Sunday, January 28, 2007

pacha 2

I’ve just chased a scorpion under my bed, perhaps even into my bed. It was under my laundry basket, and in the gathering darkness I decided to take my basket to the laundry whilst looking for my torch. I picked up the basket to see a black shape run below my terrible little bedside table. Groping in the semi-darkness for a torch in the presence of a scorpion is not so much fun. I thought I’d just push the table across the floor and out the window – my table, being terrible, tipped revealing the little black beast. I hopped on the bed and with my trusty broom reckoned on just sending the thing flying. Well I tried, but the only thing that flew was my broomhead and I watched in horror as the little bugger absconded under my bed. Still unable to find my torch I used my laptop for light, nothing under the bed save for Norah who was looking at something above her head, something now on the underside of my bed. It’s a little one, maybe 2 inches. Hopefully it’ll go back to the laundry basket I left.

My casita has water but no electricity. I have the option of moving to one with electricity, but I really like the one I have. There’s a house not so very far away so I’ll see if I can get a long extension cable. I only need a light and music. Casitas are very basic dwellings, about as simple as you can get really. A shed roof with wide eaves over a wooden frame with floor, one full wall and 2 half walls. Mine faces the ocean which I can just about see, but I can hear at night. They all sit on stilts to make the most of the breeze. I am at the top of the cashew plantation and walk past lemon, banana and mango trees to reach my steps. It’s a fairly steep climb home and I’m grateful for my cold outdoor shower. It’s very private, but I have two houses close by, though out of view, and pass two other casitas on my way home.

view from my bed

and at sunset

Hoss is out barking at armadillos. Armadillos don’t care. They just bimble about not being phased by anything or anyone snuffling out insects and hopefully scorpions, incredible creatures with long narrow tails and long narrow noses and this incredible roundness in the middle. They look straight out of a Monty Python animation. Norah is over the stream meowing, I don’t like her following me down to the kindergarten, and while I would love to have her with me at work there are too many dogs roaming about who would hunt her. Hopefully she’ll give up and go home, though with Hoss’ barking she knows we’re here. I’m sitting in the kindergarten charging up my laptop before I return home. I spent the afternoon re-arranging the furniture and cleaning up, I spent the morning with the horses and having coffee with Aria. A good Saturday. Tomorrow I’m on horse duty again and then I’ll map out where I’m putting the cob bench and the garden in the kindergarten yard. Maybe lie in the hammock for a bit. Eat some chocolate. Take some pictures. Life is very slow here, slower even than normal for Costa Rica. Norah made it over the stream, here she comes now.
Hoss and Norah at home

On Friday we planted a tree in the kindergarten, I had asked for a fruit tree and we got a jackfruit. Seemingly an enormous tree with absolutely delicious fruits, it’s from Asia. Now I discover that the jackfruit is also the largest fruit in the world, each fruit weighing up to 20 kilos and, even better, has a hard shell covered in spikes. What better for a school playground????

my classroom

off the mountain

This is Pachamama, earthmother in the local Indian language, she sits in the center of the community I’ve landed in. It’s an eco-village and retreat centre, international with people from Israel, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Romania, Russia, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Belgium, France, Spain, England, Scotland (me!), Canada, the US, Costa Rica and Brazil. There are about 70 full time residents with visitors coming for anytime between 2 weeks to 9 months.

It has about 500 acres and sits on hills facing the Pacific, the land slopes down to a wide shallow river and then on to the sea. Many little valleys and hill crests make it feel fairly enclosed and sound carries. It was a dairy farm 7 years ago but after planting 15,000 trees it has a nice jungle feel. Most of the trees are natives (there are some exotic fruits from Asia) and have become home to several troupes of howler monkeys. These howlers are pretty friendly and fairly tame. They never come down to the ground but seem happy to sit above you in branches watching just as we are happy to sit on benches watching them. There are several plantations: teak, cashew, pivoti (a thorny lumber tree), cacao (chocolate), banana, pineapple, mango, coconut and orchards including jackfruit and durian.

bananas by the showers
pineapples growing outside the kindergarten

There are also gardens growing greens and vegetables. Goats supply dairy and horses give manure for compost. People live in either houses or casitas sprinkled throughout the hills and valleys but almost all come ‘downtown’ to eat.

open air café, ‘Wild Treats’

Downtown is small but practical with dining areas, a café, internet café, laundry, shop, hardware store, storage space, the school, showers, healing center, offices, it’s all pedestrian and dotted with lots of shady mango trees.

mango tree in front of the dining area

the welcome center

the shop

There are two restaurants nearby both with pools which make a nice change, and there’s a beach bus twice a day which goes to a very quiet and beautiful beach with a reef, so the swimming is good.

the beach at San Juanquillo