May 16:  Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

I was up at 6:30am, but again couldn't sleep due to general adrenaline, and the ratio.

We (except the Dutch girls, who were skipping the nature walk) left at 7am on a minibus for Manzanillo (nearby) with our dreadlocked guide Ricky.  This side of Costa Rica is Afro-Caribbean, so his look is quite standard.  There's a standard smell on this side as well.  The way Bob Marley songs smell.

We had breakfast in Manzanillo.  I had my first serving of gallo pinto (rice & beans) along with an omelet and papaya juice.

Our nature walk, which we were looking forward to as more of a strenuous hike and which I think was advertised as such, started out very slow at 8am.  It was along a straight path parallel to the beach, and Ricky kept stopping for long periods to talk about plants.  Sarah asked Fabi to ask Ricky to speed things up, on behalf of all of us.  But the hike naturally sped up.

First cool thing:  a howler monkey.  Looks kind of like Bigfoot here, but this (and many others in this travelogue) is a zoom shot that was tough to focus.

Another howler.

Golden orb spider.  It's about this big.  Its silk is astonishingly strong.  Later at Rara Avis, Josh would show us a spinning wheel on which he captures golden orb silk, and presumably does something odd with it.

This shot just reminds me of the Gilligan's Island lagoon at Universal Studios.

Two bats hanging from a leaf.  This should be vertical to the right.  We were warned not to use a flash on certain animals like bats because it can blind them, and I messed up here because I didn't realize my flash would go off in daylight.  Poor little now-blind guys!  Yes, but as a noted bat, it'd be a bit surprising if a tourist blinded ME with a flash.

Sloth.  Our favorite animal of the tour.  There's a baby poking out on the right.

Jesus Christ lizard, so named because it can walk on water.  I tried researching this creature prior to the tour and couldn't find anything on it.  I later found out that the US media has renamed it the Obama lizard, due to its additional recently-discovered miraculous abilities such as reversing free-market recessions and buying votes through massive government spending.  That's why my Googling was coming up empty.

Somewhere in here I ate live termites!  Three of them.  One tasted like black pepper.  Others ate them, but I think only one apiece.  That reminds me...Kristen, you still owe me a drink for the grasshopper and crickets in Bangkok.  I guess St. Patty's Day 2010 is the next target.  Also, somewhere in here, Ricky rubbed his fingers in his armpit to coat them with "fermen" and stuck them in a hornets' nest, to no ill effect.

While still at beach level we had to cross an inlet, which in theory would have been below the knees if we'd stayed on the sandbar, but that was tough to do.  My shorts got soaked.  But on the other side we started to go up into the hills, where there was more good stuff.

Hello!  Yellow eyelash viper.  I think this is the 2nd-most dangerous snake in Costa Rica.  It was on this branch at a lookout point over the Caribbean.  Hard to see, and hard to focus on.

Hello again!  Black poison dart frog.  This was in a muddy hole at a difficult angle, and I think I got the best shot out of the group, so here it is.  The red poison dart frog has a toxin in its skin that causes problems if it gets into your eyes or a wound, but the black frog's toxin goes into your pores.  Bad frog.

Millipedes getting it on.  Check out those gams!

Hello and Whoa.  Costa Rica's Most Dangerous Snake, the fer-de-lance.  These things will chase you.  Sandy told us about a guy who was bitten by a fer-de-lance and immediately macheted off his hand to keep the poison away from the rest of his body.  It is known as the Ultimate Pitviper, which probably means that it demands creative control, flakes on appearances and creates a comic book about itself.

We saw a pile of tadpole eggs, which was a big white gooey mass with tiny nascent tadpoles swimming in it.  It looked like a giant foot-wide load.  Tasted like it too.

Near the end of the hike, Ricky referred to someone's wildlife guide and described the yellow-black-yellow pattern of a particular snake as "a black man surrounded by two Chinamen".  It's refreshing to hear that word.  I need to use it in my standup.  I used "cunt" the 3rd time I ever went up, so "Chinaman" is long overdue.

After the hike we (Fabi, Sandy, the Canadians and I) had lunch at Maxi's (again, it's in Let's Go, and also recommended by Fabi).  The sisters stayed on the beach.  I had chicken fried rice and a sugary yet weak caipirinha.  The Dutch girls showed up...they biked to Manzanillo on their own.

At 2:30pm we rode back to Puerto Viejo, and along the way we saw the Best Thing Ever.  Not the "Best.  Thing.  Ever.", because the extra periods are exceedingly douchy.  Just stop doing that, all of you.

Our driver stopped the van and we all got out and there was a real live three-toed sloth SLOWLY crawling across the road.  He may have fallen out of a tree, or was just trying to get from one side to the other.  The marking on his back is normal, not an injury.

Crawling down off the road into the trees.  That sloping face looks prehistoric.

This might be my all-time greatest photo of all time.  He looks like the result of Paul McCartney impregnating Heather Mills' missing leg, if that leg had been a panda instead of a whore's leg.

We got back to the hotel before 3:30pm.  I went into town with Sandy and found and Internet cafe, but the browser was messed up--I couldn't delete e-mail, Facebook was a blank page (I was able to updated my status using the mobile version of the page through IE), and the Big Ass Rotisserie Baseball site was missing sections/frames.  Delgado officially went on the DL but I couldn't bid on potential replacements because of the browser problem.  So I returned to the hotel, showered and updated my journal until our 6:30pm dinner meeting.

Side note...I'd wanted to go to Panama today, which I didn't think was very far from Puerto Viejo.  But on further investigation it seemed to be more time-consuming, and I didn't want to disappear from the group for a day.

Dinner was at Tamara.  I had shrimp in garlic/butter/onions/tomatoes with rice & beans, and three Imperials.

During dinner, a cat crawled up into Anna's lap.  This reminds me of the famous Zsa Zsa Gabor appearance on The Tonight Show, when she asked Johnny if he wanted to pet her pussy, and he answered "yes, but you'll have to remove that damn cat."  Allegedly, this incident didn't really occur.  But it's a lot more entertaining than if Zsa Zsa had found her way into Jay Leno's Pussy Galore bit from 1988.  Jay Leno is the Kenny Bania of comedy.  [I'm glad he's dead, or at least out of late night as I type this.]

AW.  Sarah took this using my camera, which is why it's ill-centered.  But AW.

Talked baseball with Sarah during dinner.  Baseball chicks are cool, as I said earlier.  Her dad is a sportswriter.  Somehow the conversation felt like a date, where I go off on multiple tangents and keep losing track of where I left off.  In fact at one point I said "I've run out of anecdotes.  Now you tell one."  To paraphrase the late Troy McClure.

First group photo, minus me, but that's good because this is a terrible photo.  Red eyes everywhere, and several people don't look as good as in real life.  From left:  Anna, Rian, Marieke, Phil, Tara, Fabi, Sarah, Sandy.

Next to our dinner table was this homoerotic baptism painting.  HOT.

After dinner we were talking about what celebrities I look like.  I may have initiated the topic by mentioning that Rebecca Cave said I look like Tom Hanks.  Marieke said I talk like Tom Hanks, which I guess is OK.  Phil said I look like Robert De Niro, which I like a lot more than that Dustin Hoffman thing from the Scottish chick in Rio, but it's still old.  Apparently I look like 30-year-old regular guys but 60-year-old actors.

We all went back to the hotel after dinner, but then the sisters and I went back into town to a place with a reggae band (which we could hear from the hotel, so it was pointless not to go there).  One song they sang was "International Herb", which I need to download.

I got back to the room at ~10:45pm.  The room was crawling with ants.  I sprayed repellent on the floor, which helped a bit, mostly by repelling.  I noticed I had lots of mosquito bites.

Bed 11:15pm.