Pura Vida: Week Two and Our Weekend at Cauhita

By Kelsey Speer

The second week here in San José was mainly focused on our grammar classes and starting our research on our field study projects. The library here at the ACM building is very small, but actually quite good, so I’ve been very successful in finding books on how to properly catch frogs. On Wednesday, a bunch of us went to a restaurant/pub to watch the Costa Rica vs. Honduras World Cup qualifier game. Neither team is incredibly talented, but the atmosphere was very tense, since Costa Rica hasn’t beaten Honduras since 1960. Costa Rica won 2-0, and the whole place exploded. I love being in a country where soccer is the main sport-people scream at the refs, the players and each other. Also, apparently no one likes the Mexican team, so the U.S. victory that same day was a great success as well.

On Friday, we all left on a trip we had planned ourselves to the beach town Cauhita. It is actually a National Park on the Atlantic Coast in the Province of Limón. Limón is a
very unique part of Costa Rica-many Jamaicans settled there in the past century because of land scarcities in their own country. Because of this, many people speak English there and listen to reggae. San José is relatively cool and dry at this time of year, so it was a shock to suddenly enter really hot, humid weather. The region has actually had some severe flooding over the last few weeks, so only the national park beaches were usable.

That being said, it was one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. Right behind it was the tropical rainforest, which was teeming with life. As you can see from my pictures, there were sloths, monkeys (howlers not pictured) and snakes easily visible. Also, there were tons of leaf-cutter ants, who have a fascinating life history. You can see them harvesting pieces of leaves in the pictures I have. Interestingly enough, they do not eat these leaves, but in fact feed them to a fungus that they grow in their nests. They farm this fungus like we farm wheat, and eat secretions from the plant.

Well, we had a great time playing around in the water on Saturday, and headed back on Sunday to San José. Since then, we’ve started working hard on our projects. It’s not long now until we head out into the field!To read more of Kelsey’s blog vist:?http://web.mac.com/kspeer/iWeb/Pura%20Vida/Welcome.html