On the 4th day in Nosara, we found the scorpion in our room. I had already taken my trusty half a melatonin pill and dozed off. I’ve been fighting a stubborn bout of insomnia for the past 4 ½ years, and so far the best weapon is melatonin. It has the same magical effect as a cartoon animal being hit on the head with a masonry brick, even if I do still usually wake up at 3 for a good round of worrying that back in 1995 I might have forgotten to feed my friend Dave’s cat while he was out of town. But ten minutes after the early-brick stage of sleep got underway, Nadja let out a series of shrieking swear words that would make the Dread Pirate Roberts blush, because there was a scorpion next to the bed.

We should have used something for scale, but here it is. It was at least as big as your hand. Nadja deposited it back outside with the help of the carafe from the blender we had in the kitchen.

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It’s a Tailless Whiptail Scorpion, and it turns out it can’t hurt you, having no tail. One of its immediate kin was that poor mistreated “spider” in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.