21 August 2012, Tuesday

Today was a beautiful day. Sarah left in the morning with her mates. Unfortunately they didn’t miss the bus, so by now they must be enjoying a canopy tour in Monteverde or chilling on the beach somewhere on the Nicoya Peninsula. The rest of us, Gabrielle, Ylenia, Simón and I continued levelling the land for the “rancho” at the back of the house in Villas. We worked hard and it was a hot day, with no clouds to hide the sun, but we made good progress. Randall also worked with us for a while and we learnt how to scrape loose dirt off the top of the ground with the shovel, a technique that we used the following day to make heaps from soil that either Simón or I would loosen with the fork or the pickaxe, which were much easier to then shovel into the wheelbarrow and dump where needed. Later, after lunch, Randall came back to watch the documentary Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai, which we decided to go and watch down at the bar. While we were playing cards waiting for everyone to get ready (Simón had to make a phone call, Ylenia was on the computer organising the rest of her trip, etc.), a beautiful bird flew past us into a tree right next to the clay oven. We got up to have a look, and another one came to join it. They were fiery-billed aracaris (tucancillos piquianaranjados). I was really excited and got up to see them closer. They were beautiful! I called out softly to the girls, who were chatting and didn’t take any notice. I called again, nothing. One last time. They didn’t even hear me. So I went up to them and said sorry for interrupting, but there are a couple of beautiful birds on the tree that you might want to see, otherwise you can just continue your conversation… At that point a chestnut-mandibled toucan (tucán de Swainson) also flew into the same tree and I almost had an orgasm. I’d already seen quite a few toucans in the wild in Costa Rica, and earlier in Mexico, too, but I just hadn’t seen any of either of the two birds in Mastatal yet, nor from so close, and they’re just some majestically beautiful creatures, really. Their long beaks and the way they sometimes use them for balance while they climb along tree branches is something I love. They had come for the fruit of one of the trees in the finca, but shortly after flew off, not to be seen again. A beautiful and magical moment, after which we carried on with our card game, went off to the bar where we couldn’t watch the documentary because they didn’t have the vlc-lan video viewer (or any other that supports independent subtitle files). But that’s something we can try again tomorrow, if the rain permits. The idea is to go to a new waterfall that we haven’t been to yet (Costa Rica = Land of Waterfalls) and then go watch the film, but it’s quite likely none of these things will happen if the rain doesn’t cooperate…
[The rain didn’t cooperate after all]

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