“It cures the hot blood. You know, the people they get the hot blood.” I really didn’t know what Steven was talking about. All I could think about was leukemia when he talked about “people with the hot blood” but I really couldn’t fathom that the Tamarindo juice I was drinking would be a cure for cancer. And then I wondered if there was a strange Costa Rican illness that made your blood hot – like a Central American ebola. That thought started to freak me out a little. The juice was really, really good though.
We were eating breakfast at Soda Vanessa. A soda is a small Costa Rican restaurant serving traditional food. The kitchen is open so you see everything being cooked and there’s usually only a few tables. According to Steven the main ingredient, or the best ingredient, at a good soda is love. “They cook the food with love and with their heart and that’s what makes it so good. So good.”
Finn and I didn’t realize it yet but we were just at the beginning of our life education with Steven as our instructor. We didn’t realize yet because we were too busy thinking that this crazy bastard almost got us killed that morning in the waves of Playa Guiones. At least the scorpions didn’t get us first.
It’s not that many miles from the airport in Liberia to Nosara on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica but let me tell you it is a loooooong trip. It had been a long day traveling and by the time we got to the condo we were staying in Finn and I were pretty beat up and tired. During the last 15 minutes or so of the drive the subject of scorpions came up. I’m not sure how or who but I asked Steven if it was something we should worry about. Steven answered, “Bro, you don’t have to worry about scorpions. But, yeah bro, you kinda do.” He then started telling us about the 4 times he was bit last year. The first two times the scorpions were in his clothes when he put them on. The bites weren’t too bad, he said, just some numbness in his hands and feet and his tongue. Huh, I guess that’s not too bad. But then he told us about the third time he got it. Let me tell you, the third time is NOT a charm when it comes to scorpions. According to Steven, this particular scorpion was on the toilet paper int he middle of the night. He did not go into detail about where the bite occurred but he did mention the intense pain, the feeling of paralysis in his whole body, including his lungs, the looseness in his hips and the inability to walk, and the slurred speech when he called off work the next day. “But, bro, they can’t kill you.”
That was Steven’s good bye and good night story to us.
Finn and I didn’t hold hands but we slept in the same room and every time I had to get up to go the bathroom I thanked God for the Apple engineer who figured out how to put an anti-scorpion flood light on an iphone.
I woke up early the next day and made some coffee. Our condo was on the ground floor with a patio in the back. I grabbed a cup of coffee and the computer and headed out there. It wasn’t long before I started hearing the howler monkeys making all kinds of noise to each other. It was really cool. The thought that I was drinking coffee and monkeys were basically replacing the squirrels I usually see at home.
Then this thing showed up. It’s called a coati. It was not afraid of me at all which made me very afraid of it.
I was starting to wonder what I had gotten us into.