On a recent bike trip in Costa Rica, the burning sun popped up over the horizon promptly at six AM, crawled inexorably across the sky, impossibly noon-like in its intensity for hours on end, only to disappear in barely a blink at six PM. In the meantime, I sweated rivers. I was drinking six liters a day during daylight hours, and seldom if ever stopping for a bush break.
Along the way were lizards, and monkeys, one blue morphos butterfly and some hot-pink dragonflies, fodder for a million children’s posters of “What I’d like to see on my Costa Rican vacation.” But nobody ever mentions the rabbit-eared cows.
Stunned by the heat, they barely turn their heads when you go by. I was in prime melon-growing country, and the damaged, blemished, not-fit-for-market melons are thwumped open to spill their yellow insides, by a man wielding a machete, and the cows shuffle over to the trough to slorp them down. Aside from that, the cows just sit, occasionally flicking their tails against invisible flies, and blinking their long lashes against the sun. Were it not for the barbed wire between me and them, and the miles between me and my destination, I surely would have stopped to give them a pat, and touch their velvety ears, strangely attached to the wrong parts of their heads, and ridiculously long.
Instead I just pedaled by, and watched as they almost completely ignored me.