Archive for the ‘Costa Rica’ Category

From Bears to Tigers to Snakes, Oh My.

7 August 07

Hey, did I forget to tell you I ate a fried scorpion the other day? Well, I did and it tasted like a potato chip. I was having dinner with my students and, although I was totally freaked out (I grew up in a house full of little non-deadly scorpions and I fear and loathe them.), their encouragement bolstered my nerves. I popped it in and… seriously, like a potato chip.

Anyway, that wasn’t supposed to be the point of this post. I wanted to talk about a movie I just watched, Two Brothers (called Two Tigers in Chinese). If you haven’t seen it, it should be available on DVD. Watch it. Do you remember the movie The Bear? I remember seeing that movie in the theater. It was incredibly moving. Two hours of the life of a bear – “bear-ly” any human acting. (haha). Still, the emotions and motives of the bear were clearly visible and anyone who did not empathize with that giant beast and little cubs probably needs to watch it again. Two Brothers is like that. The tigers are actors, too. I don’t want to give too much plot away, but when they meet again after all that time and recognize each other – I bawled!!

The movie was filmed around Angkor Wat in Cambodia. In fact, the temples of the Wat complex feature prominently. The temples and landscape are stunning, and other than the obvious addition of  extra plants and vines inside the temples, that is how they look. (Add in a few hundred package tourists posing in front of everything!) Warning, watching this movie will make you want to visit. And why not? South-east Asia is fast becoming my favorite place and I’d love to go back to Cambodia. We might be in Vietnam soon…

And what are the snakes I refer to in the title?  In the opening scene of the movie, a close up is made of a particularly vile looking snake. Seeing that snake instantly catapulted me back to Monteverde, Costa Rica. Years ago, the DH and I took a weekend trip to the cloud forest and jungles there. (Extremely beautiful, supposed to be full of amazing wildlife. Unfortunately, we clomped through the jungle a bit too loudly and saw nothing! In fact, the highlight of the trip was when we both fell asleep, in the shade of a tree, waiting for the bus back to San Jose, and woke up an hour later only to find the sun had moved slightly and the right sides of our faces had turned bright red!)

One of the features of Monteverde is a small serpentarium – a reptile house with examples of all the slimy, creepy fauna that inhabit the nearby jungle. We spent a good hour or two going through, looking at all the snakes, spiders and lizards. When we reached the Fir de Lance, one of the deadliest snakes in Costa Rica, we couldn’t see the snake. We kept looking and looking, with our faces right up against the glass. Oh well, we thought, he is pretty hidden in that tree branch. That is when we realized that not only was there no padlock on the cage, like many of the other cages, but the whole locking mechanism was wide open.

I cannot confirm that the Fir de Lance was on the loose…nor could I deny it. Once this realization dawned on us, we got the hell out of there. Looks like I am not the only one. When searching google for the name of the snake, I found this: scroll down to the picture of the boulders and read.

Serpentarium in Monteverde – I’d think twice. Cuddly, feel-good movie about two tiger cubs in Cambodia – a better choice!