Thursday, February 2, 2012

Introduction to Another Paradise

An early bus ride from San Jose brought us across the country to Palmar Norte where we hopped into a taxi to a place called Sierpe. From there we caught a boat along the river and out, through the surf, to the coast. This was a fairly exciting but uneventful boat trip which ended for us at "Tent Camp" which is a small resort just around the bay from our final destination. Kate and I were met by Juan, the research assistant for the project, and Eduardo, the brother of our host "dad". After a light lunch Juan showed us around the community we are to live with for the next 10 weeks.

The first thing we noticed was the number of dogs scampering around...our family has 3 faithful muts but many more live in the other houses. Bruno, Black and Danger are our canine companions and their sleepy yet playful presence is quite welcome and they've very quickly accepted us and even join us on trips to the beach!

The community we're living with are all related. There are the parents, whom we haven't met yet, and their 8 children, each of which have a house and a family of their own. We're living with the youngest daughter, Virginia, her partner Christian and their 1 year old baby Jafeth who is loved by everyone and seems to be a very happy baby! Our house is also the local pulpería where locals and tourists alike come to buy milk, soap, ice-cream, coke and many other random things! Needless to say we have many visitors and Kate and I are always entertained by the "regulars" who come for ice-cream in the evenings!

Our first 2 days were spent familiarising ourselves with the area and getting acclimatised. We spent the first day on the beach working on our tans and our swimming skills and the second day we went to the local town of Drake. The beauty of the area is breath taking! Yet again we're fortunate enough to have an opportunity to live in paradise! Beautiful ocean, pristine sandy beaches, rugged rocks, lush primary rainforest, cool rushing streams and plenty of wildlife. Stunningly beautiful!

After that gentle introduction we were thrown in at the deep end and shown just what was in store for us for the next 10 weeks!

From day 1 in Jalova we are taught the rules of the jungle: Buddy up, stay on the trail, wear long trousers and shirt and DON'T TOUCH THE VEGETATION! Although these rules are all well and good and certainly help keep us alive and out of harm's way, it's hardly the best way to really "experience" the jungle! On our first day of work we discovered that the locals who have lived in the forest their entire lives, walk slightly differently...

In several days there will be another post about our work here in Drake Bay!

Hasta pronto!!

-The Drake Bay Team

(Helen and Kate, GVI interns)