Splette's Travel Blog
  • Video
  • April28th

    Hmm, I wonder what this cute sign means...

    Cute warning sign

    During my short beach trip to Samara in Guanecaste (on the Costa Rican Pacific coast) with Gabriel and his friend Steven we came across this cute self-made warning sign. It was near a bridge across a small creek leading into the ocean, just about 100 or 200 meters away from the main beach where people (including us the next day) went swimming. Could it be that crocodiles inhabit this creek so close to the beach and with plenty of cars passing by? I presumed they might prefer a more quiet habitat. In all that time I had spent in Costa Rica I never saw a crocodile, although I heard stories. I was wondering if the warning sign was put there just in case but the last actual sighting of a crocodile was perhaps years ago.

    Fishing for wild crocodiles

    Fishing for wild crocodiles

    We tried to catch a glimpse of a crocodile by peeking through the branches from different angles. But the water was dark and absolute quiet. No movement was to be seen in the water or the thick bushes on both sides. As I wandered around I noticed a long stick with a thin rope and a noose at the end. It was just a few meters from the bridge, hanging in one of the bushes. Someone seemed to have placed it there on purpose. It almost looked like a fishing rod. That gave me some idea… Why not put a stone in the noose and lower it from the top of the bridge to make a few splashes in the water. Perhaps this might get some attention? The instant I let the stone on the rope splash into the water the large head of a crocodile surfaced right below me. Wow, I didn’t expect that. It must have been waiting there at the bottom of the creek all along. Although I love reptiles, to be surprised by a grown up crocodile in the wild, just two meters below me had a rather chilling effect. Others seem to care less. I made a few more splashes until the stone fell off but the animal wasn’t fooled by it any longer and would not show up again.
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  • August9th

    Splette on a cable. A great way to see the nature from above.One of those fun things I always wanted to do here in Central America but never did (despite living here for a year) is ziplining (or canopy how it’s sometimes called).
    Essentially, it’s a bunch of steel cables spanned across high standing trees. With a pulley you are attached to the cable and can glide from platform to platform. I was lucky, as my friend D’Angelo was able to get me a free ticket at the Vista Arenal tour operator. I was told there are over 120 places in Costa Rica to do this kind of activity. In the place I went to there were 12 zip lines in total, the longest one was 800m.

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  • August5th

    Waterfall at sunset

    The waterfall near La FortunaI’m again visiting my American friend D’Angelo in La Fortuna, the cute little town by volcán Arenal.
    There is plenty of activities to do around Fortuna and some of the scenery here is pretty spectacular. Today I went to the nearby waterfall Catarata la Fortuna. We went swimming in the pool beneath the waterfall.The waterfall drops about 70 meters and is located at the base of a dormant volcano. At the bottom of the waterfall is a small pool in which you can swim. Considering the fact that this is a river, the water temperature was surprisingly pleasant. I tried to swim to the center but there was too much water coming down, pushing you away as you try to get too close. What a shame. I would have loved to know how this kind of shower feels like.

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  • June24th

    Zum Goldenen HirschenA few years ago, during my PhD times, I got very excited about filmmaking. I bought a high definition digital video camera and learned how to use editing and post production tools such as Adobe Aftereffects. I started realizing small film projects which is great fun.
    One of those projects which I made with a friend was about a gun rampage. The idea was to criticize gun ownership. The final video was meant to be uploaded to YouTube and spark some debate. But we never got that far. During the filming of some test footage a little incident happened: Someone saw us handling the (fake) gun and called the police. When they arrived the camera was still rolling. After the trouble with the police we never finished the actual film project. Instead I used the material to do a video ‘Filmmaking gone wrong’:

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  • April5th

    In Germany I hardly ever get to see any but here, they are everywhere. Cockroaches. I hate them. Unless of course I give them a name and keep them as a pet, at safe distance, trapped in a glass. But even then, they just make it so hard for you to love them…
    After complains from my roommate, I released my pet cockroach Xavier into the wild (the garden). He had a rough time with me as I rarely fed him. Cockroaches make great pets, though. They don’t die easily!

    That is, unless you step on them or apply insecticides. Below is a video I recorded a few days ago. The last moments in the life of a bug-sprayed cockroach, somehwere on a kitchen floor in Costa Rica.

    Rest in peace little nameless cockroach.
    You’ll always be remembered by the Youtube community and the faithful readers of my blog.

  • March22nd

    Here, they call it thermo ducha, I call it ‘suicide shower’ – an electric-powered shower that’s very common all over Central America. To give you a better impression I filmed this report:

    PS. The sound you hear in the background at the beginning of the video is a telenovela. What else?!

  • February20th

    The pacific beach in Manuel Antonio

    Manuel Antonio beach

    Finally, I get to travel around Costa Rica for a bit. After having visited the Caribbean coast two weeks ago and La Fortuna last week, I went for a day trip to Manuel Antonio on the Pacific coast. And this time, I even got a sunburn. In case I did not look like a proper tourist before, now I do!
    Manuel Antonio is one of the popular tourist destinations on this side. It’s very nice here but the Caribbean beaches are more beautiful.

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  • November1st

    Click here if you prefer to watch the video right on Vimeo.

    Finally! For those of you that have little time, I created this video – fast forward slideshow with ~600 photos in just 99 seconds. I hope you are not epileptics and enjoy. Don’t forget to turn on the sound.

    And hey, if it’s too fast, you are too old 🙂

  • September4th

    On the rope I descentI am in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, a small town close to volcán Arenal. While the active volcano is hidden in clouds most of the time and too dangerous to climb, there are plenty of other outdoor activities. I went on a waterfall rappelling tour (or ‘abseiling’ how the New Zealanders would call it). You trek along a small river through the forrest with several waterfalls that you climb down on a rope.

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  • June3rd

    Vegas, baby!

    Posted in: Cities, Video

    Gambling in Las Vegas

    Las Vegas gambling

    Las Vegas wasn’t exactly on my priory list of places to visit. But it was on the way from Grand Canyon to San Francisco, so I figured: why not? Hotels are surprisingly cheap (they make their money with the gambling). Many of the bigger hotels have a (more or less ridiculous; usually more) theme. The ‘Treasure Island‘ hotel for example has pirates as a theme and a big show with pirate ship, gunfire and all that crap every afternoon. Not knowing about any of this, I had booked a few nights in ‘Excalibur’ on priceline.com, simply based on price, number of stars and location. Excalibur turned out to be a giant colorful castle (think Disney), complete with countless slot-machines, wedding chapels (yes, one is not enough for all those shotgun weddings), food court (who would ever book a hotel that doesn’t have a McDonalds and a ChuckE.Cheese on the second floor) and for entertainment you can watch the performance of ‘Thunder from Downunder’ (the Ozzie version of Chippendales). Excalibur is located at the Southern end of ‘the strip’. Las Vegas is a surprising big city with university and all. However, the strip is where the tourists visit and all the action takes place: hotels, gambling, drinks, midget strip shows (no kidding) etc…
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