I´m back at the hostel in San Jose, flying out to Ecuador tomorrow morning. We got in today around four thirty, then went to the mall and food court. I went with Alexis and John (two of the group), and Nina (one of our leaders) to see Eastern promises. It was pretty strange to have them speaking Russian with Spanish subtitles.
Sorry in advance if there are a lot of mistakes, this is a tough keyboard. It feels different, and many things are in different places. Cool keys though- ñ, ç, etc.
It has been amazing here. This week was orientation, so we spent a lot of time getting to know each other and talking about who we are and why we´re here. We also did a lot of discussions about how the program will work. We also spent hours discussing what development is, and the readings we did (Ishmael, and parts of the End of Poverty). It´s been pretty intensive discussions, but so many cool things just for fun. We learned how to surf on a completely deserted beach. The rainforest goes right down to the water, and there are little islands off the coast you can see. It´s actually kind of far from where we´re staying, so we have to hike pretty far through forest while carrying surf boards to get there. When we go, it´s mostly at five am so we can be back for breakfast! I have some pretty impressive bruises from the surf boards. It´s hard, but finally this morning I really got it, and could actually get up and stay up. We´ll be able to surf again in South Africa, although we´ll be in waters full of great white sharks. Speaking of which, we saw some here the other day while we were snorkling. Also some dolphins and whales. We´ve seen some sloths and monkeys and cool birds too! And I didn´t see a sea turtle, but other people did.
We went on a hike to the rainforest one day, and went all the way in to this crazy mountain stream with waterfalls. We collected a ton more bruises from that, because we spent the whole time climbing up waterfalls and jumping (falling) off. It was beautiful- we were the only ones there, and the trees hang right over the icy blue water and there are birds and butterflies everywhere.
We went kayacking in the mangroves one morning too. It was hard work, but so cool. I´ll eventually get pictures up, because I´m not going to be able to describe it. Our guide pointed out an alligator when we got to the main body of river, but none of us could tell it apart from the logs.
We went on a sea turtle hike one night along the beach- the only people who saw turtles were the few who stayed til two am, the rest of us went home around midnight.
The noises here are so loud- birds and bats and lizards (which make this insane chirping nyuck nyuck nyuck sound).
Everyone in my group is as amazing as they first seemed. People play guitar and dance and have travelled all over the world and speak different languages and have tons of interesting experiences and information. Everyone´s interested in things too- people just go for it, all the time. We´re all learning things from each other, so hopefully I´ll come home able to play guitar and things like that. We have a small one with us.
The coastline here at low tide makes a whale´s tale, so everything around here is named after whales.
I´m sure I´ll think of more things, but for now I have to sleep because we´re having breakfast at six thirty so we can fly to Ecuador. I was up this morning surfing, and it´s been a long day.
I think this is going to be an amazing year. Even though it´s just orientation my mind is fried from all the new things we learned and talked about. I can´t wait to start my homestay!