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
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Irving housing

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   Casa Frangipani trail
Friday, February 24 2023

the northwesternmost casita at Toucan Hill, Montezuma, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

This morning Gretchen met her Spanish teacher Andy at 8:00am so they could have an immersive Spanish experience at an open-air market in Cóbano, the main town in the middle of the southern Nicoya Peninsula (it's the only place, for example, where one can buy gasoline). While she was away, I spent most of my morning over at the pool so I would be outside the penumbra of Light's frenetic energy. He was mostly on calls all morning working on whatever his post-crash crypto project is. (I keep imagining it's a scam, which it likely is, though maybe it's not.) While I was over there, I paid close attention to the antics of the various iguanas, who kept going into and emerging from one of the hollow support beams beneath the pool deck. At some point I noticed that Boris the big flamboyant one was high up in a tree sunning himself in the middle of the day. Why wasn't his cold blood boiling up there? Later I saw a couple smaller Boris-style iguanas chasing each other through the underbrush of the nearby jungle.
Gretchen returned in the late morning with a number of purchases, including (surprisingly) a pouch of nutritional yeast. She also had things like brussels sprouts, a weird siamese-twin carrot, and supposedly very hot "Panamanian" pepper (it resembled a ghost pepper).
Early this afternoon, Gretchen and Light took most of their stuff over to casita #2 at Casa Frangipani, near the end of Calle Linda Vista, leaving me by myself at our casita on Toucan Hill. Without adult supervision, I thought I could indulge my desire to drink alone, which is always fun when (as I had this morning) I've taken a 150 milligram dose of recreational pseudoephedrine. But then Gretchen came back unexpectedly because she needed her passport to rent the casita at Casa Frangipani.
It was a pretty low-energy Friday for me in the remote workplace, especially once I'd drunk the last to that rum I'd bought in Santa Teresa. I continued to investigate a data issue and then got distracted by a line of questions I wanted to ask ChatGPT. I wanted to investigate whether it had a reward/punishment system similar to the human experience of pleasure and pain. So I asked ChatGPT to rate, on a scale of 0 to 10, how comfortable our conversation was for it (assuming 0 to be very uncomfortable). The chatbot demurred with its relective "As an AI language model...," to which I said "sounds like you're at a 5," and it demurred again, though with more brevity, and I said, "now you're at a 3."
At some point I had the leftover guacamole and refried beans from Sano Banano on tostads with a few shreds of that Panamanian pepper. The pepper was good, but not as hot as expected.

At the end of the workday, I walked over to Casa Frangipani with my phone and my camera, taking pictures of a pair of motmots on a wire along the way. I found Gretchen and Light hanging out near the pool. I wasn't there long before we set out on the trail down to the Montezuma waterfall, which lay somewhere down in the gorge directly behind Casa Frangipani. Initially the trail was fairly easy, complete with steps hacked into the clay. But then the path joined the boulder-strewn bed of a small creek and it became more challenging. And eventually the creek spread out as thin film across a large monolithic cliff face, something I'd seen from below at the Montezuma Falls. This was, as I suspected, the small tributary that flows down into a small pool near the falls. That's the pool where I found the makeshift crayfish trap the other day. It was impossible to go down the creek any more, so we had to find our way out to an adjacent part of the landscape which had more footholds in the form of rock ledges and roots. I was below the others at the time, and somehow Light lost both his flipflops, which came tumbling down to where I was. I couldn't see anything better to do with them, so I put them together on a ledge. But then I had to climb up from that ledge because I could see no way down. Light thought he would be abandoning his flip flops, but I figured I could somehow eventually retrieve them.
At this point we'd strayed from the actual "trail," such as it was, because now we had to find our way across a cliff face with few in the way of handholds. I managed to make it to a root that then got me access to a ladder of roots to the bottom of the cliff. Light also made it there, but with her shorter arms Gretchen had more trouble. So I climbed out on the cliff face to help her out. In so doing, we all managed to make it down to the swimming hole at the bottom of Montezuma Falls, though at some point along the way my phone slipped out of my pocket without my noticing (though fortunately Light and Gretchen found it moments later). There were maybe a dozen others there when we arrived, which was well after the supposed 4:30pm closing time of the gorge. The three of us all went for a swim, including Light, whom I had yet to see in water.
After sitting for a time on the rocks near the base of the falls, I walked along the shoreline to the pool at the bottom of the small river tributary and then began climbing. This wasn't as difficult as expeced, as I could find lots of dry rock with plenty of footholds. Doing so, I was able to climb all the way up to where I'd put Light's flipflops, which I then threw down into the pool for him to retrieve.
Not wanted to head back up the "trail" to Casa Frangipani, we decided to walk down the gorge into Montezuma and find our way back from there. As always, we moved much more quickly than the people who'd started down this trail in front of us.
After walking through Montezuma, the three of us began hitchhiking well before the first switchback, hoping to get a ride before the rapid onset of tropical nighttime. To our delight, the very first car that came along stopped for us. It was a single Tiko woman driving home from a workday. She said she was a schoolteacher. I'd assumed three people hitchhiking would be much more difficult than it was.
We walked first to the casita in Toucan Hill to get supplies for making dinner, and on the way Gretchen saw a pair of collared aracari toucans, one of which I managed to photograph despite the dissipating light.
Over at the casita at Casa Frangipani, Gretchen cooked up brussels sprouts and green beans, heated up some refried red beans, and cooked tortillas directly on the gas flame the way I like to do it. To her horror, there didn't end up being very many tacos. But neither Light nor I were especially hungry, so it wasn't really a problem.
Soon thereafter, I started getting sleepy, so I climbed into the bed in the casita and found it very comfortable.

Boris the Iguana in a tree below the pool late this morning. Click to enlarge.

Motmots on the wire below the Toucan Hill casita late this afternoon. Click to enlarge.

The screech owl at Casa Frangipani. Click to enlarge.

The Montezuma River Falls, seen from high on the Casa Frangipani Trail. Click to enlarge.

The Montezuma River Falls, seen from nearby. Click to enlarge.

Gretchen and Light hiking down into Montezuma from the falls. Click to enlarge.

A collared aracari toucan near our Toucan Hill casita. Click to enlarge.

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