Saturday, January 24, 2009
Muelle, Costa Rica
I’m staring at the iguana. The iguana is staring back at me. He is perched on a tree limb, flipping his orange dewlap from time to time, looking pretty tough and looking to make time with the iguana babes.
For my part, I am standing on a bridge abutment and staring a hundred feet down to an unsanitary looking river. As the concrete bounces up and down with each passing truck, I try not to think too hard about Costa Rican building standards.
Between the iguana and me, I know which one looked more worried.
The tiny hamlet of Muelle lies in the heart of sugar cane country, half an hour east of La Fortuna. It could be any other forgettable agricultural town, sleepy and dusty and suffering from an overabundance of truck traffic. Except that along the steep river bank, a cafe started chucking their garbage out the window.
This pleased the resident iguana population no small measure. And for reasons I am unable to discern, the locals resisted the urge to serve them up on the lunch menu with black beans and rice. So instead tour buses stop and pale gawkers take snapshots and obstruct bridge traffic while dozens of iguanas sun themselves, oblivious to their good fortune.
All the same, I was a little nervous about eating anything chicken at the restaurant.
Iguana, the other white meat.