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Costa Rica, Day Four: August 18, 2014

Palo Verde National Park.

Awake at 1:00 am to use newly restored iPad hotspot to do church work.

Up with the sun and hiked up the 4 flights of stairs to wait for the bus to pick up up at 7:00 am. We saw lots more damage from rocks falling in the night.

filadeflfiaWe rode for a couple hours until we reached the small town of Filadelfia. We waited outside the park for quite a while for 2 women and a young baby. They would accompany us for the rest of the trip.

On the way to our main event, we passed several soccer games and a LOT of sugar fields. We passed El Viejo Mill (Azucarera El Viejo, S.A), a Costa Rican company dedicated to growing sugar cane and sugar production. The company annually produces 50 thousand tons of sugar in the forms of raw, white, and special; by the industrial processing of half a million tonnes of cane grown by over 500 farmers in the Tempisque Basin. The sugar here in Costa Rica goes mainly to the Coca-Cola Company and for producing energy. I was very surprised that there was no rum production like in Barbados and other sugar-growing countries.

After many dirt roads, we stopped at the Palo Verde Restaurant and had juices and coffee while we waited for others to arrive. Since we were going to Palo Verde, I assumed (you know what they say about assuming!) we were close to beginning our trip. Well, no. Back on the busses. More narrow dirt roads.

Finally, we got to the Temique River and into our small boat. One of the women getting in commented to Michael that she had sat behind him in the plane from New York. Small world.

bats2Right off the bat (no pun intended!) we saw these weird little bats. They line up on a tree and pretend to be a snake, even moving slightly to simulate a snake writhing.









monkeyWe saw lots of white-faced capuchin monkeys – several came right inside the boat. The Capuchin monkey is named after the order of Capuchin friars – the cowls of these friars closely resemble the monkey’s head coloration. I’ll bet those friars are happy to hear this!




jclizardAlso, we saw Jesus Christ lizards, so nicknamed for their ability to run on water at an average speed of 8.4 km/h (or 5.2 mph), for about 10 to 20 meters.

We saw lots and lots of iguanas of various colors, in the trees, on the ground.





crocodileWe also saw something that looked like a hawk but were told it was a black vulture. We also saw blue heron, egrets, and of course, crocodiles. The crocks saw we were there and slowly circled our boat.

In the photos below, the guide is showing us a huge grasshopper with red underwings.

After our boat tour, we went back to the Palo Verde Restaurant for what is called a “tipical meal”. We had Casados (black beans and rice) with chicken, beef, salad, fried plantains, white cheese and corn tortilla. Casado, the name referring to the eternal “marriage” of the beans and rice.

A l-o-n-g bus ride and we were home again, ready to rest up for the next day!

My pictures:


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Medical Tourism

Our catamaran pickup was for 8:15 so we got up early.  The driver was actually here before 8:15 so we hustled to get to the (huge) bus.  Another family fro The Crane was already on board.  We waited a bit for someone else who never showed up.

At the first stop we picked up a bunch of guys who turned out to be part of a hockey team.  They were either still, or already, drunk and acting moronic.  Wonderful.

This bus held at least 40 people and we were nearly full when we got to the Hilton to pick up the last few people.  We waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.  Some of our folks got off to see what was going on.  No answers.  Tom got off and talked to the driver about why we were holding up the busload of people for so long.  The driver said it was his orders, to talk to “the boat”.

Finally, after about 45 minutes, 4 people got on the bus.  No apologies from them or the driver.  We just continued to the catamaran.  Everyone except us got on the catamaran.  Tom wanted to see the manager, who was not there on Sunday (of course !).  The folks in the office said to let it go, we’d be “happy” once on board, probably referring to the open bar.

We said no, that we weren’t going.  They called us a taxi (at our expense, naturally).  Tom got the name of the manager to speak with him later.

Our taxi arrived and we left.  We told the driver exactly what had happened and he drove us to the competition! The first boat, Cool Runnings, had already left for the day but a very kind man from the Jolly Roger called them for us us.  The didn’t have any openings until Tuesday so the Jolly Roger man (Tom thought his name was Richard) booked us a trip for Monday on Jammin’ Cats.  I was really amazed at how kind and helpful the taxi driver and Richard(?) were to us.


If you need a taxi in Barbados, Call Big Apple at 246-239-0637.  A great guy.

Meanwhile, on the trip back to The Crane, Tom mentioned that we had a bat in our apartment overnight.  He had heard it about 2 am, then again at dawn the bat was at the glass doors trying to get out.  Tom had pinned him (or her) between the slatted door and the glass door, then tried to open the glass door to let the bat out.  S/he flew away and Tom noticed that his arm was bleeding.

I saw the puncture wound and we were trying to decide what to do.  When we got back, Tom called the front desk to ask about doctors.  Naturally, it was Sunday…  He got the name of an emergency clinic that was open until midnight.  I looked up bats online and found that there had been no rabies here for at least a decade.  All the people said that there was no rabies here, too, but we wanted to be sure.

I wasn’t even sure that it was a bat bite since it was just one puncture wound, not 2 (or 4) but we headed off to find the emergency clinic.  There were about 10 people ahead of us and only 1 doctor so it took a while to get in.  The nurse reiterated that there was no rabies here, took Tom’s medical history.  Turns out his last tetanus shot had been just over 10 years ago.

Back to the waiting room.  Just after 5, we got to go into the small doctor’s office.  I was amazed at the old-style exam table.


After a bit, the doctor came in and told us what we already knew – it was probably not a bat bite.  They dont have rabies here on Barbados but had it been Trinidad…  Tom did have an infection that was creeping up his arm so he got the tetanus shot, got the wound cleaned and dressed, prescriptions for antibiotic ointment and meds.

We took the prescriptions to the pharmacy next door, then back to the clinic for paperwork that we can try to submit to our insurance when we get home.

Crisis averted!

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