A Tamarindo Visit – Like a Bat out of Hell
It’s not that I don’t notice things, I do, but I have always been a bit lackadaisical with things that do not pose an immediate problem. This trait has blossomed in our two years in Costa Rica, so as I stepped into the shower I didn’t think much about the drain cover that was only half covering its hole; like an eclipsed moon.
This was the first shower I ever had taken in Tamarindo. We had spent the bulk of the previous day traveling. Waking at 5 am to bus from our home on the slope of Poás volcano, high above the town of Grecia, down into town where we caught another bus that would take us to San Jose. And then to the Alfaro bus terminal where we would catch our third and final bus of the day that would take us to our final destination, the beach town of Tamarindo. We arrived at the terminal an hour early. This was a good thing as after waiting in line for 20 minutes and finally purchasing our tickets we learned there were only 6 seats left.
We do not own a car in Costa Rica. Being Intentionally Unemployed allows us to have more time than money, a nice trade off if you ask me, so while the seven hour bus trip to Tamarindo could have been completed in a car in five, it only cost us about $20. A residual affect of having time is that we are extremely flexible with our schedule and when an opportunity arises we can normally take advantage of it. When our friends asked us if we could pet sit for a week at their home in Tamarindo it did not require juggling of schedules for us to say yes.
We had arrived after dark and after greeting two excited pups we settled in for the night. The next morning was when I noticed, but didn’t do anything about, the drain cover. Jen had already taken her shower and it was my turn to wash off the travel-grunge. The shower was warm and I opened the porthole shaped window for airflow. I soaped up from top to bottom. It was when I looked down during the bottom portion of the cleansing ritual that it appeared in the shower pan – about a foot from my foot.
A misshapen frog was the first thing my mind came up with. It resembled a loaf of the brown bread you get at Outback Steakhouse, that size except darker and with a tail.
Shit, that’s a bat.
Even after two years of living in this country, this “Most Bio-diverse on the Planet” country, I am still hesitant to get Jen involved in anything regarding the animal kingdom. As proud as I can be of some of my manly duties, almost without fail, bugs will get squashed or swept without ever mentioning to Jen what a great thing I did.
She is a bug-a-phobe, one that has come a very long way in two years, but the fear is still ever-present. My guess was Jen was a bat-a-phobe as well.
Once I was surf fishing out on Galveston Island in Texas. I was alone and had waded out to the third sandbar and was casting while in chest-deep water. Suddenly my popping cork darted under water and after a short fight I had the fish next to me. It was a shark; a hammerhead. The small shark was maybe 18 inches with a small mouth filled with teeth. I released it back into the water and continued to fish but one thought kept bouncing into my head – where is momma? As much as I tried to be cool and continue fishing – my day was done.
Standing in the shower I felt that same impulse. I tried to be cool and finish what I had started but the fear of this bat moving, or attacking would not allow it. I was naked and needed an implement – a bucket probably would work. Needing a bucket meant needing to get Jen involved.
“Please find me a bucket.”
“Honey, there is a bat in the shower with me, I need a bucket please.”
A bucket was found and sat on the outside of the bathroom door, Jen was not coming in. I stepped over the only type of mammal that can fly and I wondered how my foot appeared to the bat’s sonar as I stepped over it. I pushed the lip of the bucket toward the bat and the docile, waterlogged creature complied, inching his way into the bucket without flapping his wings at me.
I took the bucket and bat to the back porch and set him as gently as I could on the deck railing. I had heard that bats must start their flight from an elevated position which is why I chose the deck. After leaving the bat to dry out outside I reflected on what happened. My guess was he was hanging out in the drain when the deluge of Jen’s shower hit. She left and Mr. Flying Rat decided to get out of the drain, but then another human came in, so back into the drain. I saw, and did nothing about, the drain cover and the deluge repeated. Human standing sentry or not the now drowning bat had to get out.
30 minutes after letting the bat outside I checked on him. He was still on the porch so I moved towards him. That was enough time and motivation to get the guy moving and he jetted away from me – like a bat out of hell.
If I were able to follow the simple lead of my wife this would be the end of the story. After this eventful first shower Jen started placing a shampoo bottle on top of the drain. On our second to the last day, someone who will remain nameless, removed the bottle from the drain cover and did not replace it – just to see what would happen.
We had spent that day at the beach and then had a sweltery early dinner constantly having to shoo the incessant fly attacks. By the time we got home from a day out I needed a shower. As I stepped into the shower I noticed the drain cover askew – yes/shit!
“Honey, we might have another bat.”
You need to find him or I won’t sleep.
I looked high and low in the bathroom. I looked high and low in the attached bedroom. No bat. By this time Jen had come to the bedroom and was laying on the bed and I informed her of my futile search for the fugitive.
Jen reiterated, “I will not be able to sleep tonight. Please at least close the bathroom door.”
As I pulled the restroom door shut I heard a wailful, high pitched demonic scream.
“I found him.”
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In addition to writing on this blog, Greg has written for other online publications and has written two popular books about living in Costa Rica:
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