Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   sick on the beach
Tuesday, April 1 2008

setting: Ylang Ylang Beach Resort, a half mile northeast of Montezuma, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

The jungalow tents at Ylang Ylang all share a common set of shower rooms and bathrooms in a round stone bathroom building with a thatched roof not too far away. Each bathroom or shower is a 60 degree trapezoidal sector of the building, and it was in one of the bathroom stalls that I found myself early this morning. My stomach was feeling terrible and I thought that if I could just explode into a toilet, all would be well and I could continue enjoying my tropical vacation. But as I sat there, I determined that my gastrointestinal plumbing must have seized up. Nothing was moving and there weren't even any mumbles coming from my normally conversational intestines. As I sat there, I saw a little land crab had scuttled in beneath the door and was just sitting there in the corner of the trapezoidal bathroom.
I thought maybe a hot shower would cheer me up, so I went around to one of the shower rooms and showered. Ylang Ylang shower stalls feature free shampoo dispensers, so I used the shampoo as shaving cream so I could reset the time indicated by my facial hair. Gradually, though, I felt a wave of nausea creeping up on me and I realized I couldn't continue the shower. At first I sat on the floor, but the tile wall was too cold on my back and I had to get out of there. I emerged at the back of the thatched stone building with the towel wrapped around my waist. Unable to stand or walk, I sat on a low stone wall and waited for the horrible feeling to pass. Some old guy, another Ylang Ylang guest, came up as I sat there, and though I know I must have looked very strange sitting there, there was nothing I could do. After he'd gone into a bathroom, I found I couldn't even sit; I had to lie down. So I stretched out in some dead tropical leaves, which were thick and leathery like those of a Southern Magnolia. The old guy who'd gone into the bathroom eventually emerged and maybe saw me lying there, though thankfully he didn't acknowledge me at all.
Eventually I mustered enough strength to walk back to the jungalow, and at some point Gretchen was awake enough for me to tell her that somehow I'd fallen ill. Getting ill on vacation is normal for me, though both of us wish it weren't.
Gretchen thought my problem was due entirely to dehydration. I'd drunk plenty of coffee and five alcoholic drinks yesterday (three beers and two fruity happy hour concoctions) but had hardly drunk any water. So she forced me to drink water, which I did with some difficulty. She also thought that maybe if I drank some coffee it would get my intestines moving, perhaps to the point where I could convey whatever was wrong with me out of my body. But the coffee tasted horrible to me, partly because I'd allowed to go cold while psyching myself up to take a sip. Perhaps it would make me throw up, which would also be a good outcome.
Gretchen also got me ginger ale, tea, and mango juice, but I couldn't keep up.
Strangely, though, I was able to continue reading Confessions of a Shopaholic, at least for awhile. At some point, though, I was so miserable that I couldn't even do that. It was time for some drastic action. So I stuck my thumb down my throat in hopes of making myself throw up.
I was only able to puke up the tiniest bit of vegan nachos (which had sat in my gut undigested all night), and at first I was disappointed. But then my body took over, realizing somehow that I had given it permission to puke. So I puked and I puked until I had nothing left. It was a terrible ordeal, with each wretch accompanied by the strain of powerful involuntary muscles pulling so hard that I feared I was being torn apart. But when it was all done I felt much better. I soon found I was able to drink water by the glassful again (as opposed to by the sip).
By this point Gretchen had returned from town (Montezuma) with saltine crackers. I ate the first packet reluctantly and thought that was the best I could do. But then, on a whim, I ate another, and then another. Pretty soon I'd moved on to a bowl of super-rich granola. The sudden influx of carbohydrates gave me a blood sugar boost sufficent to convince me that I was healthy once more.
So Gretchen and I went down to the beach to sit in hammocks and read. But when we got there, we found that some people taking pictures of a tribe of White-faced Capuchin Monkeys. Gretchen excitedly ran around to the other side of the pocket of jungle to get a better look. But I was still feeling weak, so I stretched out in a hammock and passively watched from one place.
At some point I noticed that one of the monkeys was the one with only half a tail, an individual I started referring to as "Bob." Bob seemed to be much bolder and more aggressive than the others (this probably accounted for both his missing chunk of tail and his torn upper lip). At one point Bob saw me in the hammock and came charging aggressively out towards me, stopping only a dozen feet away. I was astounded that a little monkey would think he would be able to frighten me away.
Bob was obviously well-respected in his monkey tribe, because he had a could buddies who also charged me when he did, but neither were quite as bold. They kept a half-pace behind Bob and didn't have quite as much craziness in their eyes as they did so.
Eventually the monkeys decided I wasn't much of a threat, so they resumed their foraging. The ones on the ground were the easiest to see, and their foraging consisted of picking up small logs and leaves and picking at the ground. They must have been eating insects.
Eventually Gretchen returned to my side of the patch of seaside jungle, and now she was carrying an overripe mango. You're not supposed to feed the monkeys, but Gretchen threw it down anyway, just to see what would happen. Only a few seconds elapsed before a monkey (of course it was Bob the Bold), ran out, looked around nervously, scooped up the mango (a heavy fruit for such a small primate), and returned to the jungle. He immediately handed it off to one of his buddies.
After the monkeys headed back inland, Gretchen went off to where we'd seen monkeys yesterday. But she found land crabs instead. She came back reporting that hundreds of land crabs had appeared out of nowhere and were gradually scuttling towards the ocean.
Soon afterwards, crabs started appearing right there where we were. Evidently this was their evening to come out and overrun the land.
I tried to go to dinner with Gretchen, but as I sat there at the table I felt weakness and nausea returning, so I apologized and headed back to the jungalow.
Actually, though, I had hopes of maybe being able, finally, to detonate over a toilet, so I went back to the stone shithouse and sat on the pot. By now the ground was so overrun with land crabs that it was hard to shut the bathroom door. A half dozen of the little multicolored fuckers had wedged themselves into the gap between the door and the jam where it was hinged. You'd go to close the door and feel resistance and then hear an unearthly hiss as one of the crabs squealed in pain. It was impossible to get any privacy unless one first flushed out that crack with a stick.
On the way back to the jungalow, I saw an enormous toad. It looked exactly like the familiar toads of Upstate New York, except it was half the size of a housecat, or so I told Gretchen when I next saw her. We went back so we could both see the monstrous toad and it seemed I'd exaggerated. It was only about a third the size of a housecat, but it was still plenty Alice in Wonderland.

(all photos by Gretchen)

Sunrise in Costa Rica.

Me this morning.

A raccoon track? That's Gretchen's foot.

The Ylang Ylang jefe's house.

A lizard at the pool.

A pair of White-faced Capuchin Monkeys.

Bob the Bold takes a mango.

One of the many land crabs swarming the beach this evening.

Me reading my trashy novel.

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