Did you know that armadillos are the only creatures, apart from humans, who suffer from leprosy?
It’s true. I learnt that on our farm walk in La Fortuna a few days ago, when we came across some armadillo shell in the grass.
“Did this guy have leprosy?” I asked our guide, pointing at the weird white-ish rubble.
“Nah,” our bearded guide shook his head, “This guy got eaten by something.”
On our first night in Monteverde, Rich and I hit the streets in search of dinner. On our way, we passed a small soda, with a lovely Husky-like pooch sitting outside. I held out my hand for him to sniff, he looked at me with weird crazy eyes (so I quickly changed my mind about patting him), but then suddenly he joined us on our stroll. He led the way, smelling bushes and barrels and the ground, turning around every once in a while to make sure we were following him.
He escorted us the whole way to our chosen restaurant, then disappeared into the rainy night.
Rich and I enjoyed our meal of Typical Costa Rican Food – no really, that’s how they tout it on their menus. If I was a chef in Costa Rica, I would blow my own trumpet more on the food, because it’s REALLY good, and anything but typical. I would call it ‘Delicious Costa Rican Food’ or ‘Healthy and Yummo Beans & Rice’. It’s like in Turkey, where they have a whole section of the menu dedicated to Olive Oil, which is, primarily, dishes (meat & veg) that are cooked and prepared in copious amounts of extra virgin.
After our ‘Healthy and Delicious and anything-but-typical’ dinner and beer and dessert, we were on the road back to our lodge.
There was a rustling in the bushes beside us and out popped… AN ARMADILLO!!! In the flesh/shell. I hope he didn’t have leprosy. He didn’t seem to, as no sheets of armour appeared to fall off him as he scurried across the road in front of us.
Then! There was a rustling behind us, and out popped… another dog! At first I thought she was on the scent of the armadillo but no, she just trotted along beside us, seemingly escorting us home. Man, these Costa Rican pooches are really friendly.
The three of us made our way up a steep hill, when suddenly a tremendous barking filled the air. I looked up, and out of a light-filled house by the road came four ginormous dogs, bounding out the front door, down the steps, barking like, well, barking dogs all the way.
You know those moments when you feel your excitable, ‘I-love-dogs-and-here-come-some-more-to-say-hi’ smiling facade quickly turn to a ‘O-my-goodness-I-think-these-barking-dogs-might-be-about-to-kill-us’ look of terror? I’ve only experienced it once in my life (actually, the first time I was at Piebird – I took a bike out for a ride one sunny afternoon and came across two incredibly large rottweilers standing on a rock by the side of the road… they growled menacingly and started to approach and I pedalled back to the farm as fast as the rickety bike would carry me). Life flashing before my eyes, I clutched onto Rich as the dogs leapt into the street, where they took one look at Ms Sniffy Pooch and chased her back to whence she came, woofing all the way.
I like to think that those five dogs were all really good friends and were keen to have a woofy, growly, catch up. Godspeed, Ms Sniffy Pooch, I hope you made it home safely…