Day 21, Sunday, January 21
Another new morning, another breakfast, and still in that friendly bodegón from hell. Fuck that. Let's go! Costa Rica's nature beckons. After seemingly endless jumping, rocking and pitching over the usual pothole collection the road ends in the Río Toro Amarillo. Luckily, before everybody gets wet the Four find Sr. Juan Arrieta Chares' house, complete with integrated bar. A popular pastime in this area is catching poisonous tree frogs. Another is grabbing a Bothrops Schlegeli, while lowering the kickstand. Brehm writes about it in his Life of Animals something to this effect: "Its head is pronouncedly triangular and lets discern the prominent poison glands and the corresponding muscles. The poison being very strong, a human can die after a few moments, if he gets injected a full load. The bite is followed by a horrible black discoloration of the skin and the flesh, because the blood leaves its vessels, then the discoloration extends over the whole body, even the eyes turn blood red ..."
This would have made enlightening reading for Herr Schmidt beforehand, 'cos he just grabs the reptile by its neck. Only the slight panic in Señor Juan's screams bring him to the conclusion that this Bocaracá is no pet animal.
Bothrops Schlegeli waggles his tail as he slithers across exhaust pipe and cylinder head into the green undergrowth. With these preliminaries out of the way, we hang up our hamacas in Juan's home, get some meat down our gullets and then share a bottle of Centenario with landlord and assorted family. This inspiring liquid helps us formulate the plan to go hunting for 'gator. Would make a nice change from the ubiquitous chicken and pork too. Wolfgang directs the crew to build a heavy-duty alligator catcher from a bamboo stick and some wire. With machete in hand the guys head for the nearest pond. Since when do alligators live in puddles? In the rays of the maglites pairs of red eyes light up in the darkness - amigos, compañeros, dudes, this is the real thing!
The killer from the Swamp, the blood sucking monster of the rainforest, the terror from the mud, we're gonna get it. Well, almost. The only catch of the night is a young 'gator, barely one meter long, and we let slip "El Al" backing the water. Too small for useful consumption. Back at the Rancho the protein levels get propped up by yet another glass of Centenario.