to us even though we were sometimes only ten feet away. We followed them a little ways into the forest as they continued northwestward, away from the coast. One of the monkeys was missing half of his tail, which made him more reliant on his four hands than were the others (who all used the prehensile tips of their tails to aid in their arboreal locomotion). A large part of the reason we'd come to Costa Rica was so Gretchen could see monkeys (whom she'd hoped to "kiss on the face"), so she was particularly delighted that we'd finally come upon some.
The food at Ylang Ylang is so good that throughout the day I kept craving it (far more than I normally crave food). For lunch I'd had a sushi platter featuring smoked salmon. Tonight I devoured an incredible plate of vegan nachos featuring black beans and guacamole. The portions always seemed to be perfect for my appetite, and I never felt the need to order an appetizer (which, unlike the entrée, wouldn't have been free).
Tonight, though, as I was falling asleep in the jungalow I could feel my stomach behaving unusually. It felt like acid indigestion, only much worse.
This afternoon I treed a three foot long iguana beside our jungalow.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
previous | next