Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

Mapping the world, one waxy strand at a time…

A Dance with the Fer De Lance

My apologies to the english majors among you for foreshadowing a snake encounter and then not delivering!

The finish line of AR Costa Rica was at Almond and Corals, a beachside eco-lodge on the Caribbean coast just north of the small town of Manzanillo near the Panama border.  The lodge consisted of a series of bungalows, joined together by raised wooden pathways laid over characteristically dense vegetation.

In each room, there was a small placard that read:

“In 20 years of operation in the area, we have never had any person bit by a snake. However, it is possible to find a snake around the hotel.”

Once the race ended, I stopped worrying about the prospect of viper encounters and went about my business, walking along the wooden planks to and from our room with careless abandon.

Then, on Friday evening, Brent and I went outside to head to dinner.  It was raining and dark, with small lamps lighting the pathway.  Five feet from our room, Brent stopped and held his arm out to stop me from going any further.

“There’s a snake,” he said in alarm, pointing to the small leathery pile on the corner of the walk.

I peered over his shoulder.

“It’s definitely a viper!” I exclaimed, recalling our snake lessons the weekend before.  “Does he have small eyes?”

“I can’t tell,” Brent replied.

“What about loreal pits?  Does he have loreal pits?” I asked, referencing the small poison-filled nostrily things between the eyes and the tip of the nose.

“You think I’m getting close enough to check?”

I walked carefully around and went to alert the clerk at reception while Brent stood watch.

“Hay un serpiente afuera de nuestra habitacion!” I said.  “Es una vibura, pero no se si es venomosa!”

I expected a nonchalant response, but instead the clerk’s eyes widened in excitement.  He and his friend jumped up from behind the desk and ran down the walkway toward our room.

By the time we returned, there was a small crowd gathered.

“Donde esta, donde esta?” the clerk called.

“He just slithered into the bushes,” Brent replied.

We all looked to see the last of his tail vanishing into the brush.

After dinner and lots of excited chatter with our waitress, Brent and I returned to our room and promptly pulled out the camera.  We flipped through the pictures until we landed on the shots that we’d taken of the fer de lance, one of the world’s deadliest snakes.


Yep, we concluded.  That was definitely him.


15 responses to “A Dance with the Fer De Lance

  1. Tasha @ Voracious Eats July 13, 2011 at 7:11 am

    Okay, I can’t even handle this story. An the pictures? That was way too much. Snakes scare me because in my mind (since I can’t tell them apart) are all deadly.

  2. Anne July 13, 2011 at 8:23 am

    OMG!!!!!!!!!!! Glad you didn’t startle it!

  3. kari @ Running Ricig July 13, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Why in the world was the staff excited? I would have screamed and run the other way. I’m brave like that.

  4. Emily July 13, 2011 at 9:39 am

    i am going to have nightmares from reading this post! i would have died. i could NEVER stay at a hotel with that warning!

  5. Denise July 13, 2011 at 9:46 am

    i probably wouldn’t have left the room for the remainder of the trip!

  6. Johann July 13, 2011 at 10:54 am

    I love snakes! Even had some as pets over the years. Maybe it’s a thing about living in Africa or something. We often get them in the house and garden. We always put the indoor ones outside where the dogs and cats can’t get them. I’m actually amazed you only encountered the one on this trip. I suppose it was the only one you saw. All the others saw you though…:)

  7. Julie (A Case of the Runs) July 13, 2011 at 11:46 am

    That disclaimer would have made me assume that the area was full of snakes, just non-biting ones. And maybe their excitement was fright…

  8. Kara July 13, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Oh man, I would have a hard time sleeping after that, especially since snakes love someplace warm and cozy like a bed!

    I thought it was bad that our resort’s “fancy” restaurant had cockroaches on the walls. Apparently I didn’t know how it could be much, much worse.

  9. Jill July 13, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Oh. My. Gawwwwwd. I’m sure I’d still be having nightmares. Yikes.

    BTW, you were tagged on my recent blog post! Lucky you!! 🙂

  10. MidlifeCruiser July 13, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    I think i just soiled my diaper!

  11. Sarah S @RunningOnWords July 13, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    I’m so glad I read this post after my trip to Costa Rica. I think if it had been before, I would have cried the whole trip.

  12. Kim (Book Worm Runs) July 13, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    OMG!!!!! There is NO WAY I would be able to sleep knowing “it is possible to find a snake around the hotel”. Luckily you guys saw it and didn’t step on it or anything…ahhh!!!

  13. Julie C Martinez July 13, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Holy mother puss bucket!! I do not do snakes. On the other hand, that story is awesome!

  14. Pingback: The Pace of Home « Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

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