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An Innocent Character – Smacking wee balls – The Quetzal! – The asterisk

In the guise of an innocent character there lurks a fiend. Now we all know that 42 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything, but how many are aware that in ASCII it is the mark of the devil? For it is the code for the asterisk (*), a character that throws in doubt everything that precedes it. It is the uninvited person from Porlock that ruins a good theme, the movie that ends by revealing that the last two hours were a dream sequence.

The asterisk was in the headline news not too long ago when Barry Bonds was chasing the all-time home run record set by Hank Aaron and many were saying that an asterisk should be added to Bonds’ name due to his alleged steroid use. All those years of slugging away at that wee ball only to be foiled by an asterisk. So there you have the evil deeds a simple character can accomplish. Barry Bonds*, took the road less traveled by and that has made all the difference.

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Finca Dracula, where we saw the Quetzal*.

So why, on this glorious day should I think of this silly and unimportant character? For today, against all odds, we have seen the Resplendent Quetzal*. This is not the season for Quetzals and one has to be quite lucky to see one since they are nesting. In order to keep their nests secret from marauders such as the Emerald Toucanet the normally garrulous Quetzals go about their business in a clandestine, furtive, and silent fashion. This makes the green bird quite hard to spot in the green forest.

It was Neena who spotted it first. “I think there is a parrot or something in that tree”, she said. I trained my binoculars on the bird and immediately recognized it to be of the Trogon family. Then I saw it – the brilliant green scallops of the wings draping over the body, unmistakably Quetzal, the sacred bird of the Maya and the national bird of Guatemala. But alas, now for the asterisk. The individual we saw was not the long-tailed male but the less flamboyant but still attractive female. So, the quest for the Quetzal continues!

4 Responses to “Pity the monstrous character (*), not”

  1. Vinay says:

    Heh, cool intro :)
    Looking forward to your sequel “Further adventures of a curious character” 😉 when you do catch the male feller.

  2. Shreesh says:

    Heh heh, looks like that will be quite some time from now. The Chiriqui Highlands was our last chance on this trip to see them…

  3. Fred says:

    You have been to Costa Rica before, no? If so, are you seeing new locales?

  4. Shreesh says:


    Yes we had been to Costa Rica before, but we went to the Arenal Volcano and Monteverde cloudforest, both of which we did not visit this time around. I would say that Corcovado was the most interesting place of all the places we visited in CR – certainly had the coolest bugs!

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