One must always be camera-ready at Xandari; otherwise one might miss the unexpected beauties that present themselves. On Friday I postponed my dinner (despite my grumbling stomach) in order to take a picture of the breathtaking sunset that was slowly sinking behind the mountains. I had to get to the sunset pool to capture this marvel, and believe it or not, I actually ran. Every second spent getting to the pool meant one less streak of vivid color highlighting the darkening sky. Not to mention, it also meant one second less of battery life on my camera phone with 4% battery left. The stakes were high.
I had not yet witnessed nightfall from the sunset pool, and as soon as I reached my destination I drew in a quick, shallow breath and let out long whispered ‘wooow.’ I was paralyzed with wonder. Birds were swooping down to drink some water from the pool, dodging and weaving one another with such swiftness that I’d lose track of which one I was looking at, all the while the sunlight retreated in the background. It was the ‘bleep’ of my “dying” phone that woke me to my senses and reminded me why I had run here in the first place. I took my pictures quickly and then observed the fleeting moment in stillness.
I don’t claim to have endured as much physical exertion as the gardening or maintenance crews do on a daily basis, but earlier this week I believe to have experienced a small sample of the amount of physical labor they routinely do. On Thursday morning the recycling truck came to pick up the heaps of recyclable goods that we keep temporarily in our recycling storage. The whole procedure of taking the materials out of the storage room, placing them on the large weight scale, and then arranging them on the back of a truck took almost two hours with four people (including myself) doing all the work. I have to admit that I was probably the weak link in the chain of procedure. Who knew stacks of flattened cardboard boxes could be so heavy? I was much more effective with the bags of plastic bottles and paper, but the bags of glass bottles were beyond my limit.
In Costa Rica the consumer is the one responsible for separating out the different materials of recyclable goods and also taking it to a recycling plant. Very few people pay for the recycling service to come and pick up the materials at their doorstep, but at Xandari the residents of the local town have the option to leave their recycled goods in our storage room and have the hotel cover the cost of the service. There are so many different categories of recyclable goods (more than 10) that in spite of the crash course that Antonio, the recycling expert, gave me and the two hours I spent hauling bags into the recycling truck, I still vacillate whether to drop the empty, light-blue Cristal bottles in the ‘plastics’ or the ‘colored plastics’ bin (the correct answer is the former, by the way).