Bien metido.

Bien metido is a Panamanian term, and I’m not sure if it’s the same in Costa Rican Spanish. There are some definite differences in language (as I’ve learned) since the word tranque (Panamanian Spanish for a traffic jam) doesn’t exist here and a small restaurant in Costa Rica is apparently called a soda (Coca-cola is a gaseosa, then).

Image credit: Jonathan Galbreath
Image credit: Jonathan Galbreath

What bien metido means is “way out there,” which is where I remain. As I mentioned earlier, Palo Verde has to be the remotest place I’ve ever visited, even surpassing my two years in the Peace Corps. Back then, I did live in a small village that was a 2 1/2 hour (very) rough drive into the mountains, but at least there were other people living there. Here there are only maybe 10 people at the station and NOBODY else around. 

It almost makes me miss Las Huacas, my old Peace Corps site (I said almost)...
It almost makes me miss Las Huacas, my old Peace Corps site (I said almost).
Yes, they had to peel back that wall of scrap metal on their house in order to retrieve that baby!
Yes, they had to peel back that wall of scrap metal on their house in order to retrieve that baby! Maybe I don’t miss Las Huacas so much…
Although I do miss the dog I used to have.
Although I do miss the dog I used to have.

This morning, I found quite a few more Bagheera spiders (that the dragonflies couldn’t steal this time), and it appears that they are living on acacia plants that belong to the species Vachellia collinsii that are populated by ants in the species Pseudomyrmex spinicola or Pseudomyrmex nigrocinctus

Pseudomyrmex spinicola, not a pleasant species.
Pseudomyrmex spinicola–not a pleasant species to work with! Image source: AntWeb.org
Pseudomyrmex nigrocinctus is equally mean.
Pseudomyrmex nigrocinctus is equally mean. Image source: AntWeb.org

The unusual part is that there is a third ant species here, which doesn’t seem quite as common, and I haven’t been able to find any spiders on plants that are populated by it:

Why don't the spiders like Pseudomyrmex flavicornis? Image source: AntWeb.org
Why don’t the spiders like Pseudomyrmex flavicornis? Image source: AntWeb.org

As I worked to try and unravel this mystery today, the “empty” light came on the dashboard of the 4-wheel drive SUV that I needed to rent to get here. I guess I should’ve thought about gas earlier, but when I first came to Palo Verde, I was racing against the clock, and just barely got in as the guard was locking the gate. I knew that I couldn’t put off filling the tank, though, because I sure didn’t want to run out of gas 30 kilometers away from the nearest gas station.

The ride out took me close to an hour, mainly because the ride was so bumpy. Only the last 0.2 kilometers or so are paved. After that, it was back to where I’d come from, provided that I could remember the way…

Here's where the
Here’s where the asphalt road stopped, and the dirt road began.
Past the family of confused cows...
Now it’s past the family of confused cows…
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…and past the big cactus growing along the fence…
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It’s past the little cacti, too.
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There’s a long stretch of road (and I’ll add that I stopped the car before taking each picture).
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I’ll cross the bridge over what looks like an irrigation canal…IMG_1173 …to fields of sugar cane!

Still not there, though.

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There’s another bridge (with a guardrail torn off on the left side, so it isn’t too safe).
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I definitely stopped the car for this shot; it was a long way down.
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There’s a school on the way, and its really tiny–although they do have a satellite dish.
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More sugar cane (with some banana plants thrown in).
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Now we get to some rice paddies (plus a wood stork in the tree and and a roseate spoonbill on the side).
Here's a better spoonbill picture than mine. Image credit: Mwanner
Here’s a better spoonbill picture than mine. Image credit: Mwanner
Wood_Stork_2
Here’s a better wood stork picture, too. Image credit: Mehmet Karatay 
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Here’s some rice that’s already started to grow.
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Then we pass a tree with a very veiny trunk. My guess is that they’re some kind of strangler (liana) vines.
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Okay, we’re still on the right road, and it’s getting closer.
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Then there’s a black spiny-tailed iguana!
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These power lines must run to Palo Verde, because they do have electricity (phew).
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We pass another rice field where a great egret is soaring.
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Palo Verde is known for its birds.
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More road. The good news is that there are acacia (Vachellia) plants on both sides.
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And just when I thought I’ve made it, I realize I need to drive another 9 kilometers to the spot where I found the spiders again!

 Suffice to say, I spent a whole lot of time on that road.

 

 

 

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