Saturday, January 8, 2011

Mal Pais Journal #3

Yesterday John, Marni, Geoff and I took a long walk down the beach in the late afternoon while Bob and Mary, who together have run the Glenwood Spings, CO., Summer of Jazz festival for the past 25 years, stayed by the water’s edge. Bob wanted to watch the few surfers who were able to reach the rideable waves 200 yards off shore, while Mary brought her acrylics to do some painting.

Walking south on the Mal Pais side we passed the flat dark gray area of rock that appears to be lava flow. It’s hard to imagine what else it could be, as it is as broad as several football fields and at some points stretches 100 yards off shore. At high tide this huge shelf is submerged, but at low tide it is above the sea level and here and there are small, deep pockets of sun-warmed sea water that people use as natural hot tubs, sans Jacuzzi.

On the way back we were all treated to a stunning Costa Rican sunset of yellows, oranges, pinks and purples that Mary deftly captured on a small canvas. Later, while having a pre-dinner drink in the villa John shares with Marni, the lights flickered and went out briefly. Yesterday there was no phone service in the morning and no Internet access for most of the day. And still no access this morning.

We are all sorry that we forgot to bring a birding book. In the early morning the air is filled with the chirps, jabber, calls and songs of dozens of large and small birds who share the trees with light reddish-brown squirrels that have a thick strip of black running down their backs from head to tail.

This morning at 6 when John, Bob, and I walked down to the beach to assess the waves (sadly, even more disorganized and frenetic than yesterday) we heard the distant groaning howl of a howler monkey. The mating call (if that’s what it is) of this creature sounds like such agony that you wonder why he even bothers (both with the call and the follow through).

In the absence of surfing I think I’ll go for another walk. Have to check my shoes for scorpions before I put them on.

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