Multi-Mono Culture, BriBri, Spiders and Bananas…Day 9, 10, 11

colored pencil drawing of woman with leaf as a head and cherries and leaves as hair

Self-Portrait as a Multi Cultural Goddess

Margo and Madonna met me in front of the church in Grecia and off we headed for Puerto Viejo.  Torrential downpour through the mountains, then an obstacle course of potholes, in the dark, from Limon to their beach house.  We could have been lost forever in any one of them…maybe dropped into the bowels of the earth, met up with those folks who are living in the center of the earth…but we made it there safe and sound.

Madonna and Margo are incredibly interesting.  They have traveled all over the world covering human rights’ issues for a Central American radio station. I shall say no more as I think that should be their story to write.

On Sunday we drove to the center of the BriBri’s (an indigenous people) land and then were taken on a 3-4 hour ride between Costa Rica and Panama in a canoe that had been carved out of one log.  We went up-river through rapids that were probably 3’s in river rafting terms with one guy poling in the front and another in the back.  Eight of us were in the canoe in total.  These were skinny little dudes doing the poling…I say this because we weren’t “skinny little dudes” doing the sitting.  We hiked up to a waterfall and swam in the pool beneath it.  There were two Italian guys with us and one fell and bruised his face pretty good.  We told him it made him look macho…which he was not at all if you know what I mean. 

Madonna fished the entire way. When she didn’t catch any fish on the right side of the boat, she threw her pole into the left side and announced that she was going to try the fishing in Panama. The BriBri said that even though Madonna was actually raised in Puerto Rico, she was more Costa Rican than rice and beans. They did not say that about Margo and me and I am still to this day puzzling over that one.

We hiked to an area that has about 30 BriBri families, though you’d never know it as you couldn’t see one house while at another.  It takes anywhere from five minutes to one hour to go between houses.  They prepared a wonderful lunch for us in a thatched house with bark floors. You had to climb a ladder to enter.  Guillermo took us on a tour of their organic, multi-culture banana and cocoa plantation.  We slipped and slid through mud up to our ankles, but it was incredible. 

Colored pencil drawing of a banana tree with a face and a nipple

Mono Culture (aside: mono is monkey in Spanish)

The banana trees can live 20-25 years in a multi-culture setting, but only five years in a mono-culture setting.  The BriBri also raise many medicinal plants, one of which Margo takes for depression rather than pharmaceutical drugs and says it works great for her. All in all, it was an unbelievable adventure.  Margo and I kept looking at each other and saying “we are a LONG way from Wisconsin.”

That night we went to hear some music in Puerto Viejo, which is like a mini-Jamaica, very different from San Jose and the Pacific Coast which have hardly any black folks.

Monday we went fishing and snorkeling in the Atlantic and I saw unbelievable fish and coral and snails.  By the way, the beach house is on stilts and huge (over a foot across) crabs live under it and all around it.  Madonna catches them sometimes and puts them in a cage, feeds them till they’re fat (how do you know when a crab is getting fat?…could they be skinny inside their shells?), then eats them. 

 

Colored pencil drawing of spider with face and woman's body

Portrait of My Sister Patsy as Spider Woman (checking to see if she reads this)

I walked smack into a huge spider web the first day on the way to the toilet, which, by the way, is outside. And by huge, I just want to say the body of the spider was around 1.5-2 inches long and .5-1 inch wide. This is not counting the LEGS. So you can imagine the size of the web. I don’t mean to be a wuss about this, but it was something out of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. There was a point in my life when I thought I might become a naturalist…Indiana Sarah and the Temple of …. Incidents such as this have convinced me that I made a wise choice in not traveling that path.

Everyone kept warning me how dangerous Limon and the Atlantic Coast are, but M and M said Costa Rican’s think this because there are black people there.  Racism is pretty rampant – boo hiss.  Even I might have been a little leery of the men walking along the road with machetes, though, if I hadn’t seen Madonna gardening. Madonna gardens with a machete.  It seems to be an all-purpose tool on this side of the country.

M and M’s regular house near San Jose is gorgeous—lots of windows, lots of wood, and a bathroom that is totally cool.

The butterflies have been unbelievable—huge iridescent blue ones; red and black ones were mating right in front of my nose.

The cats were also doing something in front of my nose.  One male and one female youngster in a 69 position nursing on each other…and the male had an erection.  The female was kneading her paw into him very, very near this erection, too.  Hmmm…decided to draw outside to give them some privacy.

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1 Comment

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