We got invaded .. again !

Ok, this time it is not ants, or bears for that matter.  It is, wait for it … it is giant land crabs!  It just happens to be full moon and it just happens to be the beginning of the rainy season … and, as I just read (yes, it is 23:30 in the evening and I am reading wikipedia about land crabs … see terrestrial crabs and land crabs), it is giant Land Crab mating season!  Oh, baby!

So, last night and tonight we got surrounded by hundreds of giant crabs.  We were safely inside the mosquito net under the awning. At first we thought it was pretty cool to see these huge creatures everywhere. And then … then we came to understand the meaning of the word everywhere.  About 2 hours ago, which is about 9:30pm I was just finally dozing off.  I say finally because it is full moon and I was worried if the tide will come too high and we will have to move the car … Ok, this is a separate topic, but we are parked a little bit close to the water.  Anyways, so two hours ago I am dozing off and I hear something scratching at the tent.  Usually this would be a bird and after a quick tap on the tent from the inside the intruder would be gone.  So, there goes a tap and I quickly go back to dozing off.  Two minutes later there is the scratch again.  I tap again and turn to the other side but there is the noise again and again.  So I turn to Teresa, who is reading her book at this time and I am “Hey, there is something on the outside of the tent.  Could you please pass me the headlight”.  We turn the light on and we both scream for our lives.  There is a giant land crab hanging smack in the middle of the mosquito net on the outside of the tent.  It is an inch from my legs, just chilling and chewing on the net… Not to help at all the shadow of the stupid crab on the top of the awning made it look like a f*&ing alien!  Yes, we did scream a bit … Maybe I screamed a bit more than Teresa. Watch the video below.

T got out of the tent first.  She had to pee and when T has to pee there is nothing that can stop her … For once in the last 10 months I will say I was happy that Teresa has a small bladder.  So she is out of the tent and 5 seconds later she starts screaming.  There are more crabs climbing on the side of the mosquito net under the awning….

So we spent the next 30 minutes kicking crabs from the top of the car with a hiking poll and devising a way to lift the mosquito net off the ground for the night so no more crabs climb up.

It has been some time now but I am still a bit disturbed so I am writing a post instead of sleeping… Wish me good luck.


Update:  … every single one of the emails we got back for this post asked if we cooked the crabs … The answer is NO!!!  Let’s just say, we will ever eat crabs again.  These guys were frankly disgusting … Oh, and by the way there were no more crabs on the 3rd night.  It wasn’t full moon anymore so they were all gone … And thank God!


Car Update

Car update.  So far we have put 21, 000 miles on the truck.  Out of these we have over two thousand miles on dirt roads (roads that have never seen any pavement).   The miles on roads that were paved once in the last 30 years are significant but unknown.  I suppose this is the majority of roads in Central America (and the section of the Alaska Highway in northern BC, which is absolutely abysmal).

The damage so far:

  • Oil changes:
    • Mobile 1, synthetic 5W30
      • Distance: 7.5K miles
      • Jiffy Lube, Anchorage, Alaska
      • Comment:  Relatively good road conditions in Alaska and northern Canada.  The temperature was also moderate: 10C to 20C.  This allowed for a fully synthetic with high mileage on it.
    • Mobile 1, synthetic 5W30
      • Distance: 7.5K miles
      • Jiffy Lube, Long Beach, California
      • Comment:  The majority of these miles were in the US and Mexico in November and December.  With low average temperature this oil was appropriate.  The second part of the trip was between Belize and Costa Rica.  We did not hit too many hot places but we did a lot of steep and bad roads.
    • Motor Peak Performance 20W50, 50% synthetic
      • Distance: 3K miles
      • Toyota dealership (Purdy Motor), San Jose, Costa Rica
      • Comment:  The dealership recommended higher viscosity oil based on the mileage on the car (182K).  I decided to go with it since the driving conditions around here are much tougher (hot, humid, dusty and very long steep roads). The car can use more frequent oil changes.
  • Breaks:
    • Front breaks (Leon, Nicaragua)
    • Rear breaks (San Jose, Costa Rica)
    • Break fluid flush (San Jose, Costa Rica)
  • Suspension:
    • Front right wheel bearings (Leon, Nicaragua)
    • Front shocks (San Jose, Costa Rica)
    • Steering system flush (San Jose, Costa Rica)
  • Windshield:
    • Boy, is that baby cracked!

Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Yesterday we arrived at Puerto Viejo. This is a small town on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica about 20 miles from the border with Panama. The town has a healthy population of gringos who are here for the surfing, a national park that apparently has sloths (in BG: lenivetc) and tons of birds, and of course, what we came here for, the beaches.


We set camp about 5km south of town at a desolate beach. Our German travel friends Klaus, Sonja and Mia recommended this place to us. The beach is protected by a small reef right in front of it, which means there are no big waves so we parked 10 meters from the water. Awesome! After sleeping at absolutely crazy places the last three nights we totally deserve this place!

Last night about a hundred big crabs invaded us. I am talking 2 crabs and you make dinner …

Oh, and on the pictures you will see our new shower setup ☺. After showering naked at random places we decided that it is finally time to do something about it, so here it is.


G + T + Catarata del Toro

Klaus and Sonja showed us photos of this beautiful waterfall before taking off.  Since it was basically on our way to San Jose, and we were having so much luck sleeping in the parking lots of national parks, we aimed to sleep there and then visit the waterfall the following day.  What I had not planned for was private property and a locked gate.  We arrived just after nightfall.  Still hoping to sleep there, G tried to summon someone to the gate with no luck.  We eventually made it to a small village and finagled our way into parking in the drive of a local eatery.  This was another serendipity moment.  There was a semi final Costa Rican football match happening that night.  Every local restaurant and bar that lined the main (and only) street in town was open and showing the game.  People were moving between the establishments; it was clear that this was a close community.  The sounds that poured into the streets when a team scored were rousing. The crowd was well into the night and full of good “cheer”.  A local struck up a conversation with us.  He shuttled tourists around in a van and was there visiting a friend since it was off season. Our new friend soon brought us over shots of a drink that was made locally, chirrite (I think).  Now, “made locally” did not immediately translate in my mind to “moonshine – can cause blindness”.  It was fruity, went down well, and we can still see.  All is well that ends well.

Early the next morning, we headed to the del Toro Waterfall.  For all the hassle of finding a place to camp the night before, we were the only two visiting the waterfall.  Del Toro is a spectacular, must-see, 120 meters tall waterfall that lands into a small volcano crater.  The colors were dramatic because of the chemical soup in the water, and the spray off the falls stung your eyes a little.  Adjacent to the waterfall there was a mini rain forest with a one-kilometer loop through it.  There were over 50 different types of hummingbirds living in the forest.  I can’t imagine how it must feel to own property with a spectacular waterfall and a rainforest on it.  The owner of the property was a pretty cool Dutch guy in his mid forties.  He had retired from the finance industry and after a search for “something different” had found this property.  And was this something different …

We headed to San Jose after the hike for some TLC (from George: for all non-Americans out there TLC apparently means Tender Love and Care, simply put we went to the mechanic) on the truck.  On the way, we stopped in a little touristy town at a Dutch church.  We cooked up some lunch, enjoying the surroundings.  We also applied a special touch to the truck.

It took us some time to find a suitable camping spot in San Jose that night.  Our intended campground is now a giant supermarket, so that wasn’t going to work.  We asked about sleeping in a huge park owned by a local church, but were quickly shot down.  Something about churches and being charitable/helping people in need popped into our heads.  We finally settled in right outside of the park gates beside a well-to-do international school.  It wasn’t too long before a car pulled up beside us.  At first we were anxious until the noises floated into our tent.  Comedy, pure comedy.  We were alone the rest of the night.