Adventures of the Heart
Mary Zalmanek
Costa Rica - The Sting

Saturday, November 10, 2001

Hola Amigos y Familia, 


You may be as tired of hearing about scorpions as I am of seeing them.  I swore to myself after the last email that I was done obsessing about scorpions unless one actually stung someone.  Perhaps those little buggers knew they were about to be written out of the story line unless they stepped up the action.

Roxanna, Linda and I were getting ready to leave for lunch.  I was putting on my rain jacket and felt something pinch my arm very lightly as if some hair had gotten caught in the Velcro on the cuff.  I took my jacket off, looked down the right sleeve and found nothing.  Then I felt a very sharp sting of a scorpion on my left thumb.  He was dead underneath the nearest shoe moments after he hit the ground. 

He was a relatively small scorpion, which brought to mind an email I received the previous day.  Roger wrote, "I've only been bitten twice by scorpions. The smaller of the two was the worst--would have cut my finger off if I'd had a knife. It was about the size of your pointing fingernail. Worst pain ever! Other one was three times bigger, but was more like a mild bee sting."

Jim said, "Hide the knives!" 

This scorpion was nearly two inches long, much bigger than Roger's fingernail-Dead scorption that stung mesized scorpion.  Jim put ammonia on the sting, Linda found something in her first aid kit for stings, and Roxanna gave me a Benedryl.  The sting was just a little bit red and inflamed.  It's a good thing I had a full audience when the scorpion attacked since I would have gotten very little sympathy otherwise for such a small wound.  As it was, Roxanna the Brave had tears in her eyes.  All of Jim's family and the employees were compassionate and helpful.

Within an hour the throbbing had stopped, and within three hours the numbness was gone.  When I got it wet several hours later, some of the stinging came back, which gave me a great excuse to get out of doing dishes.  

If I would have known early on how mild the scorpion stings are, I could have done this trip with a lot less whooping and hollering.

What has happened to the great weather?  It's been horrible -- raining steady for the least three days and still going strong.  During the six days Jim's family was here, we got 8.6 inches of rain.  You would think this is a rainforest.  (Oh yeah, it is.) In September and October, it seldom rained for more than an hour or two a day, and frequently the rain fell at night. The temperatures were higher and there was no wind.  The guidebooks talk about the rainy season ending in November, but that's on the beaches.  The weather patterns are reversed where we are in the mountains.  The locals tell us that November and December are cold (I'm still in shorts, so that's a relative term), rainy and windy.  For some unknown reason, November is the start of high season.  Villa Decary's rainfall records show a much drier October and November last year, so this could be a fluke.   

Jim, Jim Sr., Charley, Roxanna, and Linda enjoyed a trip to Tabacon in spite of the rain.  When you are sitting in hot springs, a little rainfall can be a welcome relief.  Clouds blocked the view of the volcano, so they had to settle for postcards. 

We had saved the canopy tour for their last day, and much to our disappointment it was canceled due to high winds.  From our protected vantage point at Villa Decary, we had no idea the wind was even blowing.  When we had lunch the same day at Lynne's house on the ridge just down the road from the canopy tour, the wind was howling.  

One day we opened a bag of potato chips for lunch.  The chips were crisp when we started eating.  By the time we finished eating, the chips were soggy, not exactly dripping wet, but they had definitely lost their snap.  This is so different from Colorado where the chips would still be crisp in an opened bag after a week (maybe even crisper).

We have some kind of electrical problem at the moment.  If Jim was writing this, he could give you all the specifics.  All I can tell you is we have six loads of laundry that can't be done until Mainor's friend comes over and fixes whatever has gone wrong with the wiring.  Reliable electricity and water are just a few of the things I'm looking forward to when we come home.  Oh, the things we take for granted! 

We have a temporary break in the action.  After a wonderful week with Jim's family (in spite of the rain and scorpions), they left this morning.  Our other two guests are out and about.  Jim's brother, Mark, and his girlfriend, Paula, should arrive in a few hours.  Our vacation starts on Tuesday.  I'm looking forward to having breakfast served to me for a change. 

We will not be able to access email after Tuesday, November 13 until we get home on November 20. 

In the meantime, I need to plan some menus and buy groceries.

Un abrazo y un beso (A hug and a kiss),

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