Islands, animals and the porn of Costa Rica

Trip Start Feb 14, 2006
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Trip End Dec 15, 2006


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Friday, September 8, 2006

Hi everyone

Since I last wrote I have had a fairly incredible whirlwind tour of the Galapagos islands, animal sanctuaries in Ecuador, the Equator and, finally, San Jose (the capital of Costa Rica). Let me tell you what happened.

1) The Galapagos
Louise and I managed to spend a week cruising the Galapagos Islands and celebrating our 2 year anniversary a few weeks ago onboard a luxury catamaran. With an introduction like that it can't really have been a bad experience, could it? You're right, it was absolutely fan-bloody-tastic and I am sorry if I am about to make you all jealous. The islands, as many know, were one of the places Darwin visited whilst he cruised on the Beagle (in his early twenties!) picking up specimens for his naturalism fetish (having failed both law and medical schools, limping out of university with a degree in Divinity).

Anyway, they are an incredible place for anyone with even the slightest interest in animals and, considering I have now visited the Amazon basin 5 times and have signed up for almost a months volunteer work with an animal refuge, I have an interest. We saw famous creatures like the marine Iguana (the only sea going lizard in the world - it eats algae from the bottom of the ocean) and 'blue footed boobies'. The boobie (as could only happen in nature) does a famous dance during mating season called, appropriately enough, the boobie-dance. I must admit the fact that they only show each other their feet was a little disappointing. So much for humanity imitating nature. There were lots of other animals such as waved albatrosses (which naturally did not wave), Bottle-nosed dolphins, Hammerhead Sharks and (in what may well be nature-imitating-nature or naturalist-imitating-lazy bloke without much imagination) MelonHead Whales. Anyway, it was great.

On returning to land we visited THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH (or so the sign said). I doubt Jules Verne would have agreed that the French Monument to the equatorial line was that accurate however - the American Military determined about 10 years ago that the French miscalculated and the actual Equator is about 200 meters away from the monument. Ahhh, the french.

Anyway - away from that monument and at the actual equatorial line is a rather cheap but also kind of cool museum. They do an amazing experiment of letting out a tub of water on either side of the equatorial line and then watching how the water turns both clockwise and anticlockwise depending on which side of the fence that one sits. Really cool. They even let out the water on the equator and, amazingly, there was no whirlpool - the water just kind of vanished through the plug-hole. It wasn't all amazing, though, there was also a station where one had to balance an egg on a little nail head that was also on the Equator. I didn't really get the point of this but Louise managed to do it - they even gave her a certificate for her trouble (I am not kidding about that).

We then made a brief stop into the animal refuge we had tried to get into (but had been kicked-out of as I wrote last time) in the hope of finding someone new to show us around. Amazingly, we met an aussie girl named Kate who was amazing (the prick-who-kicked-us-out advised us he was drunk and unable to give us a tour himself - once again, I am being serious). The place was a fantastic combination of wonderful animals and stories of bastard-humans who did bad things to them. We met Bhagheera the Jaguar (named after the panther from Kipling's 'Jungle Book' - interestingly Panthers are actually Black-Jaguars and the Panther species does not rexist. More interestingly, as far as I can tell they also don't exist in India, where the Jungle Book was set, but I could be wrong. There was also a team of Pumas, Bears and performing Monkeys (also true, freed from a circus).

Last of all we flew from Ecuador to Costa Rica and arrived in San Jose. The start of our Costa-Rican experience has not really proven wonderful. Things started badly when they lost Louise's bags (although, after an hour or so, miraculously found them) - I decided my joke about 'where did all our drugs go?' was probably a bad decision. We then discovered that San Jose is really a sex-tourism hotspot for North Americans (kind of like Bangkok for Australia). We checked into a seriously-dicey looking hotel (bars on the front door do not say 'welcomeŽ) but they promised us cable, hot water and clean rooms. When we turned on the TV there was a special 'switch' on the wall - this suddenly revealed a 1-channel only XXX rated TV station that I certainly had never seen before. Orifices were being plugged at an unspeakable and most unnatural rate. We even saw what appeared to be a biblical-gay-porn preview called something like 'Adam and Evan'. It was very much Soddomy and Gimme more-ah (sorry, terrible joke). I would like to tell you more about San Jose but it was completely crap and besides I didn't leave the room for the next 16 hours.

James
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