Night walk in the jungle

The night belongs to the frogs. . .

I went on a night walk with a guide last night to gain an understanding of all the incredible sounds, and to witness the night critters up close and personal.  Although we only saw one snake and my photos didn’t come out well enough to post, they apparently come out in droves after a good rain as they prey on the frogs who also come out after the rain.  As it rained hard the night before, we enjoyed a symphony of frogs and insects!  Enjoy.

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Slideshow from Manuel Antonio National Park

Yes.  I am a dork.

Here is the slideshow from my first trip into the Park with Manuel, my guide.  Enjoy!

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Photo credit: Manuel Cabalceta (www.manuelstours.com)

Introductions. . .

David and Mauricio at Academia D’Amore

I wanted to introduce you all to the fabulous staff of Academia de Espanol D’Amore, the Spanish immersion school I’m attending daily for the next two months.  My teacher Keilyn is fantastic.  Thankfully she is also very patient and kind!  Mauricio is the sweetest man ever.  He does everything at the school from general maintenance to plumbing and electrical work, to hosting students for conversational Spanish an hour each day.  I have so much fun with both Keilyn and Mauricio!  Yesterday I helped Keilyn pull information together on the Pacific Gargage Patch so that she could present it in an environmental science class she is taking at night.  She was a hit!  She said it prompted lots of great discussions in class, and loads of learning for the students.  Today Mauricio found a vine snake in the trees and brought it to me so I could handle it and experience it.  What a beauty!

Viviana runs the place with grace and humor, and is the administrative assistant to David who is the Director and founder of the school.  David is clearly a beach bum at heart and has a silly, fun-loving soul.

They all seem to be like family and generally care about each other.  It’s a wonderful environment and I’m so thankful I found this school on line!

Enjoy!

Catalina

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First Foray into Manuel Antonio National Park

I explored Manuel Antonio National Park with a guide named Manuel (really) on Saturday and it was wonderful.  He had a fabulous spotting scope so powerful you could take pictures through it.  He was able to show me tiny insects and birds and animals far up in the canopy through the scope.  He used his camera for half the trip and sent me the photos that I will post when I am able to upload them to WordPress.  I keep getting errors and I don’t know why.  So far I was only successful in uploading one image – the gorgeous tent bats you see here.  Unfortunately Manuel’s battery died halfway through the tour and then I had to use my camera, so the photos in the slideshow below are from my little dinky camera.  Manuel was a great guide.  He was very informed and clearly loved his job, the gorgeous Costa Rican wildlife and environment. More to come.

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Play in Quepos Saturday night

My new friend Moriah was in a play Saturday night that was very well done.  What I could understand of it. . .was hilarious and poignant.  The house was packed on their opening night, which was surprising considering the topics.  The play was sort of a public service message encouraging families to openly discuss topics typically considered taboo here in Costa Rica – sex, sexuality, homosexuality, menstruation, reproduction, etc.  They used humor and dialogue through short skits written and produced by the actors, and the audience loved it.  They may take it on the road and visit other communities – very cool.  Moriah is the lovely young Chica in the black skirt.  She is sooo courageous!  She studied Spanish at the same school I’m attending and then moved here on her own about a year later.  She found this theater as she was looking to build her ‘community’ and now she’s completely been taken into their fold. Great job Moriah!

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Taking matters into their own hands.

After class yesterday I spent the afternoon with my new friend Moriah and she showed me around Quepos.  She lives in a Tico community that apparently floods badly during heavy rains.  Her neighbor took matters into her own hands and is paying to dig a trench and install a drainage pipe.  Unfortunately, they dug through the side of a hill that is a graveyard!  It appears the hill could easily erode in the next rain, and with the crosses marking the grave sites teetering on the edge . . . it’s hard to know what will come down with the soil!  Yikes.

I just realized I never got a picture of Moriah – I’ll fix that tonight.

I’m getting ready to go on a tour of Manuel Antonio National Park this morning and will spend the day exploring the trails and beaches in the park.  Tonight I will attend Moriah’s play – sort of a Spanish Vagina Monologues!!

More to come.  . .

Catalina

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Extreme sloth repelling?!

I’ve found the most amazing place to eat delicious ceviche while doing my homework.  It’s a little shack-type restaurant/bar on the beach called Balu.  They have lockers so I can lock my stuff up while I go for a swim as well, which is fantastic since petty theft is apparently a huge problem here.  And I use the term ‘swim’ very loosely as not only is this the rainy season, but it’s big wave season as well.  I got pummeled yesterday in about three feet of water before retreating back to the restaurant to do my homework while shaking the mound of sand out of my hair.  I can still feel sand grains between my teeth. . .

View from Balu Restaurant

View from Balu Restaurant

View from Balu Restaurant

View from Balu Restaurant

I had dinner tonight at a local restaurant with a killer view of the Manuel Antonio coastline called Agua Azul, and as I was about to order, I noticed the couple at the next table staring in the direction below the balcony.  I looked over the railing and there was the most ridiculous sight.  A sloth literally repelling across an electrical line. . .no shit.  This little dude (or dudette) repelled until (s)he hit the telephone pole and then realized (s)he was screwed, so started back in the direction (s)he came from!  Check out the photos.  They are a bit dark as the sun was about to set.  I did my best to lighten them up.

Sloth repelling

Sloth repelling

Sloth repelling

Sloth repelling

Sloth repelling

Sloth repelling

View from Aqua Azul restaurant

View from Aqua Azul restaurant

View from Aqua Azul restaurant

View from Aqua Azul restaurant

This weekend is shaping up to be a great adventure.  I’ll take the bus into Quepos tomorrow to experience the farmers market on the boardwalk.  Hopefully I will find some good produce and less expensive eats.  Saturday morning I will explore Manuel Antonio National Park with a guide hired through my school so I can get the lay of the land in the park.  That way I can enter on my own from now on and explore unaided.  The beaches in the park are apparently more sheltered and amazing.. . although there are salt water crocs and this is mating season!  Fun stuff.  Saturday night I’m attending a play that my new friend Moriah is in.  She describes it sort of as the Spanish vagina monologues.  Can’t wait to see what that’s about!

Stay tuned. . .

Tranquilo,

Catalina