On a previous trip to Costa Rica, I first laid eyes on a beautiful purple and orange type of crab (nicknamed the Halloween crab) and took the photo below of it in shallow ocean water. I thought it was the most people sea creature I had ever seen! On this trip? Well, I could still see its beauty, but when they descended on my vacation home by the dozens, my view did change a bit! It all started our first night in our Costa Rican paradise on the dense jungle beaches of Santa Teresa. My friends ever so politely recommended I stay in a certain bedroom downstairs. It wasn’t until later that they told me there was a bat in one of the upstairs bedrooms.
Did I mention that the house was open-air? In the jungle?
After almost two years of living back in Las Vegas, I had forgotten what it was like to sleep in the jungle. I’ve fought insomnia my entire life, with the year I spent in Coco, Costa Rica the only time I learned to sleep soundly, without a stressful job and busy life racing through my brain at night. But learning to sleep among the scorpions and other critters had taken a little practice. And I was out of practice.
This all came to a head at sundown during my first night in Santa Teresa.
Earlier, we had read a simple notice on the refrigerator instructing guests to close the gates at dusk for the crabs. We looked down for the first time and sure enough, there were foot-high plexi-glass gates. We shrugged and went out by the pool. I happened to be in my room when I heard the good-natured shrieks: “close the gates!”
Dozens and dozens of those beautiful crabs were coming up from the beach, right at sundown. They were everywhere!
What followed in the next day or two may or may not have included my shrieking and standing on my bed while a crab loudly tapped across the tile in my room taka-taka-taka-taka before Kelsey easily swept it out. Andreea ridded my room of the second, laughing hysterically at me.
In the end, it was an easy and fast transition. I quickly learned that you can hear those crabs from a mile away, so I didn’t need to fear any surprises. And my muscles remembered that after you check your sheets for scorpions, that means there are no scorpions in your sheets. It is that simple. And then sleep came so easily in the complete darkness of the thick trees of Costa Rica.
I woke up the next morning, before putting in my contacts, and saw what I thought was a doorstopper or something against the wall. Then it moved. I laughed, got up and grabbed my glasses. Taka-taka-taka-taka it clipped as fast as it could to the corner of the room, where it froze. Does she see me? After a few minutes, it slowly, very slowly, made its way in a sort of crab sideways tip-toe towards the bed, under which it stayed.
But I never thought of it again. Not even when I was trying to sleep.
Andreea took a stunning close-up of one of the crabs for her awesome Costa Rican blog, The Sasu Post. Check it out!