“Stay where you are! Stay where you are! Stay. Where. You. Are. Don’t move!”
“What’s happening?” Darren asked bolting upright and grabbing onto the ‘Oh Shit Handle’ in our small rental car.
“Oh, Crap, No!” I cursed simultaneously with a large ‘thunk’ followed by the blood curdling screeching and scraping of the undercarriage of our small rental car.
I killed… No. I ‘Sh-MEARED’ a huge five foot long lizard all over the road and car.
The worse part about the whole thing was looking back in the rearview to see the mini bus full of happy tourists behind us being sprayed with the innards and dismembered body parts of the beast all over their front end. Their looks of joy replaced by distorted horror .
I am now officially a murderer of wildlife and wrecker of vacation happiness.
Darren and I were on a vacation by ourselves, without children. Two weeks just the two of us. Lounging, reconnecting with each other and adventuring.
This is the second time Darren has visited the country and my sixth. We had just recently purchased a Condo in Playa Del Coco a few months earlier. I had come down to CR last October to shop for condos with my father, Don. That trip was an awesome adventure and bonding experience for us complete with Giraffes and new friends abound. Read that blog post here,
However, this visit with my husband was his first time seeing the condo we had purchased in person, baring photographs. He was extremely happy with what my Dad and I had chosen!
We had stayed in the luxury of our beautiful Condo for most of our holiday but had to leave for a few days. We had renters coming in to enjoy our Condo. Taking this opportunity we chose to travel inland from Coco Beach to La Fortuna.
La Fortuna is a town at the base of Volcano Arenal which is your quintessential cone shaped volcano rising from the juggle scape! I think it is a must see for travelers to Costa Rica and it is one of Darren’s favorite places to visit for a few days while in the country.
All around the area are hot springs fed by thermals from the Volcano. There are many options for hot springs available, some being quite pricey but are like a dream spa adventure; to a free option which is literally swimming in a river that is hot and steamy.
Darren’s favorite is Baldi.
This is the slogan on the Baldi website:
Amidst the tropical rainforest, these 25 thermal water pools are filled by crystalline waterfalls, for the use and enjoyment of all visitors.
The purity of the water will make you feel like you are floating in a oasis of healing, with birds singing all around and the sound of falling water that invites you to relax and recover your wellness and quality of life. Sounds divine. Right?
It is on the pricey end of things but has gorgeous grounds, water slides, three swim up bars, and as mentioned 25 thermal pools…Darren has bought in, lock stock and barrel. His favorite ‘pool’ is actually a cave. The cave is essentially a very hot steam room, with a few hot water falls and a cold shower so you don’t overheat. He feels like the atmosphere in the cave opens his lungs and even repairs them.
Darren in the Cave at Baldi
So you can imagine with that kind of certification coming from my husband, I would not get away without visiting the place.
Now when you are in another country visiting and you settle down in the evening, before going out for dinner perhaps, you might want to watch a little TV. Now also imagine there is only one or two channels that are English … You tend to end up watching the darndest things.
While in La Fortuna one evening we turned on the TV for a half hour or so and happened upon a program all about the Right to Die.
A lady was interviewed the day before her scheduled death. She brought in the interviewer to show them the parlor she had ready for her body for viewings. The outfit she had sewn herself to be worn at the viewing and the framed photo of her smiling wearing that same outfit.
She had been given a few months to live and wanted to decide how and when to die.
So the next day surrounded by friends and the camera crew, a Doctor assisted her to end her life with lethal injection. She laid down and said to her family, “see you on the flip side” and went to sleep.
This TV program came to mind more and more as our vacation went on… Over the last days of our vacation I had killed a large lizard, and narrowly missed many more.
The road from La Fortuna back to Playa Del Coco is a beautiful winding one through jungles, mountains, and small villages. It is so fun to drive, with the swerving roads. You feel like a race car driver. But now that I have Iguana juice all over my car, I’m not amused anymore.
In my defense the animal literally ran under the tire of the car at the last possible second. If it had just stayed put in its sunbathing position I would have drove right passed it. No harm no foul. But no……
I had been passing the mini bus. You remember the happy tourists looking out their windows, taking in the stunning beauty that Costa Rica has to offer. I had just passed them noting their happy smiles. I remember it vividly because I thought ‘it must be their first time traveling in CR because they were taking a transfer.’
We, too, had used the transfer services in CR when we were newer visitors. Now we had graduated to car rentals and driving a country known for it’s not so fabulous roads and almost no road signs. We were quite smug with ourselves, feeling truly proficient.
That’s when I noticed the giant lizard! Sunning itself on the side of the road… I came up with a quick plan… Ok. Stay in the oncoming lane ’till you pass that huge sucker…. Oh no, it looks like he’s going to move. Don’t swerve. Keep the line. It’ll be fine… No he’s moving! Arg! “Stay where you are!…”
A few km’s down the road Darren couldn’t take it any more. He had to see if the car was damaged. His imagination said that the fender is hanging off the front of the car by a thread.
My imagination saw a large lizard head stuck in the fender with entrails dangling…
I didn’t even want to hold the steering wheel. My car had been soiled.
I pulled over and we hesitantly looked with our two differing pictures in our heads waiting for confirmation.
And… The verdict is….
It looks fine except for a small new scratch right on top of an old one that was noted on the ‘walk around inspection’ done at the time we rented the car.
And no body parts!
I guess they are all over the front of that poor mini bus. The mini bus has been soiled. – wrecker of vacation happiness.
For the remainder of our holiday Darren had to go on lizard suicide watch! It’s kind of like being on Moose watch in Northern Canada. The passengers job is to look in the ditches for the driver as a second pair of eyes to help avoid hitting Moose or any other large game.
After about the fifth lizard who darted towards the moving vehicle we started joking that these lizards did not want to live. Like that program we had happened upon, they too, wanted the Right to Die. Apparently I was the Undertaker and these poor fellows preferred death by moving vehicle.
I can imagine it now… The lizard on the side of the road… he’s thinking ‘Here she comes. The bringer of death…’ “Good Bye Curel World!” he yells as he throws himself in the path of my tires…
Darren yells “Lizard.”
I’m like.. “No, no, no! Stay there!”
We are playing dodge the lizard. And the stakes are high.
*It is important to note that this article is true and is relayed to you in humor. I have the utmost respect for people who have terminal illnesses and believe that it is the right of the individual to have the Right to Die with Dignity. I in no way think that people going through terminal illness or having suicidal thoughts is funny. I sympathize deeply with them and their families.*