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San Jose to San Marcos

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It already feels like I’ve been here a month.

So much so that everyone on the team has said the same thing.

We’re “bonding” even though I’ve only known these people for a day… somehow we’ve connected.

We come from different backgrounds, but somehow share similar interests and past experiences. I think the way the “luck of the draw” put us together is pretty something.

Alex – short for Alexandra – is a hoot. She works in a medical office in Sacramento and recently lived in Paris for two years. She has children and a husband back home. Her son is in the Marines. Tonight, she confessed to me that she needed a drink.Alex taking pictures at Nati’s house.

Harmony, 29, is a grad student in Chicago studying Social Service Administration with a concentration in Human Rights. She’s married and has lived in Saudi Arabia and Vietnam. Her life experience makes her seem older than she is.
Harmony, right, talks with Nati’s father about sugar cane.

Lewis lives in Boston and works for a private university in their communications department. He has a wife and a 13-year-old daughter. He’s confessed that he hasn’t done much traveling, but that this experience may be the start of something new for him.
Lewis checks out spider eyes at INBIO.

There are other members who I’ll introduce soon. But for now I’ll tell you a little about the two Earthwatch employees who are natives of Costa Rica.

Nati – for Natalia – grew up on a coffee farm outside of San Marcos. She got a science degree and joined Earthwatch to help lead up the teams of volunteers as well as work in the fields and research lab. She’s 28-years-old and comes from a family of six. Her parents are extremely hospitable, hosting every team for dinner several times over the two weeks duration of the trip.
Sebas – or Sebastian – is from San Jose and began working with Earthwatch 18 months ago. He’s educated in agronomy, and seems pretty knowledgeable. He’s pretty sarcastic, and has had us all laughing a time or two.
We began the day with a trip to the INBioParque in San Jose. Situated on 15 acres in the middle of the city, this park is a thriving zoo-like biological reserve/education center on what used to be a coffee farm. We saw everything there from giant beetles to a real, live sloth.
We had lunch at a traditional Costa Rican restaurant and were served amazing food. I’ve got to admit that I’ve fallen in love with the fried plantains. Some of which will most likely accompany me back to the states. Avocados are served with nearly every meal too, so I’m in seventh heaven.

Then we boarded a charter bus for our trip south into the mountains. I really wasn’t prepared for the beauty of the countryside, and certainly didn’t expect coffee farms to be so spectacular. The rain had started by now, and the air temperature dropped as we gained elevation.Coffee farms as seen from the bus window.

Once we arrived at Hotel La Cascada, I was thoroughly exhausted and took a short nap.
At 5 p.m. we went to the research lab for a short orientation session and then off to Nati’s parents’ house for dinner. (More rice and black beans, fried plantains, and slow-cooked beef.)

Here’s the view from my room.

Nati’s parents are far left, Alba, and center, Jorge.

I’m pretty dead now, but look forward to spending tomorrow in class, preparing to learn all that we’re going to need to know before heading to the fields on Thursday.

So far, the whole experience has been much more than I had planned for. And I mean that in a good way.


Written by barrentine

August 27, 2008 at 5:29 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Now I need a nap too!

    Mary & Michael Sage

    August 27, 2008 at 6:52 pm

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