Where the Wild Things Roam
Gandoca Travel Blog› entry 6 of 72 › view all entries
August 15th, 2006 – by: Higton
The 20-minute walk itself is a challenge. At the house of Doña Elena, we change into Wellington boots, the reason for which becomes immediately apparent as we wade through mud and standing water just outside the Doña´s back garden. And we wend our way past a banana plantation and into the forest proper. We cross several impromptu bridges and destroy a number of spiderwebs.
The farm itself is sturdy enough and the work mostly manual. Most of my working time was spent clearing brush with a machete, the blade being the least of the hazards. During my 10 days, I saw one snake during a ramble around the borders of the farm. A little blue and red viper. However, they´re supposedly everywhere. I can also not recommend hacking into wasps´ nests. Their stings are certainly more immediate than the bite of a mosquito, although thankfully not as long lasting.
Perhaps it was me, but there were three people to start with. After 4 days, the elderly American woman who arrived with me left because of the heat which made here sick. Then, the local farm hand seemed to throw a wobbly (my Spanish not yet good enough to understand what occured) and he left, along with the $60´s I gave him. I´m a sucker for a sobbing man.
As my friends will know, four days in my company is a trial for anyone. I am not immune to being irritated by myself. The solitude was fabulous for thinking and reading, but it was also a little scary. If one get´s bitten by a snake, lowering the heart rate is essential. Yet for me, help was at least 20-minutes away an would have involved exercise.
My last night on the farm comprised of a bottle of rum, yet another plate of rice and beans and the singularly most incredible thunder storm I have ever had the priviledge to witness. It was awe-inspiring. Normally, the forest at night is pitch black. Yet the sheet lightening lit the whole farm up in epileptic brilliance, reminding me of the old movies in which a murderer suddenly appears at the window in driving rain. Which was a nice thought. But it was the volume and pressure which really impressed. The thunder hurt my ears and the pressure wave shook the wooden frame of the farm. The noise was like God snapping a 50 metre tree like a twig and then hammering the forest floor with her fist. I would not have missed it for the world.
And yet in the morning, all was the same - unless there was just a little more standing water and the odd elevated stream. Perhaps it never happened?
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