Day 10: roughing it. Dec. 27 2017.

After a non-fish, non-meat breakfast (a bagel and cream cheese), lots and lots of therapeutic coffee, and a couple of naproxen, the gout seemed to be beating a retreat. So we set off for the northern coast, a 2½ drive along a decent highway (eastwards), a respectable secondary road along the east coast (northwards), and then a single-lane, pothole pitted death trap (back west along the north coast). There is no road across the Northern Range. As we passed town after town, civilization retreated and the rain forest pressed closer and closer. About 5 km from Grande Rivière, we came upon a tree that would have fallen across the road, were there not some nice electical wires that caught it. In Grande Rivière and points westward, the power was out, and had been since Christmas Eve, so the town was almost shut down. We found lunch along the beach, in a tiny restaurant, attached to something called the Mont Plaisir Resort. We had charcoal-grilled chicken and warm beer. They assured us their refrigerators were hooked up to a generator, and indeed, the chicken neither tasted bad nor made us ill. Then we checked in, sorta. I mean, we got keys to our cabin. They couldn't anything electronic.

And we ordered dinner, hoping it would be possible to cook it.

The cabin is actually quite delightful; it's basically a single room plus bathroom, with a roof overhead, but pretty much open to the outside under the rafters. Inside is all polished hardwood. There's a little balcony, and it's in the middle of a garden with Heliconias.

A brief walk at sundown found us this.

Of course, you immediately recognized that as the colonial nests of the yellow-winged cacique. In fact, you can see one of the little buggers at the top right. But here's a better look.

Caciques are icterids, which means sexually deviant. Many icterids (like the red-winged blackbird) are just boringly polygynous, with a single male controlling a harem. Caciques, though, are splendidly polyamorous, although the females still outnumber the males. And the males fight, a lot.

Since I don't want to end this entry with a preverted passerine, this is a pair of relentlessly monogamous blue-grey tanagers, by the entrance driveway to the Acajou hotel, where we're staying.

Here's the weird looking silver beaked tanager, my 700th lifer, its weirdness accentuated by the camera flash.

And a palm tanager.

And a female white-lined tanager.

The power came back on at 4 p.m., and internet connectivity some time overnight. So dinner was OK; we decided to tempt gouty fate with a bottle of wine, and watched the bats flit around the restaurant over dinner. But at least I had the pork, and not fish. Marjie had the fish, and said it wasn't that good.


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