And, we are here!
We set off slightly delayed because of the NZ earthquake but had smooth flights from there on out. It is always mind-blowing the distance the Pacific Ocean wraps itself around the earth, taking us 13 hours to get to LA. What a joke of a place that is. We had the day till our next flight so spent it out at Venice beach marveling at the chaotic, unfriendly, spastic locals. By the time we got to the airport the whole world started to become a hazy blur of a dream, popping in and out of sleep, popping in and out of security points, constantly having to remind myself that there were no dodgy items in my luggage; oh the joys of traveling.
San Jose felt like an American export. Thought Costa Rica was going to be on par with Vietnam price-wise; I was wrong. It was almost the same as NZ or America. We stayed a couple of nights at a pretty sweet hostel to get ourselves adjusted before heading into the jungle. If you’re walking through the streets and find a man in a carnival jokers hat wielding a machete, what’s happening? Football, of course. The dramatic change in atmosphere in San Jose is astounding where on one street it could be rich gated community and one over it could be a dingy street with a bunch of crack-smokers lined up. Not our best experience of the capital and glad to be out of there.
Once we bused three hours over some precipitous passes through the mountains to a small jostling little town, San Isidro, we started to feel a little more comfortable and at ease. We grabbed some last-minute gear that we needed for our experiments and then made our last leg in a local bus winding up and up and up through a cloudy, rainy, forested valley.
The first few days have been centred around organising our projects and planning bits and pieces. As the science-saying goes, an hour in the lab saves three in the field. Last night we headed out for a good ol’ bug hunt, tubbed some of them up and then spent a few hours today photographing them in the lab. We found a palm-sized spider chilling in a banana tree, stick insects that could substitute chop-sticks, leopard-patterned moths, spiky caterpillars (see pic), buff-armed spiders (see pic), thumb-sized beetles (see pic), frogs perching on leaves, creepy looking centipedes (see pic), can’t wait to see what else lurks out there.