Wild Things

Originally uploaded by apes_abroad.

Today was a very doggy day. As soon as I opened ‘the wall’: our front doors which make up a full 1/6th of our hexagon shaped house, our neighbor Larry’s dogs came over to greet us. Nearly as soon as they left, a trio of dogs I’d never seen before took over the deck. One of the females looked suspiciously similar to the puppies we’ve seen hanging out at the bar. They were probably strays although it’s hard to know here, and they were friendly and healthy and content to lie at our feet in the morning sun. Larry and I hatched a plan to adopt one of them while we’re here and get her spayed before we go.

Later in the afternoon the half owned, half stray pack from the next cove over crossed the river and caused a ruckus with the local dogs. We only worry if they go after the iguanas, who are cat sized dinosaurs with a tendency to fall off the roof and surprise us. The biggest, which Colin nicknamed ‘Monty’ (pictured here), comes out to bathe himself in the sprinklers at midday while all the dogs are sleeping.

We haven’t seen a howler monkey yet but today we found tracks by a stream, and of course we can hear them in the hills every morning and evening – I can hear them now like the roar of distant lions. One morning we had scarlet macaws in our yard pulling huge bean pods out of the trees. They used to be common here but disappeared in the 80’s during a time of local development. They’re coming back now with the help of a raise and release program in Tambor.

This place is a birder’s paradise, but so far I’ve only identified the macaws and the long tailed grackle which is basically a crow with an expanded vocabulary. There are lots of green parrots and yellow birds with squawky voices, hummingbirds and seabirds. The pelicans are fascinating, how they so clumsily dive into the water and bob up, then float about for a minute trying to swallow their fish.

Yesterday we watched people come to take the coconuts from our neighbor’s yard. One guy climbed up barefoot then a machete was passed up to him on a rope. He tied ropes to big bunches and they lowered them down slowly so they wouldn’t crack. Huge fronds were sent crashing down with a well aimed chop from the machete and a shout of either warning or joy, I wasn’t sure. In the end they had too many coconuts to take away so Colin grabbed some, borrowed a machete and started practicing his coconut opening techniques.

Sometimes, in the middle of the day or night, a coconut will fall off one of our trees and land with a loud and recognizable thud. We hurry out to see if it is a tasty liquid filled brown one, or one of the sad aborted green ones which usually split on impact. I know they’re not great for you but the allure of eating something from our own yard is pretty strong.


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