Saturday, December 31, 2011

Friday December 30, 2011

Going home!

Our Costa Rica family--from left: Fabio, Rosi, me, Oscar, Jorge,  and Laura.

Yaya next to me in the middle.

Alvaro found this little guy in the road while we were driving to the project for the last time.

Me and Julio...

Teniente, our "supervisor" on the project.

At the airport in San Jose...

...then, above San Jose.


Sunset over Miami.


And home to my own creatures!

Tuesday December 27, 2011


Today, we began building a new habitat from the ground up…literally!  We gathered the ingredients for cement, mixed them together, then added water.  It’s just like baking your favorite cake from scratch, except you’re pushing the ingredients around in a wheelbarrow, hefting a shovel not a hand mixer, and you can’t lick the bowl!

It was really hot this afternoon, so instead of subjecting Safiya to all that shoveling and mixing, I put her in charge of getting some really good pics of the humming birds that hover around the pond.  She did a great job.






After dinner, we made empanadas de pina!  They smelled sooooo good as they were baking.  They tasted even better!





Monday December 26, 2011


Today, we took apart Benjamin’s old habitat.  We also put the finishing touches on the crate that we started building on Friday.  Safiya REALLY enjoyed using the saw!  When we finally got the crate inside the habitat, Benjamin wasn’t so impressed.  He was far more interested in climbing all over the cage than he was in his new bedroom…at first.



The couple from New York came back today with their daughter.  They are making a video highlighting the Project’s efforts to conserve and rehabilitate some of the local wildlife.  We saw them doing some filming, and they told us that once they were done they hoped to find a distributor for the film.  Wish them luck!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Sunday December 25, 2011


Feliz navidad!  Our top story, nerdy gringa catches Christmas fish…



Safiya and I spent our holiday hanging out at the lagoon with our extended host family, which included Rosi, her husband Fabio, their children, one of Rosi’s sisters, and her papi.  After fishing, we went back to Rosi’s parents for a snack and a rest.  I bought some edible souvenirs at la tienda de Rosi’s mami.  Nathan, if you’re reading, I got your Lizano! 

Saturday December 24, 2011

Ah, our first day of rest!  Safiya and I slept until a decadent 10 a.m.  Actually, everyone slept in; Rosi stayed up late last night making tamales, a traditional food served in abundance during Christmas celebrations.   She was tired, too! 

There was a lot of cooking today, actually, and Safiya and I helped where we could.  Rosi es una buena cocinera, a very good cook!  I am definitely picking up some tips from her.  There may be hope for me yet J

Those are oranges I'm cutting up.  The peel is supposed to be more green, not florescent orange like the peels on the oranges I'm used to!



In the evening, we went to visit with Rosi’s sister Cindi.  We met more relatives, including this lovely bunch…






…and we ate more good food!  I REALLY like it here!

The one bit of discomfort—these! 


If it weren't for Safiya's constant encouragement (read embarrassment) I would have spent a lot of time standing in a corner scratching myself!  LOL!


Yes, something has been munching on me.  And here is why.  Yesterday, in a wild fit of gringa bravado, I was purposefully lax in my application of bug repellent.  I figured hey, the Ticos don’t seem to need it, I’m gonna be like them.  I’ve been here all of five days.  I’m probably immune to being bitten.  So, I spent a large part of the day roaming around the project “unprotected”.  Travel tip number whatever…don’t do that! 

Friday December 23, 2011


If I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the morning…

And we did!  Today, we helped build a new crate to put in Benjamin’s habitat.  He likes to have a nice enclosed space to go to when he’s tired or afraid.  We worked with Teniente and a really nice couple from New York who were there to volunteer for just a few days.




We also got our first real taste of wet weather today.  They don’t call it the rainforest for nothing.  The weather went from zero to downpour in seconds, and the rain would stop just as suddenly.  Couldn’t get much work done in the rain, but we got some really nice pictures while we were waiting for it to stop.








Monday, December 26, 2011

Thursday December 22, 2011



Thursday, December 22, 2011

Today, we got to play!  We took the day off from the project and spent some time being touristas in La Fortuna.

So, I happen to have a mild fear of heights.  It is a fear that becomes LESS mild the higher up I go.  So, in typical Janvier fashion, I do this!  Take that, acrophobia!



video
Then, there was horseback riding.  I rode Herman.  Herman was a beautiful horse with a bit of a competitive streak; he did not like to be anywhere near the back of the herd (we went with the students from Texas A&M, so we were a herd)!  Herman did a lot of galloping today, and I did quite a bit of bouncing up and down, and a bit of hanging on for dear life!  It was so much fun!



Then, hiking the volcano—Arenal!  There are no words…






Also got in a bit of that all time tourist favorite, shopping for souvenirs!  Yay!

Back to work tomorrow, off to bed now.  Hasta manana!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wednesday December 21, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Today was beautiful!  Clear and warm—perfect weather for sanding, scrubbing, and painting.

In the morning, we scrubbed out the loras cages again.  Cleaning up after them reminded me of a good friend I have who used to go to great lengths not to park under trees.  He said the bird poop was really hard to get off his car.  I don’t drive, so I always thought that was the exaggeration of an overprotective (read anal) autophile…until this week!   A. K.  I will never chuckle under my breath at your parking habits again!

Hanging out for somewhat extended periods of time in the loras cages always proves quite interesting, though.  Yesterday, one decided to perch in my hair!  It stomped around up there and proceeded to laugh at me!  Today, it was wolf whistles and this…!



After a morning of cleaning, we moved on to paint cages in the afternoon.  Well, actually it was one cage.  In the end, it was hard to tell whether we painted it, or vice versa…



After work, Adriana (one of the amazing employees at the project) took us to the Super Cindy to buy a phone card.  I walked in, and was immediately transported back to the golden days of my youth…they had TANG!  But not just the one measely flavor that was available to me as a child, oh no!  Look at this!  They even had horchata flavored Tang!



And back at Rosi’s, another blast from the past.  The sobrinos were hanging out for the evening, and they were a joy in and of themselves. However, Alejandro is holding in his hand (just under the counter) a small white racecar with a red letter “M” on its hood.  and a five on each of its side doors…  I was in oddly dubbed anime heaven!  Mach GoGoGo.! (aka Speed Racer)



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tuesday 12-20-11

Don Jaime, the founder of Proyecto Asis, picked Safiya and me up for work this morning!  He has been on site every day, so far, and seems to be very involved with the day-to-day operations there.  Actually, it’s cool to see how dedicated everyone is, and easy to see why the project is going strong after seventeen years! 

We did lots of cleaning today!  It took all morning.  It might have taken less time if I hadn’t been continuously set upon by the wildlife!  It seems that dreadlocks are a novelty to birds and beasts alike.  Mine were constantly in danger of being eaten…or nested in.  Either way, the morning cleaning was very lively!

It slowed down after lunch.  The students from Texas were around for most of the day today, so there wasn’t a lot of work left over for Safiya and me.   We had a leisurely lunch and caught up on some internet surfing, then did a bit more work before Don Jaime picked us up and brought us home.

Rosi and Fabio hosted the vet students for dinner in the evening.  We made tomales!  It’s not easy to fold those banana leaves; even harder to get them to STAY folded.  Even with all my previous origami experience (thanks Tom V.), my tomales were a bit misshapen and leaky.  I won’t know how they taste until tomorrow…maybe that’s for the best.

After dinner, Safiya and Laura, Rosi's daughter found a common interest…Jenga!



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monday 12-19-11

Monday, December 18, 2011

Travel lesson number two; don’t wear lip balm in the rainforest!  I would explain why, but I think you get the idea.

The lip fiasco was one of many very interesting experiences today.  We got our first glimpse of Proyecto Asis!  We learned all about when and why it was established, then we met all the animals.  We also met some very interesting people.  The morning crew of volunteers consisted of people passing through who wanted to donate some time to the project before moving on to explore more of Costa Rica.  There was a family of four from San Francisco, a couple of English Texans, and a couple from New York.  In the afternoon, the other volunteers consisted of a group of veterinary students from Texas.   And then, of course, there was the project staff…all very nice!

I also ate a termite…on purpose, not due to my poor cosmetic choice.  I was told the little guy would taste like carrots.  I found that prospect interesting enough to test it out for myself.  It did!  My daughter found a way to be both underwhelmed and mortified by my daring.  That’s a rare talent that seems to be cultivated by many kids her age…all over the world!

Safiya and I took lots of animal pics.  I was also almost mauled by a two-toed sloth.  Luckily, I was able to meander out of his reach before any harm was done.

Living la pura vida!

Come on...if you could eat snacks off your own belly, you know you would!

He looks so sweet...

...until he STRIKES!