Friday, December 9, 2011

Why I Don't Have A Hook For A Hand

     I was up the other night watching a program on the SciFi Channel, an interesting interpretation of the Peter Pan story. When the crocodile ate Captain Hook’s hand I was reminded of an incident that took place a few years back on a journey to Costa Rica.
     Central America is a wild and beautiful place; Costa Rica has reserved a quarter of its territory as a national park. I had just boarded a bus leaving San Jose, the capital and home to most of Costa Rica’s population. We were traveling through jungle covered  mountains and headed toward the sea. The rainy season was overdue and the air inside the bus was rank and humid. I breathed a sigh of relief when we pulled to the side of the unpaved road to enjoy the slight breeze, stretch our legs and paw through souvenirs displayed near a dried up creek.
     I had all the souvenirs I needed and, feeling like Indiana Jones, decided to explore the bottom of the creek. A local dark skinned boy of about ten saw what I was up to, shook his head and said something I didn’t understand in Spanish. As I proceeded to climb down he grabbed me by my shirttails and wouldn’t let go. He kept pointing at something in the creek.

     I didn’t see anything, just a bunch of old logs in scattered puddles. Then a bird flew by and landed near one of the puddles. A log moved. It was a crocodile, ten to twelve feet long, moving faster than I would have imagined. The bird barely managed to escape the croc’s snapping jaws.
     The boy smiled at my open-mouthed expression. I handed him a few dollars, all that I had. I had no idea that crocodiles inhabited Costa Rica and can only imagine what might have happened had I climbed down there. I’m not nearly as fast as that bird. I could have ended up with a hook of my own.
     I did manage to snap a few pictures. Have you ever made a near-fatal mistake on a vacation? I’d like to hear about it.


  1. That kid could make a good living off touristas like you. Haha! I've never even seen crocodiles (outside of a zoo) as I have a rule to never travel anywhere south of San Antonio.

    Near fatal mistake?....I got trapped for 8 hours in Disney World once, surrounded by thousands of little kids (three of them mine). Does that count?


  2. No I have not made a near fatal mistake on a vacation. This story terrifies me. I think I would be on guard in a place like Costa Rica. I had not heard of the crocs (they don't surprise me) but I have heard of the Army ants. Do not mess with ants in Costa Rica. They kill everything probably including crocodiles if they are stupid enough to get in the way.

  3. No I've not done that type of thing before. I have no desire to travel to remote places like that either. At my age? I don't think so. I'm happy that young man saved you from yourself.

    Have a terrific day and weekend. :)

  4. We did three months of Peace Corps training in Costa Rica and then lived in Nicaragua for two years...I never saw a crocodile. Who knew!!!

  5. Zowie! I'm glad that young boy was persistent, Stephen.

  6. Once I ate three scones with jam and cream in a Devon teashop. I'm not sure how I didn't die there and then, to be honest.

  7. Here in South Florida, you don't ever get into a river or other body of water that isn't the ocean, because of alligators. And one day I was driving just outside my neighborhood and a huge kimodo dragon crossed the street in front of my car. Most of the big, scary things we have down here are exotic pets that have been let loose.

  8. Near fatal........ not really? Maybe those street tacos I had in Mazatlan...... they nearly killed my stomach.

  9. Lucky for you that boy was nearby or you coulda ended up as reptillian dinner