Five of us sat around a small table in Playa Conchal, Costa Rica drinking Imperial beer and chatting about our lives. A nearby disco played bad music for a few dancers. A few yards behind us, a small casino dealt its local version of blackjack (yeah, a version that pays 1 to 1 for blackjack). Tourists and locals milled around us in the small courtyard. It was a nice setting.
With only a flickering overhead light as warning, everything went black. Every ounce of power on the 2,400 acre resort was gone. The bad disco music stopped. The people in the casino cheered.
If you live in the city, you don’t know darkness. You know your version of it–the one that happens when most of the lights go out for the night. That is about as close to darkness as Cheez Whiz is to cheese. If you live in the country or do some good camping, you’re closer to knowing real darkness. I’ve seen that kind of sky many times in my life around the lakes of southwest Missouri and in the mountains of North Carolina.
But as the five of us sat around that table and looked instinctively to the sky, we knew we were looking at something really special that most Americans don’t get to see. The sky above us almost looked fake, like a planetarium projected onto a black ceiling. The clear sky above Costa Rica’s west coast was quite simply the most brilliant starscape I have ever seen.
The lights were only out for 20 seconds before the power kicked back on. Half an hour later it happened again, and I found myself hoping we’d sit in darkness for the rest of the night. I found many things to like in Costa Rica–iguanas, geckos, sun-soaked beaches, and friendly people–but the power failure and perfect universe above me was the thing I’ll remember with the biggest smile.
Now home, I’ve gotten myself into a bit of a situation in which I have a set amount of time and a set amount of work. In doing the math, I’ve discovered that the amount of time it will take to do the work is exactly the amount of time I have left to do it. Thus, there’s no time for a vanity blog for a couple of weeks.
With that, here’s Playa Conchal and its shell-lined beach. See you in a few days.