Coming to the End of Costa Rica

Image of a baby two-toed sloth, taken at the Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica.

This is a baby two-toed sloth. I can't decide whether or not they're cuter than baby three-toed sloths. It's a toss up, really.

Down to our last week here! We leave next Thursday and head to Miami where we’ll spend a day and then (yay!) hop on a cruise ship to take advantage of a last-minute opportunity. I’ve never been on one, so I’ve been reading up on the experience and am looking forward to it. We’ll be spending seven days on the boat and seeing a little of the Caribbean (which I cannot envision without thinking of the Sid Meier Pirates! game, which consumed a great deal of my time at one point. After that we’re headed up to the NYC/PA area for early October, where I think I’ll be around the time of the SFWA reception there, but I’m still figuring that out.

I’ve not gotten much writing this week, but for good reasons. First we visited the Sloth Sanctuary here and spent the night in the Buttercup Room of their B&B. We got to go for an early morning canoe ride along a placid salt-water river, seeing bats, birds, and beautiful vegetation, then spent a couple of hours touring and seeing sloths, including the babies, which are the essence of cuteness. Here’s a video from the baby sloth nursery.

They have a lot of adult sloths as well – close to 150 sloths there total. Sometimes the babies are removed from the mother in order to help both their chances. The morning we were there, for example, a mother sloth and baby had come in that had been mauled by a dog, and they were separated because the mother was severely dehydrated and hurt and couldn’t nurse the baby. They take good care of them. We would have loved to pet them, for example, but it’s so much better for the babies if that doesn’t happen, so it was all hands off.

Some of them were rescued or found by people, others taken away from stupid people who thought they would make a good pet. There were an awful lot of sad, sad stories. But the sanctuary works hard to get them rehabilitated and back out into the wild if they’ll survive there. The ones that stay permanently are ones like Gwendolyn, whose arms and legs got broken by HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE people, or another sloth (whose name I forget, unfortunately), who was paraplegic.

Sloths are amazingly docile creatures. And they are lovely and awesome. But they belong in the wild, if at all possible. I was really impressed by the sanctuary and the work they’re doing. Good people. There’s an Animal Planet series about it, called “Meet the Sloths,” if you want to see more about it.

We had rented a car and drove to the sanctuary, which is on the other side of Costa Rica, so the day after we got back, we used the last day to drive down to Marino Ballenas and a whale watching trip. Unfortunately, I have no video because I’d forgotten to bring a plastic bag to keep my phone dry, but we saw humpbacks jumping, including a mother and baby, which was freaking SPECTACULAR. Also an extremely surprised sea turtle. It was amazing.

I did get a little writing in, and a bit more yesterday and this morning, on two projects, the first being novella/novel Seed & Cavern, and the second a modern horror story about tourism, set on Jaco Beach. Heh. Here’s a teaser from the latter, which has the working title “Jaco Tours”:

Joshua had not meant to offend the American lady. Or her companion, for that matter, although the companion seemed less offended than amused by the whole thing.

At the time, though, everything had seemed fine. He was out in front of the tour offices, handing out flyers and coaxing tourists into coming in to see what marvelous outings Jaco Tours (the finest in Costa Rica!) could offer them.

It wasn’t quite rainy season, but it was edging up on it, and already most of the tourists had gone, unwilling to face the rains that came in every evening, full of thunder and lightning. In the full season, you didn’t have to go looking for tourists – there were plenty of them, all down in Jaco and ready to spend money on learning to surf or visiting Manuel Antonio Park or going out sportfishing. But this time of year, you grabbed them while you could, because soon enough you’d be settling down to wait out the rainy days, living on whatever you’d managed to put away while the putting was good.

So there they were, the American couple. She looked like the kind who’d like the monkey tour, so he’d stopped them, described how they would give them fruit, how the monkeys would come and eat from their hands, and he’d seen her eyes light up the way some people’s did at the thought of monkeys. They had no monkeys in America, he knew, and there was something about them that made Americans crazy about them, at least the ones who hadn’t learned better, like going to Manuel Antonio and leaving their lunch on the beach while they swam, only to come back and find the monkeys and raccoons had gone through all their belongings.

Her companion was slender, narrow-hipped. A handsome man. The woman was older, surely, and Joshua gave her a smile. She was hooked. Now to persuade the man to buy the tour to please her.

If you want to see the story when it is finished, you can be among the first to read it. Sign up for my Patreon campaign and get two stories a month.

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About Cat

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and the magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her story, "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain," from her collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She is currently working on Exiles of Tabat, the third book of the Tabat Quartet. A new story collection, Neither Here Nor There, appears from Hydra House this fall.
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