Happy Birthday, Lily Limpiacasas!
Lily Limpiacasas, the house gecko, lived in a hotel in Nicaragua. And it was almost her birthday. She had a lot of gecko friends at the hotel. Some of them lived in the comidor, the outside dining room, like she did and others lived in the bedrooms and even in the office.
She chirped out her invitation, “Meet me at the lightbulb after the sun goes down.” That was a great spot for a party. There were enough mosquitos and other tasty flies for everyone, and even the bats if they wanted to stop by.
Usually her color was drab so she blended into the wall, although she spent a good part of her day sleeping behind the activities board with a couple of her friends. But since it was her special day, she decided to put on some bright colors. In fact, she decided to be a rainbow for her birthday. Her friends, Cassie and Bob, decided to get fancied up, too. But of course, they didn’t want to outshine the birthday girl, so Cassie decided to be green and blue and Bob chose orange, his favorite color. They admired each others party colors and waited for night to come. Even during the day, a few mosquitoes buzzed past them, but Lily was too excited to eat, although her friends did have a little snack while they waited.
They smelled the human’s food cooking and then heard the bell ring for supper. That meant it would be dark soon and then the guard would turn on the light. Lily was so excited that she ran up and down the wall. And while she ran, her friends cheered, for they liked seeing a streak of rainbow moving up and down. They had seen real rainbows before, and they were nice, too, but they couldn’t run and sing.
Finally, night came. The night guard came by to turn on the light. The geckos watched him flip on the light and there was the glorious white blaze, but it was only there for a moment and then it was gone. It wasn’t unusual for the lights to go out, and there was still always plenty to eat. But without lights, Lily couldn’t have her party. She had imagined all of her friends gathered around the light, feasting on the insects that couldn’t resist the glow. She had imagined all of her friends admiring her rainbow colors. She had imagined the happy chirping of her friends and the buzzing of the insects. It was supposed to be the perfect night, and now everything was ruined.
“Maybe the lights will come back on soon,” said Bob.
But they didn’t. The people had put candles on their table so they could see their dinners, but the bugs didn’t fly around the candles. Besides, Lily would never go so close to people, especially not with her rainbow colors on.
Her friends came from the rooms and the walls. They told Lily that they didn’t mind if there wasn’t a feast. They admired her rainbow colors, even though they weren’t so bright in the dark. But Lily didn’t even talk to them. She went back behind the board, feeling sad. Her friends were sad, too, but they knew she needed some space. They stayed in the comedor, anyhow, eating a little and chatting with each other. The candles went out and the people went upstairs. The space was completely dark, and it was even darker behind the board.
And then, a miracle happened! The night guard ate his dinner. And when he did, he hung his big flashlight on the wall. It was pointing toward the board and some of the light crept behind it to where Lily was waiting all by herself. She washed her eyes to make sure she wasn’t imagining something, but she also heard a cheer go up from her friends. She poked her head out and saw the flashlight and saw the mosquitoes and other buzzy bugs buzzing around it. Her friends looked at her expectantly. And out she marched.
“Happy birthday,” the other geckos chirped.
“You look beautiful,” they said.
“Let’s eat,” said Lily, suddenly ravenous.
And they did. It turned out just how Lily had hoped it would. Everyone ate and chirped and laughed. And even when the night guard finished his dinner, he left the flashlight hanging, walking off with another flashlight.
Does he know it’s my birthday, Lily wondered. But she would never know the answer.
All she knew was that it was the best birthday ever.
Here is another story about some of the fascinating creatures I’ve come across in my travels. I had heard the chirping of the geckos in Nicaragua, but didn’t know what I was hearing. Then when I arrived on Isla de Ometepe and turned on the AC, two geckos came out from behind the unit and ran all over the room, chirping, and then I knew where the sound was coming from. So I did a little research and found that they these common house geckos, one of the few lizards that make sounds, are also called limpiacasas, which means house cleaners, because they eat so many bugs.
Here are some cool photos of these interesting guys (and interesting facts, too).
This week I am in Monteverde, Costa Rica, visiting my daughter, Gabi, who is doing a semester abroad here, and was joined by Rachel, my older daughter. It has been a wonderful week, and I return home on Sunday, which I am not totally excited about, but I will be happy to see my friends and kitties again.
Yesterday was my birthday and Gabi took the day off from her teaching and the 3 of us spent the day together.
We went on a tour of a chocolate/coffee plantation, which was both interesting and tasty.
We are staying at a wonderful hotel, Hotel Belmar, fashioned after a lodge in the Alps. Yesterday, everyone I saw on the staff wished me a happy birthday and they sent up a cake (which I couldn’t eat, but the girls enjoyed it) and strawberries and chocolates (I could eat the strawberries and they were delicious and cut like flowers). Like Lily, I had the best birthday ever!
Thanks for stopping by!