What’s In a Name?

The good life: Hammock and lush greenery. Bad side: nature means critters.

Maybe by now it’s sort of obvious how I got the ridiculous nickname “Jungle Princess,” but for my last post about my recent trip to Costa Rica, I thought I’d explain — and show how far I’ve come. As with everything these days (haha) it all started online. My friend Mike had signed me up on Twitter the day before I left my Las Vegas friends for the jungles of Costa Rica. I finally got into it a few months in, but all of the travel folks were confused… Where was my blog? they asked. (My what?!) Since my tweets were all about scorpions, spiders, monkeys, rain and not wearing high heels… Diana of DTravelsRound finally publicly tweeted something along the lines of, “Come on, jungle princess, you’re starting a blog tomorrow.”

So I did.


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Scorpions: Costa Rica vs Borneo

When I first moved to Costa Rica, I lived in a scorpion den up in the cliffs. Mornings started with a “scorpion sweep” for anything with a stinger, from the large nasty looking ones to the little baby scorpions, and the whole vibe in the house was that you had to be scared to death of them. In my new neighborhood, sightings are rare, but my phobia has stayed. Although now I know I won’t die on the spot if I get stung.

Pictured above, a darling little baby scorpion baby that was hanging out across the street at Lisa‘s house. The small ones don’t know what they’re doing yet, so if they sting you it actually hurts the worst. If you don’t know how to properly kill one, do not ask me. I claim to have done it once, with a telephone book, but I will finally admit here that it was already dead. (It still took me three days to bravely get the thing out of my house.) Denise has her form down perfectly and will demonstrate if asked.

Here’s a picture that my friend Cynthia sent me of a scorpion found in her friend’s bed in Malaysian Borneo, one of my last trips before I settled down in Costa Rica. Believe it or not, the poor girl didn’t see it before she attempted to snuggle in, and it pinched her. I think I picked the right place to live!

While I do not think I would have survived the heart attack that having those large pinchers come at me in my own BED, I have been warned that those baby scorpions really do hurt the worst, due to their immaturity and not knowing to conserve their poison. So be on the lookout for scorpions of any size!

Party Crasher

Feeling fresh after my trip to the States, hair blown out, suitcase filled with Whole Foods vitamins, new books and Christmas decorations, I let my guard down when I reached the barrio from the airport. I threw my bags down, forgetting to check for errant scorpions or anything else with legs. Within a few hours, the ladies of the barrio had convened on my neighbor Denise’s stoop for my welcome home shindig. Relaxed and glowing after a few glasses of wine, Lisa and I were laughing about something when I felt my thigh muscles flex like an Olympic champion as I leaped from the stoop, screaming to high heaven. I’ll never forget that gigantic tarantula under Lisa’s chair, heading my way faster than I knew eight legs could carry you. All I know is that Denise was hysterically laughing at me — from the chair she’d jumped onto — and there was a guy who’d been on Skype with Denise who was guffawing with amazing force. Then there was brave Lisa getting up in the face of this hairy spider, who was now hopping up and down to my absolute horror, to take this tarantula photo.