In everything there must be balance. And living in a developing country reminds me of that regularly. I love when people call Costa Rica paradise. Sure, in the photos, the tropical beaches and mountainous jungles look like heaven. But, you can’t see the heat in the photos. You can’t see the mosquitoes, and you certainly can’t see the regular frustrations that come with living in a developing country. Like today for instance, one of the hottest days of the year, in a year that has been the hottest since 2014 on the Osa, some idiots with a chainsaw took it upon themselves to take down a tree that was growing alongside the road just a stone’s throw from my house. They didn’t cut a wedge out of the trunk to control its fall, nor did they tamp a metal wedge into the cut to push the tree’s fall away from the power lines. Instead, they cut the trunk straight across, and you guessed it; the tree fell directly onto the power lines.
It crushed a utility pole, strewing power lines all over the road and knocking out power for over half the town. With electric fans and air conditioners rendered useless, every house is quickly turning into an oven as I write this.
I made my escape from my own hotbox house about an hour after the tree went down, and already the air had become thick and stifling. As I locked the gate to my house, I saw a couple locals taking a bicycle and a motorcycle over the downed lines without experiencing fatal electrocution. So, repeating their path, I pedaled my bike over the lines as well, flinching as my tires made contact with the wires. Nothing happened. But, as I unclenched my muscles, I was startled by one of the chainsaw-wielding idiots. They were sitting in the shade just across the road from the splintered utility pole sipping a pacha (a small bottle of cacique guarro, a Costa Rican liquor). Just as I passed over the downed lines, one of them yelled out “Bwuh!” I nearly fell off my bike. I looked at him in dismay. He appeared intoxicated. The urge to stop my bike and punch his face was almost overwhelming. But, I pedaled on, cursing him loudly.
As I rode on, I saw that there were lines ripped from the utility poles all the way down the road, extending over a hundred yards past the cut tree. I could only keep riding and practicing some deep breathing to encourage the bubbling rage inside me to dissipate.
Usually such inconveniences that come with living here on the Osa roll over me without causing much of a reaction. But, today’s heat coupled with the absolute idiocy of these two tree-cutting, pacha-sipping jerkoffs left my nerves raw. And, in a place like this, it is imperative to have a thick hide. Once you’re knocked off balance and feeling reactive, the annoyances can stack up quickly. To thrive here, you have to be able to roll with the punches. To react to every annoyance or inconvenience would take up most of your time and all of your energy.
So, today, I’ll be heading to Playa Preciosa for some surfing and swimming to remind myself that the Osa truly is paradise. And this is the balance. Depending on your perspective, living in the tropics can be heaven or it can be hell. Being properly provisioned and prepared is crucial. But beyond even that it is having a positive attitude and learning to adapt to whatever might be thrown your way.
And so, it is with that in mind that we move on to sharing some new photographs. I finished my latest photo safari with Backcountry Journeys down here two weeks ago. If you’re interested in reading an enthralling and educational article I wrote about that specific trip, you can read it by clicking HERE>
To those of you who’ve read enough for the day, let’s get on with some new photos…
First up, the resplendent quetzal, taken in the small town of San Gerardo de Dota in the cloud forests of the Talamanca Mountains.