Is There an Exorcist in the House??

Well, THAT was certainly an interesting evening.  I was in bed, dreeeeeeeeaming away until I was jolted awake by what felt like my bed balancing on the top of a huge bowl of jello.  It felt like some giant had reached into the refrigerator that was my bedroom and shook the bowl back and forth to see if it had set up yet.  Something started banging on my roof, something fell off of the ledge next to my bed and then I knew immediately what was going on.  Ironically, I had JUST been reading a guy’s blog that night about his time in Puerto Viejo and he described going through his first earthquake too.  I look at the clock 3:43 a.m.  The dogs started barking, the howler monkeys started yelling and the shaking stopped.

Once I had my wits about me, I knew I should probably go outside.  Then I was worried about the huge trees and electrical poles and determined I was somehow safer in the doorway of my bedroom.  I stood there a while and nothing else happened.  Boy, I’ve never felt anything like that before.  It was somewhat terrifying.  It’s almost indescribable how the bed just felt like it was floating on water…the legs of it knocking against the floor…I seriously felt like Linda Blair in the Exorcist for a fleeting moment.  The howlers would NOT calm down for a long time.

So I go back into bed.  I stay awake thinking about what just happened and how I had just told my dad that I thought I’d been hearing some kind of activity lately.  It sort of sounded like thunder, but it wasn’t quite thunder.  Then I realized that I’m about a foot above sea level and the beach is one minute away.  Hmmmmm.  Ok, I should get on the internet and make sure there are no alerts out.  I HIGHLY doubt there are any warning systems here unless the police go around with a loudspeaker and by that time, it could be too late.  I could hightail it up Margarita Road (probably run into the dog again) if I needed to get to high ground.

So I type in (as I had just done the day before) ‘earthquake costa rica’ and in big red bold letters on the first page, it read: ‘5.6 magnitude earthquake 12 km SSW of Guabito, Panama’.  I click on the link and see that it’s very close to where I live.  That border line between CR and Panama is where I am.  I think I’m about 20 miles from the border, maybe less.

quakeI couldn’t find any alerts and seeing that it happened inland I sort of doubted a tsunami, so back to sleep I went.  All is well and there were no damages reported in Panama from what I’m reading on the news.

Two Month Progress Report

First snake I've seen in my yard
First snake I’ve seen in my yard

It’s hard to believe it’s ONLY been two months.  Had this been a place where I had no way to know what day it was or I forgot to put the marks on the wall, I would swear it was six.  Just when I was saying to myself earlier today that its been a while since anybody has burned a pile of rubbish, sure enough someone JUST started doing it.

I want to say that I’m no religious fanatic.  And I sort of hate to use this statement because it sounds like I am…however, I sure feel like I’ve been tested.  It’s probably just living in a different country and the things that go along with it.  I just think about that night in my room where I’m finally happy that I got a net over the bed and I’m feeling pretty content.  I look up to see two gigantic roaches on my door.  The insect that I’m most afraid of (besides black crickets).  It’s as if someone is saying, “You can’t have it all!  You can’t be completely happy, so take THIS and let’s see what you do!  BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!”

Then there are the nights, which only started happening recently, where the rain is TORRENTIAL.  Scary, loud, threatening and there’s not a damn thing I can do but wish it away.  I’m just grateful that this tin roof doesn’t leak.  At least not on me or on my electronics.  Then once the rain finally subsides and the sun comes out, the mosquitoes are completely unforgiving.

I’m tired of cooking.  I’m tired of shopping for things I don’t even like and I’m tired of being hungry.  I almost liked it more when I WASN’T hungry…at least I didn’t HAVE to cook or go to the store.  But now my appetite has returned which poses another problem.  Eating.  I feel completely limited and uninspired so it turns into frustration and feeling malnourished.

I’m SOOOOO tired of being hot.  It’s 6:30 p.m., the sun is down and there is no breeze. I’m in a long sleeve shirt to keep the mosquitoes away and it feels like it’s 95 degrees.  I’m tired of this house I’m in and can’t WAIT to get to the hotel I booked last night in San Jose.  It looks like complete bliss at $78/night.

Ok, so is it coming through that I’m a bit frustrated?  I have decided to move to Lake Arenal in July though.  The house will be better, but who knows what the circumstances hold.  The food selection and prices will be about the same but at least I’ll have an oven and a REAL stove AND a microwave!!  It won’t be a tin roof…well, if it is, at least the walls go up to a CEILING.  The temperatures will be mild and even cool at night.  So maybe I started off right with this suffering of mine.  It gives me a lot to be thankful for in the future.  I will be contending with earthquakes and one of the most active volcanoes in the world 20 miles away.  I will be in a pretty remote area but will have a view of the lake and a dormant volcano.  I’ll still have toucans and howlers to wake me up in the morning from what I understand.  I just hope there aren’t as many dogs barking there.

I finally got tested by having a stray come into my life…which was COMPLETELY my fault.  She didn’t come back today, by the way.  She followed me to work and that was the last I saw of her (for now).   But it just emphasizes the problem of strays in this country and probably EVERY country.  There is no ‘pound’ or ASPCA here; nobody to call to come get the dog.  It’s hard knowing that they really are good animals and just want a friend.  I completely understand it.  I felt really good when she was walking beside me…like she WAS my friend.  I felt like she’d have my back if anything tried to attack me.  So it was hard yelling at her to go away and having to pick up a stick and watch her cringe in fear, as if she knew exactly what that meant.  I hate not being able to help her and I know I won’t forget yesterday anytime soon.  I could feel her fear when we’d walk past yards with other dogs and they’d come rushing at the fence barking furiously…knowing that if that fence hadn’t been there, it would’ve been ON and death or serious injury would have ensued.  She wouldn’t bark back, but get closer to me as if I would save HER…and I probably would have tried my best.  It makes me sad.

I suppose I haven’t been completely tested.  Knock on wood, I haven’t been robbed, mugged, hit by a car or otherwise injured.  It seems that each week at my job I hear of someone who had to go to the hospital for one thing or another.  Just today I heard about a guy that just started who fell off a bridge on his bike and was seriously injured.  Nobody knows what really happened…whether he was knocked down by a car or if he was drunk and fell.  People end up falling off their bikes on these rocky roads and get hurt.  Some people get hit by cars at night because they drive like MANIACS here and some dumb people don’t even have lights or reflectors on their bikes or themselves.

So yeah, it could be worse…glad it hasn’t been.  But I’ll tell ya, it hasn’t been easy.  I’ve met some really nice people here.  I’ve had strangers approach me while I was alone on a deserted beach and it was all cool.  I’m not saying that it would always be like that, but luckily it turned out ok.  I like to attribute that to my personality although I don’t actually think these people had bad intentions.  Do I feel like making a permanent run back to the States yet?  Nope.  The last thing I want to do is go back to work in an office.  I’m sticking it out down here.  Maybe the second quarter will be better.

I Think I Just Became a Dog Owner

My new friend!?!?!
My new friend!?!?!

I FINALLY decided to walk up Margarita Road which is right across the street from me to see what was going on there.  I saw this pretty German Shepard walking toward me and she kind of greeted me and started walking with me.  Well, that was nice!  I was just telling a friend of mine how nice the dogs are here.  It sort of seemed like she wasn’t a stray…looked fed and all but had no collar.  So we walked and walked and then it looked like it was going to rain so we turned around.  She had been panting and I figured I’d get her some fresh water when WE got home.  Oh boy…I kind of knew what might happen here.  She drank out of a puddle and that made me feel bad…so home WE went.

I got her some fresh water and she gulped it down.  Then like an IDIOT I got her a small piece of chicken.  Yep…I’m pretty sure that’s what sealed my fate.  IMG-20130523-00617  So I wanted to walk down to the beach, so off WE went.   When we got there, I noticed a big fresh gash on her shoulder.  Eeeewwwww.  Not good.  And what’s worse is that she can’t reach it.  So I figured I’d BRING HER BACK since I started feeling guilty, hose it off then put my super duper anti bacterial foam stuff on it.

Well, she’s not a beach dog…she was scared of the water and started whining as we left.  So WE come back home again and I get the foam stuff and get the hose ready and she wants nothing to do with either.  Great.  She won’t come near me.  Ok…well, I tried.  Time for you to leave.  I walk her to the gate, she leaves and before I can get back to my verandah, she’s back.  Got in through my dumb bushes.  Ugh.  I’ve walked her out twice now and she keeps coming back.

She's not getting the hint
She’s not getting the hint

So I take her out again.  She sees a dog across the street, barks and runs after it.  I turn to walk back then hear a car laying on its horn and I just cringe.  Oh crap.  That’s all I need now…an even MORE injured or dead dog.  I was pretty sure she wasn’t hit and that was confirmed when she came back into my yard.  I was happy she was ok, but my GOD…I can’t get RID OF HER!!!  She’s a good girl, no doubt.  But I really don’t want her here.  I guess I should see where she’s getting in through the bushes and try to block it off.  I don’t know if she has pups somewhere cause she looks like she’s nursing.  You’d think she’d need to tend to that at some point.  I’m trying to ignore her but her big brown eyes keep watching me from the yard.  If anyone has some hints as to how to get rid of a stray, let me know.  And I don’t want to hear ‘Shoot it’.

So, off topic from that, I had a few pictures that have no place in particular to go, so I might as well throw them in here.  One of Narea the spider monkey at work trying to eat a little insect from the opposite side of the glass.  It was pretty funny.  You can see it right there at the bottom of her mouth.

Narea trying to eat a bug on the other side of the glass
Narea trying to eat a bug on the other side of the glass

Then a couple of pictures from yesterday in my yard of a very pink dragonfly and a cute lizard that was sitting on a big leaf sunning.

Fuschia dragonfly!
Fuschia dragonfly!
Basilisk on a leaf
Basilisk on a leaf

What IS this?


I noticed it on the post I’m sitting next to a little while ago and couldn’t tell if it was a big ol hairy spider or what.  So I got out the flashlight and wondered if it was a tick of some kind.  Then I got out the camera to get a better look at it and realized it actually reminded me of this:

Creature from Predator (taken from )
Creature from Predator (taken from )

Right??  Maybe the baby brother of it?  Wow…the fun never ends around here.