Playa Marsella, Nicargua, Part 2: "I Come from the Land Down Under"   
Well, I don't come from the land down under. The closest I've come is Men at Work, The Croc Hunter and Mad Max (...just the first one. When they brought in Tina Turner, it was WAY past over!). 

But our neighbors at the beach were transplanted Australians. And not just any Australians, CRAZY Australians (redundant?) living in a "Robinson Crusoe" kinda house with a thatched roof and no walls. Now, this is a BIG Robinson Crusoe house with a BIG thatched roof, but it is still an outdoor livin' kinda house nonetheless. 

Our neighbors for the week were Charlie and Paul (husband and wife), Karl and Alex, their sons and Maddy, their 5-yr old daughter who we took to calling "Bindi" (Steve Irwin's daughter). They've been living full-time here at the beach for a couple years. The boys are aged 10 and 14 and have long hair like Grady. He thought that was pretty cool. The boys and Maddy run all over the beach and the little village like they own the joint. 

A little about Playa Marsella (Mar-say-uh). Well, that's about it. Seriously. There are about 27 people who live in the village. There are a couple hotels and a couple little bars. It's a stopping point at the crossroads leading to a village called Playa Madera, one of the best-known surfing beaches in Costa Rica. We walked there a couple times. Nice waves!

Anyway, it's a small place and the best part of our location was the little bar about 100 yds from us that served THE best fish fingers and some sort of magic sauce (1000 Island?) ever! We ate there several times and probably paid the mortgage for the month!

Oh, and the crocodile lake. Seriously. About 70 yds from us is a river that shuts down during the dry season. It recedes and backs up until the rainy season at which time, it starts pouring all the way to the ocean. In the meantime, there are a few crocodiles that call the pond home.

"Oh, yeah," said Karl, the Australian. "At night, they sometimes crawl across the beach and hunt in the ocean. " And THAT pretty much did it for ANY chance I had of getting Annie back  into the ocean. We actually shined a big spotlight on it one night and I'll be damned if there weren't 2 red eyes staring back at us from the river! And that pretty much did it for ME walking anywhere NEAR the river!

The Australians don't really work. They're living on whatever money they have from selling some business or another back home and then living cheaply on the beach. They don't have a car...just hitch hike. A truck brings around food every few days and they just buy from the guy on the truck. They have Internet which helps with the kids' homeschooling...which I think is often overlooked in favor of "real-world" lessons like chasing dogs on the beach, making fires at night, surfing, blowing things up with gasoline, hammock-napping and other assorted beach-type lessons. 

Oh, and you may not believe this, but Charlie and Paul drink beer. Not any amount of beer. But beer in quantities that would leave my neighbor Dustin saying, "Dammmmnnnn." 

One day, I popped over to the bar at 11:45 a.m. to have lunch and read my book. Paul pops up and introduces himself about 15 minutes later. By then, he was already a bit loopy. I order the aforementioned delicious fish fingers while Paul ordered his first beer. About an hour later, Charlie showed up and SHE started having beers. Then they bought a bottle of rum and some cokes. 

Six hours later, I ordered the SAME fish fingers for DINNER and there we sat. Polly had joined us sometime during the EXTENDED conversation. At 7:00 p.m., I was done. I had only had 3-4 beers and then LOTS of water. Polly and I went up to pay our tab and saw how many beers the Aussies had ordered during that time. Take a guess?   27! How much food during that time? None. Zero. Nada. I'm guessing he had the option of doing 3 things while we were there...drinking, talking and/or eating. Eating apparently would interfere with the other 2, so he went without eating. Silly Australian!

We've decided we're pretty much done with the beach as a vacation option. The older I get, the less I like sand where sand shouldn't be. Annie doesn't really like the beach. Grady got tired of it after a few days. Polly's skin is basically rice paper and burns if I buy 100 watt light bulbs, so she's not a beach person either. So, in the future, it will probably be lakes or rivers when we want water.

I've also found the older I get, the more I imagine every possible danger that we could encounter based on our choice of vacation locales:

Beach - Sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, rock fish, Europeans men in Speedos.
River - Alligators, snakes, snapping turtles
Lake - Alligators, snakes, drunken rednecks on Sea-Doos
Foreign Countries - Diarrhea, crazy kidnappers, crazy drivers, Frenchmen
National Parks - Bears, hungry bears, REALLY hungry bears
Disney World - High prices, dark socks and sandals, long lines, Frenchmen

See a trend? There's really nowhere we can go anymore where I have no fears, either real or perceived, that will not keep me up at night worrying. 

So, while the beach trip was pretty good, we definitely could have gone somewhere else we might have enjoyed more. We have the beach out of our system and are eagerly awaiting Costa Rica. I think the place will be beautiful and they'll take good care of us. And no bears. Definitely no bears!

Adios from Playa Marsella!

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