Saturday, September 18, 2010


Evolution is rocking my socks off. The concept is fascinating & the class is intense.
It's tough formulating sentences in english - español is like mycorrhiza enveloping my thought processing.

- make sure to note the 'wolf pack' which runs the block
And last but not least, my favorite Mamatica in all of Costa Rica looking prim & proper
Ana Chacón :)

Monday, September 13, 2010


My tardiness in blogging shows that I´m getting quite used to the culture and it´s tico time.....
A few more months, a couple of salsa classes, and a little amplification to my pachuco and I´ll be %100 gringo-tico...

Where this entry starts is ironically the same winding (vertical ... here's a demonstration: _| ) road that led us up to Braullio Carrilo National Park.. this time however, a 4by4 jeep took the place of my hiking shoes...

We (my friend from Panamá Ruth-nica-tica-panameña, as well as her friends Rafael, Benjamin, and Benjamin´s daughter) were on our way up to the mountain to meet up with Benjamin´s parents. We stopped at a grocery store where we discussed important matters (costa rican - panameñan slang, french, english, ecoturismo, and of course cerveza) and picked up the necessities (chicken wings, ribs, french bread, and last but not least.... feta cheese in olive oil - later to be spilled everywhere in the jeep!). Following the pit stop we were up up & away! and as our altitude increased and the mist thickened, we arrived at Benjamin´s parent´s mountainside getaway (shaped like /\ and complete with spectacular view, kindle burning stove, ghetto basketball court, and a nearby waterfall).

Over delicious barbecued ribs, chicken, zucchini, spaghetti, and darts (in which Benjamin´s 7ish year old daughter annihilated me) we got to know Benjamin´s parents (muy buena gente!). We graciously allowed the daily downpour to extend our conversation into the late hours of the afternoon and around 4 o´ clock we sauntered up the mountainside to the house to dry our soggy socks.

The rest of the afternoon consisted of exploration into french pronunciation, coffee (accompanied by bread, ham, and some fantastic cheese), the accidental burning of Rafael´s shoes, and video interviews for Ruth´s ecotourism project -an informative video on the potential development of ecotourism in Panamá. This was one of two surreal experiences (i´ll get to the second later) to be discussed in this entry... reason being the casual conversation and sense of welcome felt so natural and comfortable that I felt as if I was with a close group of friends & family enjoying the simple things (good food, great company, and beautiful scenery). Fortunately you get to see our silhouettes, as it was quite difficult glimpsing the surrounding mountain forest and the far far away cityscape.

The rest of the week consisted of a free bus tour to the different museums of Costa Rica
Pre-colombian sculptures at the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica

Haha one of the more interesting pieces... ´salto 28´
there were instructions which showed step by step how to take apart the block, step on the block, and before jumping ´think about the color blue´
... art ...

my fav

The rest of the week consisted of class changes (goodbye Dendrology, hello Population & Community Ecology) and interesting meals . . . 

At first I had no clue what I was looking at... rocky mountain oysters? Horse? Meat...?                                                                         I'll pass on those eggs. . . . 
While attempting to pick the meat away from what I believed to be bone, I looked across the table to see my mamatica sucking and spitting out bones like some sort of twisted Costa Rican Kobayashi.
I immediately followed suit and as I sucked the trace amounts of meat and hearty helpings of fat off the bones I realized, hey not too bad. Turned out to be pig legs.. mmmm scrumptious! The broth (which contained garbanzos, potatoes, carrots, and fresh basil ! ) was delicious with a smoky salty flavor. 
The remains. . . 
The next dish however... ´hígado´ didn´t go down quite as smoothly... Hígado is liver, in this case cow liver, which I came home to with a voracious hunger amplified by my exhaustion from muay thai. Expecting some good ol´ rice and beans, when I sat down all I was able to see was a black hole sucking up my rice and onions as well as my appetite. The first bite validated my suspicions as I chewed the stringy meat and discovered a texture highly reminiscent of dirt. I love dirt n´ worms, but this texture was far from crunched up oreos and gummy worms.... the flavor was fine but the texture combined with my physical state left far too much to be desired... and my mamatica laughed and completely understood.
Aside from somewhat intriguing foods, in the past few weeks or so I went with a group of other students river rafting on the Lower Pecuare near Turrialba ! Class II, III, and IV rapids. After a late night of karaoke-ing (michael jackson and tican folk songs led to a 2ish am arrival) we woke up at 4am to begin the transit to our final destination of Turrialba.

Although the rapids got a little bit rambunctious at times, our group... aka, the superior group, remained steadfast while the remnants of the other group were left scattered in a class IV section.... allowing us to pull them up by their lifejackets.

We spent four-ish hours on the rapids with an hour long break between to enjoy a delicious ´boofett´ prepared by our guides - fresh pineapple and chiky cookies between rapids are necessities.

Nearing the end of the rapids we passed through a water carved canyon which calmed the turbulent rapids and provided a welcome respite. Right as our guide said we could jump in I sprung up and instantly executed a swan dive (perfect 10) into the waters and allowed the gentle flow to carry me down. As I floated on my back I opened my eyes to see the lush green canopy selfishly blocking and absorbing the sunlight, only to allow faint beams to cast down to the cool waters far below. As I gazed in shear amazement at the photosynthesizing art display above I was reinvigorated by a waterfall which doused me in it´s cool waters. When I finally passed through the cascading falls and opened my eyes I was left speechless. Not because my mouth was now filled with water, but because of the shear beauty I was experiencing. Simply stunning.

Eventually I´ll blog about my trip to Rio Celeste with my Ecology Class (2am herp hunts, electric blue rapids/waterfalls, and encounters with a fer-de-lance), but as for now.... a few pics !

building of the science of the earth & sea

found this big guy in the kitchen

ta' luego