So Cahuita is definitely a frontier town. The roads are gravel or dirt, the ganja dealers are more bold than the policia turistica, and a ceiling fan in your room is a luxury. But so be it. The jungle is beautiful, the beaches amazing, and a week before the season open there is nobody here.
Yeah, we got mugged our first night in town. We walked a few yards down from our cabin to the playa negra and saw the sunset. just after the sky darkened I felt a little skeevy about things, so we started walking back to town for dinner. Almost immediately fast padding feet came up behind us, and I turned to see two guys on either side of my wife, faces hidden by T-shirts around their heads. I quickly pulled her away, intending to get her behind me, but I pulled so hard she flopped onto the ground. This startled the muggers, who jumped back and seemed unsure what to do next. I bent down and made sure Cha was ok, then took a step toward the nearest guy and put my arm out. ¨Back off, man,¨ I warned. He said ¨We want your money.¨ He was brandishing a little wooden stick with a blade on the end. I took a step toward him, figuring if he was nervous after my wife fell down, he probably had little stomach for violence. Sure enough, he jumped back again. Cha screamed ¨no!¨ and jumped up. ¨Let´s go,¨ I told her and she yelled ¨policia!¨ as we ran one direction and the muggers ran the other.
Obviously they were kids, and rookies. I´ve dealt with a few teenagers in my day, and lets just say these guys weren´t quite Thug Life material. But they got Cha´s camera, which fell out of her pocket and we didn´t know until later. They cut her purse strap but didn´t get ít because she has a death grip on the damn thing. I had a money belt with beaucoup dollars inside, so I´m glad we weren´t hit by pros.
After that we had a very pleasant dinner at Coral Reef. Yesterday we hiked a bit in the rain forest, but mostly slacked on the vacant white sand beach. The water is a delicious emerald color, with gentle waves. It´s bathwater warm too. Our cabin is about 20 meters from the beach, and we have a porch with a lovely garden and a hammock. The local pets all come visit us in the evening.
Today we hiked 9 km through the rain forest. We saw a few serpents, including an impressive boa, several basilisks, a crazy racoon thing which walked right up to us, sniffed disdainfully in our direction, and then continued on his way. We saw howler monkeys have a conference in a tree; there was a big ass howler monkey and he started yelling, and then all the male monkeys from other trees came over and joined him. Each time a new monkey joined the group they´d set up a racket to welcome him. Then, when all the males were gathered, they started shaking branches and yelling down at us. Meanwhile in another tree the females were tending a little tiny baby. We also saw capuchins up close, and spider monkeys. A tapir was almost as bold as the weird racoon thing, strolling right up to us on the path and circling around us before crashing back into the underbrush. In all my travels I´ve never hiked a rain forest before. It was a special privilige to do so. We ended the hike exhausted and out of water, and realized the trail didn´t circle around as advertised--it dropped us rather 6 miles outside of town. There was a closed bar/restaurant combo out there in the woods, but the expat Italian owner kindly cooked us a meal and served up some Imperial ale. He was a trip. ¨Ï live here 21 years,¨ he said. ¨Italy is the most beautiful country in the world, but I can´t stand it because it is full of Italians.¨ His angelic son, half Costa Rican, drug me off to look at their litter of pups. As we ate his cats and dogs begged for scraps while humming birds danced around us. Poison dart frogs clambored the benches where we sat.
Tomorrow we snorkel the coral reef, then Friday we´re riding horses up a mountain in order to zipline the forest canopy. Sunday we white water raft the Pacaure river, and thence we´re off to Arenal to hang out on a volcano and dip in some hot springs. But all that is down the road. I still have a lot of nothing to do here, too. I enjoy just lying in that hammock and listening to birds. I could do it for hours every day. I mean EVERY day. I´m dangerously close to buying a lot down here. Le Fe restaurant has some delicious coconut sauce.
There are lizards on the wall behind the computer monitor where I´m typing this...