Monday, 2 April 2012

a morning like no other

So imagine yourself on a tropical beach where the sea flows gently into shore.  The air is balmy and your skin feels like silk. You stroll the beach barefoot,  your sandals dangling in your hand as you gaze at the morning sky over the town of Tamarindo on Costa Rica's northwest coast.

It is only 5:30 in the morning as the clouds catch the light of the morning sun.


You almost feel you could touch the sky.

A crab plays peek-a-boo with you "thinking(?)" you might eat it.
But you only want to capture it with your camera.

A Hallowe'en crab takes a Ninja stance, prepared to defend itself as well.


An iguana IS hunting, so good reason to beware, IF you're a beetle, a bird or a small lizard.


We walk the road to the river. That cage out front of this house (see the yellow roof line through the trees?)  is to keep the animal out,  not in, the garbage.  Here, those animals are Central American raccoons,  howler monkeys and dogs.  Beautifully landscaped,  I'd say,  for a trash container!


And what a surprise this was to find these large blossoms scattered over the road like a bridal walk.
The perfume was so beautiful,  like lilies of the valley mixed with gardenia.   I carried one with me the rest of the day for occasional whiffs to cheer me on.


The road we walked,  by 11 in the morning,  was already hot,  perfect for tamarindo and palm trees.  That is a tamarindo tree up front with the small leaf fronds,  namesake of the town we are going to.   The road turned into a meandering forest path that was somewhat sheltered by the sparsely leafed trees that struggle through dry season.


The plantains,  however,  do well in this heat, as do mangoes,  both of which grow wild 
 by the side of the road the way one might find a crabapple tree back home in Canada. 
 Plantain is a traditional side dish here,  fried to candy-crisped edges when ripe
 or like the taste and texture of dry mashed potatoes  when "green".  Yum. 

We come to the Tamarindo River at low tide;
 the river bank illustrates the gradual receding of the water.


And we walk to our water taxi,  a similar boat to the one we took on our trip up the estuary.
Beyond the masts of boats on the right, you can see the ocean.
On the left rises the town of Tamarindo,  our destination.  I t will take us another 15 minutes to slug our way across the crippling hot sand,  passing resorts and sunbathers til we come into town.

Tamarindo seems to exist mostly for the tourists though it was once a fishing village,  as were so many coastal towns.  Plazas and shops selling Indonesian souvenir imports were everywhere, including peddlers who were also hawking the same.  If you sit by the beach for a bite of lunch,  you will be approached  (I'm not exaggerating)  once every 2-5 minutes.  It becomes an endurance test to be polite,  but the peddlers are respectful in their response,  so despite the exhaustion of your long walk in the suffocating heat and your incredible luxury to be holidaying,  you summon your stamina to say one more "No, gracias".


Hydrated and rested, you start to head back and pass some men shaking pods from a tree with a long stick, gathering them onto a big tarp.  The kind fellow in the foreground saw me taking pictures and came over to offer me some. "Tamarindos," he said, and showed me how to open them.


The pods were dry and and easily cracked open to reveal their prize of a small brown dry sticky fruit that tasted somewhat like a cross between citrus and a date.  It had a raisin-sized black stone of a seed inside.  I wanted so badly to bring a seed home with me but I didn't,  knowing it's illegal to carry seeds home on the plane.  In the meantime,  a few weeks after arriving home,  we found a small case of fresh tamarinds from Thailand for sale and splurged for a taste of Costa Rica. 

So many pictures, so little time.
Thank you for dropping in to get an update on how I spent February 25th.

Next time there will be ...ART!


barbara@sparrowavenue said...

it must be hard to believe you were there.

some of the images remind me of W. Homer's watercolours

Enchanted Blue Planet said...

Yes, very. All a dream now.
I know which image you mean about Winslow Homer:
the one walking to the boat- I can see that.
thanks for that perspective.

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