12. Time for Bed & Time to Get Up

Back in the US we weren’t really the type of people to stay up late or sleep in late. Typically we were in bed by about 9 and up by 6:30 at the latest on the weekends (that’s all the later the dogs would let us sleep in anyway, but usually we were ready to get up by that time). My alarm clock went off for work at 5 and Ramie’s went off at 6. Now that we don’t have to get up for work anymore, our sleep schedule has changed, but not in the way you might think!

Since we’re so close to the equator day and night are pretty equal all year round. It also means that dawn and dusk don’t last that long and once the sun goes down, it gets dark fast (and the same with dawn getting light fast). The sun goes down around 5:30 and it is pitch dark by a little after 6. On cloudy or rainy evenings it can even be dark much earlier. You can sit outside for about another half hour after that before the bugs start getting too, well, buggy. Ok, no problem you say, then just go hang out in the house. Well, yes--- but the problem there is that the houses are not built to such high quality like they are in MN or even the US for that matter. Since they don’t have to be insulated for cold winters and they don’t put trim around doors and windows, drafts and gaps are not uncommon. You know what can get through these gaps?

Bugs!! (We've told you about these guys in a previous post!!)

So, you really don’t want to keep the lights on in the house, otherwise all of those buggies from outside really want to get inside. So, it’s 6:30, you keep the lights at a minimum, play on your phone for a little while and chit chat. That will get you to 7:30. Well, that means our new bed time is 7:30 or 8:00! Sometimes we will be party animals and stay up a little while later if the bugs aren’t terrible and we can stand to sit outside for longer. 


Those nights are kind of neat, you can hear all of the new night time animals wake up and get to watch the bats eating the bugs (they fly so close to our veranda that you think they are coming right at you but in reality, they are still about 6 feet away)! There are the sounds of the nighttime frogs, toads, and cicadas (although cicadas go all day long), and you can watch the fireflies, as well as the other things that go bump in the night! Sometimes its eerie, but its so intriguing at the same time. Ramie will sometimes get up and grab his high powered flashlight and shine it across the yard and roads to try to catch what ever animal you think you can hear rustling around in the jungle. It is amazing how the area has a whole new animal population once the sun goes down. We have yet to see anything, but maybe someday we will catch a jaguar or other jungle cat, a tapir, an anteater or who knows what else!?

Going to bed at 7:30 probably isn’t such a bad thing since the sun comes up early here too. It’s starting to get pretty light out by about 5am and is fully light around 5:30 (as long as it’s not cloudy or stormy). Just because it’s light out doesn’t mean we have to get up, I know, but also with the light comes the howler monkeys, or perhaps a local rooster, or the toucans!!

We have a family of about 12 howler monkeys that usually live in the trees just outside of our house. They are awake before the first glimpse of light and usually start making a racket at about 4:40. There is no sleeping through these guys!! If you don’t know what a howler monkey sounds like, google it and find a you tube video, then turn the volume all the way up and put your head really close to the speakers… Good morning howlers!!! They usually only make lots of noise until a little after 5, but by then I can’t fall back asleep.

Most mornings I try to lay in bed until after 6 because Ramie somehow is able to fall back asleep after all of that, and I try not to disturb him in our little 1 room house. As for these howler monkeys, once they are done in the morning, you typically don’t hear much from them again until about an hour before the sun goes down or if something irritates them during the day (they go nuts if it starts to rain or if there is some other type of disturbance nearby). They are fun to watch from our deck, but I sure wish they would learn to sleep in!! If, on the other hand, it is the rooster or toucans that wake you up in the morning—well, those guys don’t quiet down like the monkeys do. I’m sure you all know what a rooster sounds like, but go ahead and find a video of the toucans (I think we’ve posted some in the past on our facebook as well). This goes on and on. The toucans aren’t permanent residents of our yard, but on days that they come visit, they stick around long past their welcome. I know that we humans have invaded on their home habitat, and not the other way around, but please, could you guys learn to sleep in for a little while too?