Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   sleepy peccary
Wednesday, April 2 2008

setting: Ylang Ylang Beach Resort, a half mile northeast of Montezuma, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

I was feeling weak this morning when I first awoke, but by breakfast I was feeling strong enough to consider participating in a snorkeling expedition Gretchen had hoped for us to take to La Isla Tortuga. So we walked into Montezuma, joined a group of about ten other tourists and, along with three crewmen, motored northeastward into Golfo de Nicoya in a small speed boat. The water was choppy and as it moved forward, the boat kept slamming violently down against the water as if to test the strength of my stomach. Interestingly, though, it seemed that the sun was a greater threat to my comfort than the smoothness of the ride. The walk along the beach into Montezuma had brought me closest to a relapse, but on the boat I was on the shady side beneath a tarp, so I was fine.
After a half hour boat ride, the crew dropped off our cook on Isla Tortuga and then we sailed a half mile off shore to a sheer-walled rock rising from the water. Here we dropped anchor, everyone selected flippers and snorkels, and we went snorkeling. Unfortunately, the largest flippers on hand were still too small for my enormous feet, so after a little snorkeling my feet were cramped and I had to quit.
Meanwhile Gretchen had begun swimming off to a more distant set of rocks several hundred feet away. I never saw her return, so after all the others boarded the boat, I told the crewman "mi esposa esta alli," so he drove the boat around those rocks, but still no Gretchen. At this point I began to get a little worried, though I know Gretchen is a competent swimmer (several orders of magnitude better than me, certainly). [REDACTED]
When we returned back to the rocks we'd started at, there was Gretchen, who claimed to have lost track of time. By this point she'd drawn attention to herself amongst the others, most of whom were young Germans. For the rest of the trip, they joshed amongst themselves and with me about whether or not my "girlfriend" was lost. For some reason Gretchen didn't find this joshing the least bit funny.
Gretchen hadn't actually made it to the other rocks; as she'd been swimming towards them she'd run into a swarm of jellyfish and had been stung multiple times (as were two others in our group who did make it to those rocks). The stings weren't dangerous and the resulting welts gradually faded over the next several hours.
We landed on the Isla of Tortuga, which turned out to be nothing but a tourist trap. There on the white sand (in this case, ground up coral) were beach chairs, but they were all for rent. It also cost to use the beach's bathroom (unless, of course, one simply piddled in the ocean - they'd yet to figure out how to charge for that). There was a store selling touristy rubbish, and in front of it was perched a live macaw with a clipped wing. Otherwise it was free to come and go as it chose.
Our cook had made us a respectable lunch of fish and potatoes, served with cheap Costa Rican beer (Pilsen and Imperial), and there was also a pasta option for the vegetarians and fish-avoiders in our group (which included Gretchen and one of the producers for The Simpsons), although the pasta probably contained dairy products.
After we'd eaten, we saw a number of amusing animals: a cantankerous mother Muscovy duck with a bunch of fluffy yellow and black ducklings, a parrot, and a tame peccary half-buried and fast asleep in the sand. The dark-tanned gentleman whose job it was to sit on the beach, drink beer, and make sure people paid for their beach recliners told me that the peccary liked to drink beer and was often drunk. Pilsen and Imperial are so cheap that even Ylang Ylang only charges $2 for a can, so I'm not surprised that the people of Isla Tortuga can afford to give it to their peccaries.
An hour passed, we swam and pissed in the ocean, and then our crew took us out for another snorkle, this time at those rocks Gretchen had unsuccessfully tried to swim to. Somehow bigger flippers had been found and this time I was able to have a pretty good snorkle, although my mask fit poorly and tended to leak in unpleasant ways. Still, I managed to see both an eel and a white and black sea snake. I also landed on a tiny beach (one no larger than a living room), although as I tried to re-enter the water I encountered frighteningly brutal currents. I like snorkeling because it makes me feel empowered in the water, an environment where I am normally helpless due to my density and lack of swimming skills.
Gretchen and I made the mistake of riding in the front of the speed boat for the half hour cruise back to Montezuma. It turns out that the slamming up and down on the water is much worse in the front of the boat than in other places. On several occasions the sudden compression of my spine seemed to cause minor injuries in my neck and between my lumbar vertabræ. For her part, Gretchen was miserable the whole ride back. I took to saying, "Solomente veinte minutos mas!" and continued doing so even as we were backing into the beach at Montezuma. Once we were on terra firma, we immediately ran off, avoiding all pleasantries (and the giving up tips). I'd had a good time but Gretchen had found the whole experience only a few notches better than miserable.
And then once we were home, Gretchen diagnosed the sudden onset of an unpleasant female condition involving the unwanted presence of fungi. This sent me back into Montezuma to see if I could find Monistat-7 or the third world equivalent. But it turns out there is no farmacia in Montezuma, so the most appropriate product I could find was in the general store: cream for athletes' foot.
Evening in Montezuma had felt promising and euphoric. Everyone was in the bars drinking and guys on the street tried to attract my attention so they could sell me marijuana. And all the dogs I'd been seeing for the past few days running up and down the beach were together in the village center, carrying on with their own socializing.
Back at the jungalow at Ylang Ylang, Gretchen had experienced a miraculous recovery. We went to dinner and I ordered something unnecessarily blue cheesy and rich.

The beach near Ylang Ylang this morning.

Anita, Gretchen's favorite Ylang Ylang staff member.

Anita and our surly breakfast waiter.

A magpie-jay. They like to steal packets of sugar, although sometimes they take Sweet & Low by mistake.

Me this morning in the Ylang Ylang "dining room."

A rock arch in an island of Isla Tortuga.

A sleeping peccary on Isla Tortuga.

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