Image via WikipediaI've been looking at images of Costa Rica, while trying to set up a template for the blog.....an attempt doomed to failure given my general incompetence with anything involving pressing buttons combined with Blogger's unwillingness to recognise anything other than its own templates.
What do I find?
Toucans, turtles and youths in crash helmets hurtling through the treetops on ziplines.
I'm fine with toucans....they breed in the telegraph pole up behind the house where they perform antics I would have thought unbelievable outside of a cartoon animation.
The length of the toucan...bill to tail.... is greater than the width of the telegraph pole.
Going home for the evening they fly straight for the nest hole...and disappear within as if some magic hand has seized them!
Every evening I expect to see one crashing right through the other side, bill surrounded by splinters, but ..no.
They know what they're doing.
Turtles I have yet to encounter. We don't frequent the beaches much.
Long gone are the days of turtle soup, the callapash and callapee served at the Lord Mayor of London's banquets, though you can see turtle eggs on sale all over Costa Rica...fishmongers, general stores...you name it...despite all the legal restrictions on collecting them except under controlled circumstances.
Various types of turtle come to lay their eggs on the Costa Rican beaches, both Caribbean and Pacific, but with the rise of the luxury resorts on the Pacific coast which are illegally enclosing public beaches for the benefit of the few who can afford their astronomic prices, the turtles face a greater risk to their survival than from the egg collectors and the mass of predators which await the babies on their long run to the sea once hatched.
The baby turtles head for the brightest light...which is under normal conditions, the sea. The bright lights of hotels, restaurants and entertainment areas lead them off their path.....and away from their already slim chance of life.
And as for these goons hurtling through the treetops on ziplines....usually shouting in exhilaration....who on earth thought that this was an appropriate tourist activity for a country which sells itself to the tourist trade as 'green' and respectful of the environment!
There can't be a self respecting bird, animal or insect within miles of the things!
I see that the Costa Rican tourist industry paints as misleading a picture of the country as does its French counterpart....for whom France consists of the Eiffel Tower, the Moulin Rouge and croissants.
In both cases, the publicity is there to sell things...restaurant meals, hotel rooms and tickets for entertainment...and a lot of what would be really interesting to the visitor is ignored.
The trouble is that you don't start to find out about those things until your holiday is nearly over....when you've met some of the people who live outside the guarded enclosures of the fancy hotels and the seclusion of the guided tour bus.....when you've gone shopping for food, not for souvenirs...when you've taken local transport...when you've got lost doing any or all of the above!