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Journals from Costa Rica Fall 2008

2008-11-02 Giramania (FieldTripMania)

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After snorkeling in the Caribbean

Dear Linfield Students Abroad Journal, Im sorry its been so long since I last wrote you, but as were encroaching on the final third of our academic semester, there have been many a test to take and many a paper to write. Were going to slip back a couple of weekends so that I can fill you in on all of the exciting stuff weve been doing. First, 3 weekends ago we went to the Caribbean. That was hands-down our favorite trip thus far. If youve ever heard the phrase Dont Worry, Be Happy, or the song, the vibe at el Caribe is pretty much exactly that. Or at least thats my best attempt at describing it. Such a warm breeze blows through and that combined with the laid-back manner in which the Rastas talk it just blends into a stellar atmosphere. Okay, so our trip to the Caribe started out with a stop at the Dole Banana Plantation, which was very interesting. There are two things from that I think you all should know: 1) Each banana plant produces only one bunch of bananas in its entire life. (Weird, who knew?) 2) The reason that bananas are typically arched instead of straight is because they grow upside down and are trying to regain their original shape (so dont think you need to buy straight ones.) After that we went to the Tirimbina Reserve, where we got to go on a beautiful hike through the rain forest and were able to see lots of cool plants, the biggest spider Ive ever seen in my life (which I found when it was about 2 inches away from my face- Charlotte decided to construct her web directly across the path, at about head height), lots of other bugs and birds, and monkeys! It was really neat. And on that hike we had to walk across many a footbridge which was a little scary, but such an adrenaline rush! Our next cool experience was snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea. It was so beautiful and so warm and so much fun and we got to see tons of fish, a 5-footish shark taking a nap on the bottom, and the biggest stingray Ive ever seen in my life! The stingray had about a 5-foot diameter, and like a 6-foot long tail. So intense and scary (RIP Steve Irwin). Then we got to spend a day just hanging out at the beach relaxing and playing in the water while observing the lifestyle of the Caribe. This was kind of a mini accounting of our experiences, but honestly it was a blast. Two weekends ago we went on our trip to Palo Verde and Monteverde. That one was pretty rad too, though I must say the Caribe was much more my style. Palo Verde is a national park in which we went on a boat ride through the River Tempisque (which is supposedly full of crocodiles! ...The water was too high so we didnt see any ). But we got to see real swamp and tons of unique beautiful birds, so that was really neat. In our lengthy hike over to the river, we ran into a part of the road that was completely swamped in. It was probably at least 100 feet of swampage, so we removed our zapatos and medias (shoes and socks) and went for it. The mud was really squishy and gooey and the rocks were really sharp, but it definitely made for a one-of-a-kind experience and a good story. The only bad thing about that Reserve: SO MANY BUGS. We all got eaten alive. There were so many bugs that even though the rooms had 3 screens on each of the windows we had mosquito nets over our beds. They also told us to make sure the (communal outdoor) bathroom doors were shut, or else snakes would try to get in there and bite us while we were going to the bathroom. Oh, and they werent joking, they had to remove a snake from one of the bathrooms the night we were there. They also told us to check our shoes before we put them on, because its common to find snakes curled up in them. Ahhh! The next day we left for Monteverde. There, we got to go to a Mariposarium (I forget the terminology in English.. a Butterfly Museum?) where we saw and learned about lots of gross (I mean really cool) bugs and we each got to release a baby butterfly into the garden and watch it take its first flight. The next day we went on a hike through the Monteverde Reserve and hiked all the way up to the Continental Divide. As we were so high up, (about 6,000+ feet, the sun was SO hot up there. On that hike we saw lots of cool birds, a tarantula, a puma track, and my most exciting one: a woodpecker. We actually saw one in the wild pecking on a tree. The next day we got to go zip lining! That was so much fun. We all went in a big group together, and the most exciting part of all was the Tarzan Swing in the middle. You climb up this huge platform and they hook your little harness up to the Tarzan chord, and you are pushed off and you swing back and forth in the air until you stop. It was so much fun and made your stomach jump like a thousand feet. We all did it, and got some pretty funny videos of the initial free-fall. Some responded with screams, others with squeaking noises and others with profanity. Quite amusing. This Monday we leave at 6:30am for our Nicaragua trip (Well probably be en route by the time this is posted). First we are going to Guanacaste, the northwestern region of the pas (country) after which were heading up to Nicaragua. Ive heard great things about Nicaragua, so Im really excited! I also heard that Halloween was the first blustery, rainy day in the valley. Poor trick-or-treaters! But then, we all know that Halloween costumes in Oregon are made to fit under rain jackets. Hasta luego, SALLIE

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