With only a few days left in Costa Rica, i thought i would update you all before travelling on to Peru.
The hard labour i have been experiencing on the coffee plantation has continued without much incidence and i have even had the pleasure of taking part in farming activities other than picking coffee. As well as helping to kill a mother rat and her nine babies, chase a cow with a small stick (all in the name if milk!) and accidentally picking up a couple of tarantulas, i am also now an expert in the second phase of coffee production, extracting the coffee bean.
I was thinking this would be a little easier than fighting angry ants and caterpillars all day long, but i was slightly wrong. To extract the coffee bean, the berries are left to rot and decompose, and where there is decomposition, there is also large quantity of flies and maggots. By the end of a hard days work your hands are covered in a delightful mixture of rotten coffee bean and squashed maggot.
I have now finished all of the strenuous farm work and am about to head back to the capital San Jose for a couple of days relaxation. To be honest i don't think my immune system could have handled any longer living on the edge of a rainforest, especially the mosquitos. Mental note to myself - the cheapest mosquito repellents are the cheapest for a reason! I don't think my arms and legs will look the same again, in particular the mosquito bites that turned septic with the poison working it's way up my veins. Not the most attractive thing i have ever seen! Deciding to live like a local and walk barefoot everywhere, my feet are also in need of some serious attention. So much so that i am currently spending every evening soaking, cleaning and moisturising my poor excuses for feet. Not really the best way to enjoy Costa Rica and certainly not the most heterosexual thing i could be doing with my time!
For the first two weeks living here we were the only volunteers here, but that has all changed this week as we are sharing the house with two young ladies. If you were to go on first impressions, i don't think i really did myself much justice. Firstly i accidentally knocked a glass of red wine over one of the girls, and then while relieving myself before retiring for the night a cockroach decided to open a can of 'Whoop-Ass' on me. Shadows can play havoc with your imagination so when this tiny creature decided to charge me, for a second i had no idea what it was. This lapse of concentration forced me to retreat out of the toilet at speed, urinating like a fountain everywhere. A few moments later one of the girls came to use the toilet and perplexed to why i should be on all fours scrubbing the floor she asked the question, "What are you doing?" I wasn't met with the enthusiasm i had hoped for when i replied "Cleaning up my own wee!"
My Spanish is starting to improve slowly, and i am starting to grasp the basics, and can already count to 21, specifically in order to play table tennis! As expected i still make many mistakes including telling a waitress "i am delicious" instead of the food was delicious. I could tell be the look in her eye that she totally disagreed with this statement!!
While not working, i have taken it upon myself to explore the local vicinity. I tried this once on horse back, but after half a mile the horse decided enough was enough and started to trot back to the paddock. Obviously it wasn't too impressed with the clientele. I also decided to take a wade in a nearby river, but the current was a little stronger than i expected, knocking me (fully clothed) off my feet, losing a flip-flop in the process. The resident Tico fishermen found the following scenes of me running, swimming, falling and crawling 200 metres to retrieve my flip-flop highly amusing and pleasurable. I also trained with the local 5th division football team, although my lethargic display hasn't led to any invites back!!
Although i have thoroughly enjoyed my time here there are a few things that bewilder me. For example i think there should be a law to stop mentally disabled people from wearing T shirts sporting the logo 'Se* Bomb'. Personally i think its just plain wrong. I also find it interesting that universities here say that only American English is the correct form of English. I understand that this type is the most important in this region but to bluntly tell somebody that British English, understood all over the world is incorrect, is a little over the top.
The culture of women here is also something i have found interesting. It seems that the less clothing the better, even with unattractive pot-bellies. There are so many of these on show that i have come to the conclusion that these are seen as a highly attractive attribute. If only the same could be said about the male gender!!
I think somebody must have been listening to my concerns about the over-playing of James Blunt on Costa Rican radio as there has definitely been a decrease. Instead there has been a number of English commercials promoting the 'Showgirls Homecoming Tour'. Its nice to see the expats living here have their priorities in the right place!!
I'm counting down the days until i stop taking my malaria medication, which true to form is giving me hallucinations again. This time i woke up in the night and scared my girlfriend half to death as i thought her legs was a random dog sleeping with us. What a weapon!!
Well that's about all. I leave for Peru via Columbia in 2 days and plan to enjoy my last days as a proper tourist by touring a nearby active volcano. I hate being a tourist, but like they say, 'When in Rome'!!