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Posted by on Sep 1, 2015 in Animals, Attempts at Humor, Costa Rica, Guanacaste, Mammals, Travel | 21 comments

A Tamarindo Visit – Like a Bat out of Hell

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 bat?


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.

“On it.”

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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Greg Seymour is a quitter. At 41 Greg and his wife Jen quit their jobs, sold damn near everything they owned and became Intentionally Unemployed and retired early to Costa Rica.
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:
Greg Seymour Amazon Author Page

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  1. That is funny! You never know what you’ll find here or where! Great stuff, Greg!

    • Thanks Dan. Yeah, it was a pretty “neat” experience. I was most impressed with the composure of both bats as I ushered them into the bucket. They both seemed mellow… probably in shock.

  2. Greg you are a great story teller. I was on the edge of my chair reading about the bat encounter. It was a suspenseful tale. Hope Jen did have a sleep that night after all the hullabalu Thanks for sharing, I like keeping up to date with your and the wife

    • Thanks so much Elizabeth. I am glad you enjoyed the story. Thanks for following along with our adventures.

      PS – Jen got plenty of sleep once I got the second bat out 🙂

  3. Good stuff… A few years ago we went to the Frio bat cave not far from Leakey, Texas. Dusk came and millions of bats came out. It was an awesome sight. I believe it has the second highest poulation of bats in the world. Hawks were waiting close by to pluck them out of the sky. I have never seen anything quite like it.

    I really did think it was going to be a scorpion coming out of the drain and was tempted not to read any further. I can handle bats but scorpions scare the crap out of me for some reason. I think it is the fear of the unknown. I have never seen one before in the wild.

    Anyway, as usual, good story… like a regular raconteur. Glad you got the laptop fixed. Keep them coming.

    • Thanks Ron. There is a funny story about me and a scorpion from my third day in the country – that is in my next book though – lol. Glad you kept reading. We saw the bats fly from the Congress Ave bridge in Austin once… that was incredible.

      Yes, it was a tough three days without my computer – then another two putting the information back together as I had to restore the data from a month old back up. But glad to be computing again.

      Thanks for reading.

  4. Great story. I feel Jen’s
    fear. We’ve been to Tamarindo and loved it – in January. I suspected it might be pretty hot, humid and buggy in the summer. Just finished your book and I LOVED it.

    • Well, for the flies we learned to eat after dark… that was a huge help. Otherwise it wasn’t too buggy – maybe the bats had something to do with that!

      Thanks for buying my book. I am glad you loved it. If you get a chance please write an Amazon review they help with the book sales.


  5. I’m glad you didn’t kill them. 🙂 Great story.

    • I am not a fan of killing the animals. Scorpions yes, other bugs sure, but if they eat up the bugs and other pests I am a fan.

  6. Greg, what a great story! I look forward to your posts, and this was especially enjoyable because we’ve heard Jen’s perspective on parts of that trip. Keep ’em coming!

    • Thanks Linda. Yep – Jen and I definitely see things with different eyes – it works well for us.

  7. You have an awesome sense of humor and it clearly comes through in your writing.I was tense and waiting to read WHAT was going to show up out of the drain! The bat sounds horrible from your description. im so glad it came up for you and not Jen! Phew……

    • Thanks Irma! It was an interesting experience.

  8. Great story! I have a very high “Startle Reflex” — so I probably would have jumped through the tiny bathroom window. (Paul is always reminding me when I leap in fright as he walks up behind me “Honey, you’re married now — you don’t live alone any more” — he’s been reminding me of this for 25 years!). When we were house-hunting in CR 2 years ago, we were taken to a house in a beautiful setting out in the country. First thing we noticed — no windows, only wooden shutters. Hmmm … as we wandered around (just to be polite to the lady who’d given up her afternoon to take us there), I walked into what was supposed to be the “master suite” (hahaha). When my eyes adjusted to the dim light (because the shutters were closed), I looked up at the “decorations” along the ceiling — they were moving. They turned out to be about 25 bats! As you know, Greg, I don’t mind “rustic” but … woah! Theoretically, I believe in bats … they keep insects down, blah, blah, blah … but they do NOT belong in shower drains … or bedrooms! Great and very “illustrative” post!

    • Thanks Marilyn. Great story yourself – seeing so many in close proximity, that would have been a bit unnerving.

  9. Interesting story, well written and glad no harm came to you or the bat. I’m sure you also have a lot of geekos living around the house. Thanks for sharing your stories.

    • Thanks for the comment James. We do have a few geckos running around. We hear their chirp more than we see them though. I am a fan of any animal that eats up the bugs!

  10. That is awesome! i never saw a bat while I was there (that I recall…certainly not up close) but I was blessed to see so many creatures! One of my favorite memories was driving up by Arenal somewhere and coming to a halt as the road was lined with ticos and school children in their cute little uniforms, effectively blocking our way. We got out to see what it was…and it was a sloth crossing the road. Ticos were lined up on each side of it to protect it while it crossed the road. If you’ve been lucky enough to see a sloth move, then you know how comical it is that they move sooooooooooo slowwwwwwwwwly. We were able to proceed on our way…oh…about 20 minutes later. My kids really learned a lot about people and love for animals that day.

    • Animals and weather are two of the main reasons we love living here. It is simply a remarkable place. Interestingly, I was recently out on a hike and came across an abandoned house. As i looked inside I must have hit something startling a colony of bats that had taken up residence in the house. They swarmed inside the house, there were probably 20 of them flying around. Then they finally settled. It was a cool thing to see.

  11. Interestingly enough (and not to sound stalkerish but it’s a small world on the WWW) I believe we lived in a home that was probably just a hill or so away from your current home. We lived on a hill outside of Grecia, up a loooong hill, and I remember the buses would go up one hill, back down, then head up ours. You mention being close to Poas, we were on a hill adjacent to it. I don’t recall many names of places ( not like street names every mattered) but we rented this big house from a delightful Dona Ana who lived in Grecia. It was surrounded by a coffee field (on the property), there was a school about halfway down the hill. Very good memories. As soon as I mentioned moving back to CR, one of my daughters asked if we could still rent that house. 🙂 Our other favorite home there was rented in Ribera de Belen and is now a dental office.

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