Farm Boy & City Girl

Traveling the world

The Animals of Costa Rica

There’s a few animals here, since we live in the jungle. Some are scary, some are friendly and some are just… really weird. Let’s take a look at them! (Okay, not ALL of them are going to be animals, some are insects…)

THE GIANT MOTH (Really Scary)

a01 We were just outside in the kitchen (because yes, the kitchen IS outside) when I saw something that looked like a flying around the lamp. I may have scream a little bit and thought the bat would leave, because they usually don’t like light. Well, this thing stayed! So while I went hiding inside, where it couldn’t get to me, Chris went out and took a picture. BIGGEST MOTH EVER!

THE BIRDS (Not Scary)

a02 Except flying very close to our heads sometimes, the birds aren’t a problem. They are actually pretty cute. Some are very colorful and others are well… brown. (Like the guy in the picture!) My favorite are the hummingbirds (especially the one that takes the palm leaves for hisbiscus, he looks lost, which makes him funny.) But because they fly very fast and I’m not as fast as them, I couldn’t get a picture!

 THE GECKOS (Not Scary)

a03 The geckos are actually pretty cool. I like them, except for the fact that they poop everywhere. And very often, you walk right in, because it’s so small you don’t notice it. This guy in the picture, I’m not even sure he’s a gecko. He’s a pretty big one! (Missed his tail too) Usually, the ones we see are half his size, even less. There’s one hiding close to our sink that’s tiny tiny tiny! Chris even took him in his hand one day :)

THE MONKEYS (Scary when you don’t know what they are)

This time, I’ve got a video! Actually, Chris is the one who was able to shoot the video. I was shaking too much! (From running to get the camera, you know…) So our experience with the monkeys. First night we woke up because of them: TERRIFIED! (Well, I was.) I had absolutely no idea what was making that much noise and it sounded so CLOSE! But, then we went to the Jaguar Rescue Center and that’s were we learned that those sounds were actually coming from monkeys. Since then, it’s much better. You can’t hear them in Chris’ video, but if you want to learn more about those guys, the National Geographic has a great video too!

THE CATPIG (Not Scary)

Okay, it’s definitely not the real animal’s name. I’ve just researched it and it’s actually called an agouti. We like to call them catpigs. They show up whenever they want and when they see us, they go back hiding. They’re pretty shy and kinda quick, which also makes it hard to get a good picture.  Google as plenty thought :) Click HERE to see what they look like!

 

And that’s all for today! Anything you want to know about Costa Rica for my next post?

Jaguar Rescue Center

We visited the Jaguar Rescue Center last week and had a lot of fun there!

All the animals that are there are supposed to go back to nature, if they can. Some can’t, because they’ve been too injured or had too many contacts with humans, but most of them are going to go back. During our visit, we saw a little bit of everything: birds that had been shot in the wings or that lost an eye, an endangered white tail deer, an anteater that had grown up as someone’s pet, an ocelot that someone tried to take to Panama, a sloth and lots of monkeys that had been abandoned by their mothers.

The really cool thing there is the monkey cage. They have a cage with the youngest baby monkeys and you can go in and let them play with you. (You can’t force them you play with you, they have to decide if they want to pull your hair or not. Not your choice!) It was a great experience! No pictures of us in it, though, as we couldn’t take our camera in the big cage, but we got to pet a cute capuchin monkey :)

The work they do there is amazing, I highly recommend a visit! All the money they make goes straight to the animals, as they are not subsidized by the government.

 

How to make the best smoothie EVER

The steps are really simple.

All you need is:

  • 1 box of fresh stawberries
  • 1 box of fresh blackberries
  • 1 fresh mango
  • 1 coconut (you want the water in it, not the flesh)

Then you blend all of it together and:

Here is the deliciiiiious result!

Chris’ painful coconut experience

Ever since the first day in Costa Rica I knew that I had to harvest a coconut all by myself. It’s been my driving force while here! A lot of the trees are too tall to get at so it was tough to find a low tree that wasn’t already picked by someone else or the squirrels. But, I found a nice hidden tree in the back that had a few. Here’s how it went!

Part 1: Getting the coconut down from the tree was painful. I stood below the tree, looking up at the coconut as I swung a big stick trying to knock it down. Little did I know that I was standing in a giant ant hill and my foot became covered in ants. Virginie might tell you that I screamed like a little girl when they all started to bite me, but that’s not true :P My foot felt like it was on fire for quite a few hours after that though.

I ended up getting a chair and standing on that while I swung my mighty stick. Coconuts take a lot of hits before they fall.

 

coco05

Part 2: Getting through the woody stuff on the outside. I did this with a butter knife and a moderately more sharp knife. It wasn’t very efficient. I think i spent at least a half hour getting all this stuff off! It’s really tough. I’m buying a machete. Apparently they sell them here for like $4 and the guy who does our laundry will sharpen it for me.

coco04 coco25 coco07 coco09

 

Part 3: The little tiny thing that was inside the coconut! I definitely expected it to be bigger since the coconut was bigger than my head. Either way, I was pretty proud of myself to finally get all the woody stuff off :)

coco10

Part 4: Getting at the coconut water! This required a bit of innovation. As you can see I used a corkscrew to get in. Coconuts seem to have three little weak spots at the top that you can get into if you have something strong and small enough.

coco13

Part 5: Draining the juice. Once I had a hole made, I could easily drain the juice into a glass! I think they must have made this cup just the right size for coconuts.

coco15 coco17

Part 6: Getting at the meat. The shell of these bad boys is pretty hard, but it’s nothing compared to my big muscles. Virginie didn’t think I was strong enough to get into it but I proved her wrong! All you gotta do is smash it on a rock or something and it splits right around.

Coco19

10/10 will do again (with a machette).

What I learned living in Costa Rica

We’ve been here for almost a week now and here are the things we learned about living in paradise :)

  1. No sleeves and no pants. T-shirts are still too hot, we have to wear tank tops or muscle shirts to survive the day. Pants are also a big no no, except if you want to faint in the heat. Shorts only.
  2. NEVER ever leave food outside. Even if it’s in a bag. NEVER! Because you’re gonna get a new friend that you might not like… (Ex: When a monkey wakes you up at 3 am because it’s breaking one of your bowl, trying to get to the plantains (in a bag) that you left outside on the counter. It scared the HELL out of me! )
  3. Spiders are not that bad. Actually, spiders are our new friends. There’s some strange flying creatures here and when I see them in a spiders net, especially inside the house, all I want to do is high-five the spider!
  4. Even if you only have three legs, you can be the happiest dog ever. All you need is dog friends and an ocean. Here, dogs come and go whenever they want and I’ve never seen happier animals! They belong to someone, but they’re friends with everyone. All they want is someone to play with them in the waves. And ever those who got hit by a car and lost a leg can run as fast as their 4 legged friends.
  5. You don’t need a gym to stay in shape; an ocean can do that for you. We make sure to “work out” in the water every day, which doesn’t seem like a chore at all. Just being in the water does a lot for us, swimming and running against the waves is going to get us top shape!
  6. No rain: no waves. Depending on the weather, it’s better to surf or to snorkel. It does take a few days for the ocean to calm down, but we should be able to go snorkeling soon! (As soon as I get rid of my ear infection… Yeah -_-)
  7. Sunscreen. SUNSCREEN. All the time. 24/7. Even in the shade. Otherwise, you’re gonna end up like a lobster, I guarantee it.
  8. Try to avoid fruits and vegetables from the grocery store. Apparently, pesticides that have been banned for a long time in North America are still used here, so we try to get most of our fruits and veggies delivered from an organic farm. They taste much better too!
  9. Nothing happens on time in Costa Rica. If you want water delivered at 10am, it’s going to be here at 4pm. Same thing with the fruits & veggies. So be prepared and show up late too, why not!
  10. Coconuts are magical. The water and the skin inside have magic properties, according to locals. They make your inside so much healthier and cleaner. I have no problem believing that. I’d be living off coconuts just for that, but unfortunately, they are not as cheap as they appear. Even if half the trees here have coconuts in them, you can’t get to that magic stuff inside without a machete. If you don’t want to pay $1 every time, you have to invest in a really good knife. Or sharpen a rock, something like that. Depends if you want to do it modern times or caveman times. (Chris appears to like caveman times.)
  11. Sleeping in is a bad idea. The sun rises around 5am and goes down at 6pm. So if you want to sleep until 10am, you’re not going to be able to do much. It’s better to go to bed around 9pm (it’s so dark anyway) and wake up around 7am than to sleep in. You can go to the beach, go in town, spend time outside and feel like you had a real day!
  12. If there’s sun, spend as much time in it as you can, because you don’t know when it’s going to leave. We didn’t have any sun for the first three days we were here and now it’s been three days without any rain. I don’t feel like it’s going to stay like that for a long time though, because we happen to live in the rainforest…

Perfect Beach

A 5 minute walk takes us to the beach. There’s nobody there, except for a few surfers that are 500m away. We really don’t have to worry about them. Though we haven’t seen the sun yet, the water is warm! Chris and I have a lot of fun in the waves, doing some body surfing to the shore. We haven’t died yet in the waves, so that’s great!

On the part of the beach where we are, the sand is PERFECT! There’s absolutely no shells or rocks, it’s just fine sand. We went for a walk and a little bit further down the coast, there are some rocks, but not where we are. No seaweed or algae or anything like that either.

It’s the perfect paradise beach :)

 

Pura Vida!

We’re finally in Puerto Viejo!

We took the bus this morning (a 4 hour drive) to Puerto Viejo. I was a bit relieved to leave San José… I have to say, the city wasn’t my favorite part of Costa Rica! Too loud, with lots of people and it stunk. (The part we were in wasn’t the greatest… Maybe somewhere else is way better! “I also have a very strong sense of smell and it’s a miracle my own farts don’t kill me.” -Chris)

On the bus, we saw a loooooot of green. There were also some cows on the way, very different from the ones we’re used to in Regina. (Or just in Canada in general.) No pictures though… The windows of the bus were full of rain.

Chris and I were a bit worried before getting to Puerto Viejo, since most of what we saw wasn’t really what we expected. It was poorer than we thought it would be. But when we got off the bus, we realised that Puerto Viejo was very different! Full of international people, a lot more colourful than San José and warmer too. The beach is great, the waves are strong and the food is awesome!

We went for supper at El Ché, a little restaurant on the main street and ordered some tortillas with guacamole (BEST GUACAMOLE EVER!), some fries and we both had the same meal: a casado. We both had no clue what that was, but it seemed to be something popular, so we went for that. Again, the waitress didn’t talk any English, so we had fun pointing at everything on the menu. One day we’ll learn it and we will be able to order something!

Until then, we really love the place and our cabina is great. It’s in the jungle, outside the city, and it’s very quiet. Except for the rooster. Because yes, the neighbor just got chickens like two weeks ago. We even had one in MY CHAIR outside the house, when we got there. The only reason it was there, I realised after, is because it was laying an EGG! So we got a free egg, fresh, and the best you can find here :)

Also, we got to drink some coconut water out of a coconut in our back yard. :) We couldn’t do that every day, because 1) we don’t have a machete, only the guy that takes care of us/the cabina does and you need one to get through the tough skin, and 2) because squirrels eat it before we can even get to it. Mean squirrels… Apparently, coconut water is the BEST thing you can get here. It’s great for so many things! The fountain of youth of Central America!

Aaaaand that’s it for today! :) It’s enough, we need to relax and get some sleep now.

One last thing: there’s a reason they call this place the RAINforest. It was raining most of the time today, but hey, at least it’s warm rain!

Here’s some pictures :)

San José, here we are

The plane landed and all we could see was green. The grass was green, the trees were green, everything was green! A big change from Québec… After getting out of the plane, I thought it would be easy. Step 1, find a taxi. Step 2, get to the hotel. Well, I expected the taxis to be in a straight line and we’d get in the first one. WRONG ANSWER! We felt like George Clooney coming out of that airport, everybody wanting us to take THEIR taxi over everybody else. Kind of overwhelming as a first experience of Costa Rica.

Then everything was fine and we got to the hotel without a problem. (Great hotel, by the way!) We’re staying at the Cocoon Hotel. It’s really cute, cheap and close to the bus station where we have to go tomorrow.

For supper, we thought we could eat at the hotel, but I guess because we’re off season, they don’t have meals, just snacks. So we asked the front desk lady for some suggestions and after looking at some names on a map that didn’t mean anything to us, we decided that Subway, for tonight, was probably the best. On the way, though, we say a place that was on the lady’s map and that seemed nice, so being really adventurous, we decided to go in! (Place is called Spoon) Nobody spoke a word of english, but we ended up being able to order something pretty nice!

Now that our belly is full, it’s time to relax and get ready for tomorrow!

Pura Vida, here we come :)

 

Ipads everywhere!

So we’re in Toronto right now, with some time to kill. We can’t get any wifi in the E terminal because of the invasion of the Ipads (there’s at least 500 of them everywhere) We can’t really do anything on them, so time to use our laptops!

I was a bit tired, but taking a nap on those chairs is REALLY HARD. Chris seems to be fine, the only thing he wants before we leave is A&W. Probably not gonna happen, haven’t seen one in our terminal!

Maybe in 3 months then?… :)

 

Ready to leave

Everything is packed, we’re ready to go!

Tomorrow we’ll be in Costa Rica for the beginning of an incredible journey.

It was nice Quebec, but it is just not working anymore. No, there is not someone else. OK FINE! There is someone else. We are leaving you for Costa Rica. She is beautiful and warm. Not like you. You’ve been getting colder toward us all month and we just can’t take it anymore. GOODBYE!

We’ll see you when you’re ready to talk (or just a bit warmer!)

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