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Snake, snakes, snakes! So I've been here almost five full weeks in Costa Rica and the first four I didn't see any snakes. Well that all changed three nights ago. To get to my hotel room I have to walk down a concrete path surrounded by bushes. The path is lit with lights but for some reason after about 9pm, the hotel turns the lights off. Sometimes I don't get back to the hotel from location until 11 at night and the path is completely dark. It's so dark in fact that I literally can't see my feet on the ground as I walk. A week ago I walked the path for the first time in complete darkness and was thinking the entire time that I might step on something... like a snake. But after making it down the path and to my room without incident, I told myself I was probably letting my fears get the best of me. Well how wrong I was.
Three nights ago I arrived back at the hotel late around 11pm. I wasn't surprised to see that the path was pitch black. The lights had been turned off once again. This time however I came prepared. Since my last "walk of death" down the dark path, I had secured a flashlight. There was a part of me that thought I was being overly cautious. I thought well... it's a hotel, there's a lot of people around (except at night), there can't possibly be snakes on the path that I walk down to go to my room.
Well I turned the flashlight on and started down the path carrying my backpack and rolling bag. I got about five steps and focused the flashlight about 10 feet in front of me. And to my horror I saw a six-foot long, dark-and-white-banded snake, slowly sliding across the middle of the path! It wasn't large in diameter, perhaps an inch or so around. I was stunned and stood completely still watching it. For a moment, I thought maybe I was hallucinating. I have always had a very strong fear of snakes, poisonous or otherwise. So as I stood there watching it I thought back to the previous week when I had walked the path in complete darkness. Thinking about my previous walk in the dark only increased my fear as I stood there contemplating what to do.
After about 45 seconds the snake made its way across the path and into nearby grass. Despite this, I was still deciding what to do, not that I had much choice. After another minute or so of standing there watching to see if any other snakes were present, I quickly ran down the path. I was really freaked out and the adrenaline was rushing through me. I made it to my hotel room door and couldn't believe what I had just seen.
So two days later I came home at a similar time and found the path to my room dark again. I flipped on my flashlight and started down the path. In my mind I was thinking there couldn't possibly be another snake on the path. Lying perfectly still in the center of the path was a black-and-red-striped snake! I first thought it was a stick but I examined it closer and realized it was a small (probably around two feet) thin Coral snake. Coral snakes are some of the most deadly snakes here in Costa Rica too. So here I was again just trying to get back to my room and confronted with a snake. I wiggled the flashlight around to wake the snake up and after about thirty seconds it swiftly slid into the bushes. I was more scared than ever. What would be next? Snakes attacking me from the bushes?! I once again ran back to my room. Once inside my room, my mind was racing with all kinds of deadly scenarios for the nights to come.