Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bats, and scorpions and lizards...oh my.

Greetings friends, family and random internet stalkers. We apologize for the delay in posting. It's tricky to update the blog when you're in a jungle with no internet. But alas, we are now back in the USA (New Orleans to be exact) and are here to tell you about our volunteer stint at Purasuerte in Costa Rica.

Kris and I arrived in San Isidro, and after an unsuccessful attempt to get in touch with our contact at Purasuerte, trusted a cab driver who claimed he knew how to get there. The farm was about an hour out of town, via many long and windy mountain roads. Our driver, as one would expect from a native Costa Rican, only spoke Spanish. Kris and I have limited Spanish. Yet we chatted all the way there. I'm not sure how that got accomplished but the three of us laughed a lot. We finally, after some confusing twists and turns, arrived, in the dark, at a sign that said Purasuerte. The driver turned off the car and said, "Purasuerte!" There was nothing around. Uh...we're not getting out right here, amigo. Thankfully, our next attempt to call Drennan was successful and he picked us up.

Drennan dropped us off at the volunteer house where we met Mud Flap, the friendly dreaded chap who ran the gardens, and John, the only other volunteer. In "it's a small world" news, John is a native Jerseyite now living in Philly. So, the four of us got to chatting right away, and started chopping up the ingredients for some fresh salsa.

Before I get to the details on our volunteer work, let me just tell you about my nemesis (plural nemeneaux?). The bats living above my bed. Meet Beatrice and Nadia!

If they just hung there quietly, I may've been able to adjust, but the loud swooping at night a)scheeved me out b)was just so rude and distracting for those of us who are NOT NOCTURAL. I turned into Bill Murray a la Caddyshack when it came to trying to get rid of these gals. If I wasn't on an organic farm, I may've just stabbed or punched them or both. But, alas, we're all about not killing stuff and being au I took the Flap's advice and gathered up some fresh citronella.

Here I am, working on that important project.

I tied it up in bundles all over the ceiling and alas, they found a new place to live! They still swooped through the room now and then, but I think it was clear who was boss.

So...the farm. PS, as I'll refer to it, is located in the Costa Rican jungle, in the tiny town of La Florida. There are 30 acres of beautiful, lush with flowers and plants land. There's a big 'ol greenhouse with lots of veggies and fruit. This is Mud Flap's pride and joy. Our work involved helping out in the greenhouse with watering and weeding and trimming, cleaning up dead plants and flowers throughout the property, replanting beds of spinach and cayote (This is not how you spell it. Whatever it's called, it's a tuber), and cleaning the volunteer house.

Here's Kris and I after some replanting in Mara's Garden:

Kris developing her machete weilding skills:

And here I am, with one of the many mysteries we uncovered while cleaning:

This nasty substance was on many of the books I pulled out of the bookcase. I later learned that it's larvae from the infamous Goo Bug. Just what I wanted to hear. The Goo Bug leaves this sticky, nasty substance, which is something akin to rusty honey. In short, it's disgusting.

But it wasn't all Goo Bugs and Scorpions (oh yes, found one of those crawling out of the bookcase too!). Here's one of the many types of beautiful flora that we came upon. I forget the name but let's just call it Prettyalia, or something like that.

And then we have our four-legged pals. Wuli, the cat that thinks she's a dog, loved reading American Pastoral. That's right Matt- she might be smarter than Don.

And, meet the new love of my life, Mana. If I was dognapping sort of gal, she'd be with me now. She's even cooler than this picture would suggest, if that's even possible.

Lots of down time was spent hanging out on the porch, listening to the sounds of the jungle, and contemplating life's mysteries. I swear it was more exciting than this picture of John and I would suggest.

When the sun goes down at 5:20 every day, it means nights are all about dinner and games. Here's Mud Flap, sorting out the rules for Cranium.

And here I am, cooking up some banana pancakes, next to that oh so lovely fridge.

So, there ya have it. Life in the Costa Rican jungle had it's up and downs but overall, it was a beautiful place. It was nice to wind down our big trip with lots of natural beauty, gardening, reflecting on the porch, meeting new friends, and eating the tastiest fresh pineapple I've ever had.

And, now, we're off to check out New Orleans and see what's changed since we were here about two years ago. Stay tuned for a report!

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