yesterday i ended up by accident in matapalo, halfway between puerto jiménez and carate. i was supposed to go to carate to visit corcovado national park, before the colectivo (local term for bus, which is really just an old truck with wood boards in the back where people crowd in under a green tarp to keep the rain and sun out) got stuck on the muddy hills in the mountains. after walking on some flower-lined, lush trails down the mountain, i ended up on a beach i later learned is known as pan dulce, ‘sweet bread’. sweet indeed. paradise on earth probably falls short to an accurate description of this place. it seems as if animals have not yet been affected by humans here. tens of pelicans were diving for fish right where the waves break close to the sand, as were some other slender, athletic bird species with a scissor tail and swift dives whose name I do not yet know. hawks, zopilotes (a kind of vulture) and lapas (macaws) were among the other birds sharing the sky. the waters were quite cristal and you could see fish swimming, hermit crabs digging and bigger crabs eating, all playing all over the sands.