Monday, February 22, 2010

Report from a gringa in Costa Rica

(that is apparently what we are called, white woman = gringa)

LA and I got up at 3.30 AM at home, took a cab to Newark at 4 AM, arrived at the airport at 5.30 AM, left on a plane at 7.30 AM, suffered through a very bumpy ride to San Jose, Costa Rica, arrived right before noon (local time), waited in line for immigration control for 45 min, then got picked up by our driver for a ca 300 km car trip to a biological research station in the southwestern part of the country, but the boss (who was not part of the trip...) of the driver insisted that he should take the new, improved, longer and 'faster' route with us, so off we went, along the coast, driving and driving and driving by our poor driver, darkness fell at 6 PM, up hills with hairpin curves, got towed up one hill by three friendly Costa Rican's in a Toyota 4x4 because the roadwork people had left the roadbed just in soft gravel, which our Toyota Corolla we were in couldn't handle (I would like to have seen that happen in NJ), and then arrived at our destination at 9 PM (not 7 PM as planned) and 450 km later. And if you tell the youth today that, they won't believe you. Except for LA who was in the backseat and lived through it all. Actually, it was just tiresome, not dangerous or horrible at all. Sens moral: don't trust the boss when it comes to directions or travel advice.

So here we are, 17 hours after we have left NJ, in a cabin surrounded by rainforest sounds. We haven't seen anything of the forest yet since it is dark but we saw some other cool things on the way here. Frigate birds, kiskadee (yellow and black bird, catches insects in the air), a sign for DING car mechanics, lots of black vultures, some kind of large cat (maybe twice the size of Ella), pelicans, flowering trees in bright yellow, purple and white, immense palm oil plantations, and smelly factories where they extract the oil, very funny and skinny cows with long hanging ears, egret herons, and I have also learned many words in Spanish. And some I just suddenly remember, like el gato. Costa Ricans are extremely friendly - they all stop when you need directions. So far we have only found 4 ants in our cabin room. It looks like a wonderful research station and the accomodation is great. I wonder what kind of frog or bird or insect is making that funny sound outside? Time for bed, it has been a long day. Photos will have to wait until I have some.

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