Friday, October 29, 2010

Procrastination can wait

Is it my fault that I don't have a Friday the way Robinson Crusoe had?  

Or is it my fault if the calendar moves so fast!!

Of all the skills that I have acquired over years; my best skill would be the art of procrastination.

How else would one justify my deferring in backing up of data residing on my laptop even though I had my external HDD with me all the time? The result - my system crashed!!

Its another story that my 2 greatest digital treasure packages - vast collection of music and photographs were backed up. But the notes related to technical work at office? What about them? They are all gone! Who cares. :-P

Things can wait my dear! If I can do stuffs more efficiently tomorrow; why do it today and end up clumsy? With time, you gain experience. Likewise; tasks done tomorrow than today turn out better and perfect as you would have gained some more experience.

See, I will tell you how. Why wash your car today when it could get a better wash when it rains tomorrow? But its not an easy art let me warn. You got to be focused, dedicated and sincere and believe the mantra "DO IT LATER". Start off on simple tasks.

Laundry? Nah...I have some more clothes for the next 10 days..So LATER.

Dishes? I am bored with my cooking. I am eating out, dont need of dishes......So LATER

Bath? I just got a limited Edition of Davidoff Cool water Frozen...Want to test it effect.....So LATER

Some call it a disease. I feel pity on those poor naive mortals. Whats fun in finishing tasks on time? Have you experienced the thrill in starting late for a Rajnikant's movie? You drive and zip across, honk, bite your nails and wish how you had Rajnikant's speed!! If you did not know; it has been scientifically proved that he travels faster than light. A copy of the report is on its way to heaven for Einstein to read.

Folks! does anyone of you know how tough it is to be idle? How we must fight hard to convince ourselves that putting off until tomorrow would sure be a huge benefit? How tough it is to hold off an otherwise tempting task? It needs oodles of grit to say LATER.

I feel depressed when I hear the word END. I do not like the term STOP. I neither like to FINISH nor do I use the UNIX command KILL.  DEADLINES are unreasonable and an END is unceremonious. STOP is rude and KILL is heartless.

Procrastination is my virtue; SOMEDAY I shall set up a society exclusively for it.

Procrastinating has its benefits; I will write about them TOMORROW

I wish to be a seasoned procrastinator; HOPEFULLY sometime in FUTURE.

I believe in MIRACLE and a better TOMORROW and I have HOPE.

I shall WAIT until the LAST MINUTE!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Costa Rica - Final Travelogue

 The hike back was easier for obvious reasons. Our baggage was lighter as the food we carried were all consumed. It didnt matter to me because Gautam was sweet enough to carry my backpack while going; I pretty much had to swing my hands free while hiking and enjoy the nature. The only stuff that we carried back from the ranger station was our trash. Its a clean environment and each visitor who came in had to accumulate the trash that piled up during the stay and take it back and not leave anything behind. The hike back was faster as we knew the landscape, knew what to expect and so were prepared. Another reason was we didnt have to stop to admire the animals and the birds and didnt have to spend much time photographing.

We started off early as we had to hike 16 kms by 1 PM to avoid high tides and thus crocodiles, bull sharks and hammerhead sharks. We did see more animals and birds on our way. Walked through devastating destruction of the rain forest due to gusty winds and rains and saw landslides of great magnitude. Gautam bathed in one of the waterfall on our way back. The weather was perfect, mildly raining, rainbow overhead; vast expansion of teal colored sea, few birds hunting for fish, rain forests all lush and green; synchronized pace of walk; collecting shells. I managed to collect few huge conch and corals that were abundant on the beach. They adorn my living room now :-)

William was a very interesting character; sociable, gregarious and childlike. He got very comfortable with us they way we got comfortable with him. He felt good that we respected him for his authority on the rain forest and we let him know how important he was for us and that without him; this would have been impossible. He reciprocated by mentioning that he never felt he was with visitors and he felt we were like locals belonging to that place. He was very passionate about the place and the flora and the fauna. He went great lengths to protect them. He mentioned about how tough the job was for rangers to hike days together in the forest to preserve and protect it. The rangers stationed in the ranger station had an easy job of keeping count on visitors and monitoring the area even though they were away from their family. That was anytime better than carrying heavy backpacks and hiking days together around the forest.

He took very good care of me; helping me cross the river or climb up in the forest or while walking down a steep area. He made sure I was safe. Among other things, he was constantly mentioning about how he was very different as a kid. In his words, "Bindu, I was a bad man". When I asked what he meant he said "I dont want to say. You will stop liking me" :-) I insisted and after much pursuance, he told me how as a young boy he killed many animals which he is striving to protect now. Once he and his uncle captured 100s of Coatis and shot them all as they were raiding their fields and destroying crops. He killed snakes, frogs and what not. My face turned pale and I said "That was bad William" to which he immediately shot back "See, you dont like me anymore". :-)

He was interested in what I do, what kind of job and such. He asked me age and when I asked him to guess; he guessed it right. Later the discussion went on to why women hide their real age and he was sharing an incident with me about an American visitor he met and they went around. She didnt reveal her true age until she left and when she parted she left a letter for him where she apologized for lying about her age.

We were served steaming hot coffee at the ranger station. Another interesting fact we were told was how few rich people from other countries like USA, Spain, France came in there; acquired lands and didnt let the locals venture into it. These lands included part of forests, beaches, water falls, creeks. How could beach, water fall, forest be a private property!! The Costa Ricans didnt know the value of their resource and sold it off to these foreigners and were now poor. William was mentioning how sad it was that they could not venture into their own land. We saw lot of "Privado"(private) written on wooden planks. But now the government has realized that and come up with a rule where foreigners cant own land but only lease them for certain number of years.

After reaching Carate, we waited for couple of hours to get a vehicle to go back to Peurto Jimenez. William's potential father-in-law didnt get his message and so he was not there with his Prado to pick us up. We also had an American couple for company. The ride was bumpy, tiresome and 2 hours long. We chatted all the while; continued our chit-chat through dinner. William took leave to freshen up and when we got back; it was just to say good bye. He was unattached and it was just business. We started to miss him.

The next day we left for the capital San Jose. Before that, William took us to the shop where he got his custom made machete as I was in love with it. I bought one as well as a souvenir. We bought a couple of T shirts; big good byes. William while parting gave a hug and said this "You have a friend here. Anytime you want to come here; just call me". 50 kms from San Jose was an active volcano site and a national park. The drive through coffee plantation was scenic. It was raining; foggy and we could see trees cutting through the clouds - the cloud forests. Visited these volcanic sites and the national park and got dropped off to the airport on time.

Guess what? We waited to get our boarding passes for an hour or so and when our turn came, the lady at the desk said "I am sorry but the flight is full". Thought she was kidding; but it turned out that they always overbooked. So even though we had our tickets booked 1 month earlier; we could not board that flight!! They talked about some compensation which was anyway useless; put us in a next day flight to El Salvador and from there to San Francisco. They put us up in a Holiday Express hotel near to airport and we were told; passengers being denied flight is normal. There was one person exclusively meant to fetch passengers from airport to hotel. Had to make calls to people concerned to let them know of this unprecedented turn of events.  Now time for few pictures.

Jesus Christ Lizard. So called due to its ability to walk on the surface of water :-) When fleeing from predators, they gather sufficient momentum to run across the water for a brief distance while holding most of their body out of the water

A view of the beach as we hiked in rain

The devastation; broken and uprooted trees due to heavy rains

A Tarantula. We dared not disturb

Flock of Magnificent Frigatebird. William asked me "Do you know why the fly in that shape?" When I answered; he was impressed :-)

A secluded bunch of trees.

At the ranger station at La Leona, this young man was enjoying the view. 

Either a species of Antbird or Flycatcher

Does it not look like a Dolphin's tail?

Criss crossing paths

This species of plant was abundant in the Volcano Poas area.the leaves are very large; almost 5 feet in diameter. When translated from Spanish; the name of the plant is "Poor man's umbrella"

One of the new leaf. Look at its stem. Does it look like poor man's umbrella? Who can hold this spiky stuff?

Volcano Poas. Its an active stratovolcano. There are 2 lakes near it. The acidity of the lake is almost pH 0; the most acidic place and supports no life of any kind. Seen here is the crater with fumarole activity.

A pretty clear view after the clouds cleared; visible is the sulfuric lake.

Lake Botos. Botos is named after a tribe that lived near this lake. One of the lake near the crater. It fills an extinct volcano; and is surrounded by cloud forests.

At the La Paz Waterfall Garden park.

This one is a Morphus. Remember my first post on Costa Rica and this marvelous butterfly? Seen here is the underneath portion of its wings.

Scarlet Macaws

The Sloth

There were 100s of humming birds of all colors. They were so agile and were fluttering all around. It was a delight to watch them

Any idea why all of them are standing on only one leg?

My souvenir from Puerto Jimenez - a machete

Costa Rica experience was rich and it would be memorable for long long time :-)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Costa Rica - The Trek Continues

I concluded with the hike to Ranger station in my last post on Costa Rica. The ranger station was good 20 kms away from the spot we started our hike. Hiking alternatively through the rain forests and along the sea was an experience.

The ranger station was in a remote location; no phone, no TV, no communication possible with outer world. We didnt know what day it was or what time it was. Surrounded by forests; amidst chatters of the Howler monkeys and the Cicadas, it was bliss. Food was simple; we packed pasta and tomato sauce, tapioca, carrots and tuna for meat eaters.

The second day was rest mostly. But we did have short treks of 5-6 kms early in the morning. We spotted few animals unique to the place and a poisonous snake. We saw Tapirs again. William was sweet enough to get rubber boots to both of us as it required to walk in slush and we were not equipped.

A drizzling morning; in a secluded area; only you and nature; no one else to spoil the moment. We were basking in this moment of what? I cant express the feeling. It was out of the world; English or rather no language has any apt word to describe the feeling. Both of us were questioning each other if this moment was for real or were we dreaming.

Click on the photos to see it in large frame. You can appreciate it better and it will be a good feast for your eyes :-)

Can you spot the rainbow? We saw rainbow 2 successive days. I consider myself very lucky. I have never ever seen rainbow on 2 successive days; I am not sure if I will get a chance in future

 Also saw Tapirs 2 successive days. We were the only lucky ones. There are people who camp for weeks together to get a glimpse but they dont get to. These two had a collar around their neck. William was very disturbed and was mentioning someone would be studying them and that he has to report to the forest department. He was really very concerned.

As we started a short hike the 2nd day; William just stopped on the trail and showed this to us. If it not for him; we would not have noticed. He said there were around 135 species of snakes in Costa Rica and 17 are poisonous are most deadly on earth; and they could be found in Corcovado. They are rarely seen by tourists. This one is Fer-de-lance; a venomous pit viper and the most poisonous. This was a baby; curled up on the walking area.
William said that it takes less than 10 minutes for a person to die if bitten by this baby

So he disturbed it and made sure it went away from any vicinity so that its safe for humans and also for it. When we mentioned to other campers that we saw a Fer-de-lance, no one believed. They were like how could you see Tapirs both the days and now this? Uuumpph!! We had to show this photo. 

Rio(River) Sirena joining the sea.

An American crocodile in Rio Sirena. These crocodiles are smaller than the Australain Caimans and are  salt-water crocodiles. They are not a threat unless dumb enough. We did play in the river and bathed. William didnt mention anything abut crocodile presence. It was only after we saw this; he mentioned about them. Later we saw many more. But on an average they kill 1 person annually and recent times; they have treated themselves with tourists :-S He also mentioned about Bull sharks and Hammerhead sharks coming in from the sea during high tides.

William also quoted incidents when he has tourists from Australia and they ask him to show caymans.  After seeing this smaller ones, they are disappointed as they end up visualizing Caymans as big as Australian ones. The largest here can grow up to 6 ft; bigger ones are generally 3 to 3.5 feet.

Anhinga or the Snakebird. Looking for fishes.

Sirena Ranger Station in the middle of nowhere :-)

The three-toed sloth. I understood after seeing this thing why there was this idiom "As slow as a sloth". Watching it in action seems watching a scene in slow motion. It just hangs from a branch and its color of fur provides a good camouflage. Its so so sluggish.

The Golden Silk Orb Spider. Builds large webs. Closely examining it; we saw her mate's half eaten body. She had eaten off her mate.

 A Cicada

One more type of Cicada

A typical tree; strangling one another. 

Norops polylepis - a species of lizard. William explained that the female ones have a orange-yellow dewlap under their neck. Males dont have them. He captured a male earlier and then this one. 

A vibrant orange-yellow dewlap.

A temporary exotic earring for William :-)

Can you spot the bird? Clicking birds were really tough. They just flew away. We saw so many birds but couldnt click all. This one is Crimson collared Tanager. We could spot them on such plants. Flying from one plant to another. Their neck, breast and tail are crimson;

As we were talking back to the Ranger station after this short hike; William stopped near a rolled not yet mature banana leaf. He held it close and seemed to push something out in a pumping fashion. 5-6 creatures flew out and he caught one. When he showed it to us; we were perplexed for a while and then realized what it was. It was a bat; safely snugged inside the leaf.

Suction cup bat. I held it to have a closer look and poor thing was helpless. It had sharp teeth. They have flat adhesive suckers attached to thumb and hind feet which helps them to climb and adhere to leaves

A close look at the suction cup

A partially colorful spider delicately crawling on a leaf

A Tamandua Anteater just walked across the ranger station.

Playing soccer at leisure

The front porch of the ranger station

William realized that I did not like the spaghetti and tomato sauce.  My first evening went in eating tapioca and carrots. Second evening; he was sweet enough to bring the meal the office sponsors for him. Wonderful gesture that was. He had to make do with spaghetti.
Rice, black beans, cabbage, mashed potato and avocado.

 This is a Cane toad. It was loitering around the dining area. Saw many such toads hopping around. They were as huge as football.

Thecadactylus rapicauda - a large gecko with turnip shaped thick conical tail. Found this thing preying on an insect near the rest room. It is capable of changing color.

William just took us somewhere near the station and showed this one. This is the Red-eye green tree frog. Their red eyes are bold, green body and their toes are orange. Gautam held it. William immediately took it back and washed the frog with water as Gautam had his hands smeared with insect repellent cream which was poisonous for the frog.

Dining area; other campers

 He got the lizard down for us to have a closer look. All of a sudden, the gecko  released its tail as a defense mechanism. Closer look at the tail revealed its conical shape and we watched it slither for more than 5 minutes. I am refraining from putting the picture of the tail as not all would appreciate that; most of you might find it gross :-)

 Our tents. Gautam kept food bags in my tent; a rat was loitering inside and disturbed my sleep. It had eaten half an apple as well.

A visitor. 

The Great Tinamou. Was loitering near the station

This low land rain forest is so interior that poor folks do not have a proper paper weight. They have to use skulls :-P

William's machete and its holder - custom made for him. This leather holder had "Costa Rica - Pura Vida" and "Parque En Corcovado" etched on it. Also were macaw, horse, toucan, humming bird and turtle.

Sorry folks, I forgot its name :-(

We started off hiking back the third day. Saw few more animals and birds; hike spiced up with interesting conversations, coconut water and hot coffee. This and other visits in the concluding post which is the next post. :-)