En Route to Costa Rica
Voy a Costa Rica para observar los aves.
(I am going to Costa Rica to watch birds. Well… I think that is how you say that in Spanish.)
I have a mosquito net for my bed, a bug jacket, and oodles of bug spray. I’ve got a money belt and US dollars to exchange for colones. I’ve got quick-dry pants, silica gel to protect my camera against the humidity, and rubber boots that seriously take up too much room in my pack. I’ve got a toque and fleece so I don’t freeze to death up on the “mountain of death” (Cerro de la Muerta.) I’ve got more stuff than I want to be carrying, but couldn’t think of what to leave behind.
I am vaccinated against typhoid, cholera, e. coli, and hepatitis A. I think I have a basic grasp of the Spanish language (I took four years of it in high school, by correspondence, and have tried to study it on and off since.) But just now, listening to a Spanish announcement here in the Houston airport all I could pick out were “vuelo” (flight) and Panamá. I know that to ticos (Costa Ricans) “pico” and “pájaro” (beak and small bird, words I might want to use) are also slang for other things I probably don’t want to be talking about. I’ve got a Spanish-English dictionary and a Costa Rica travel guide. Note to self; remember to say “Buenas noches” to the cab driver before I tell him where I want to go.
I’ve got two birds guides and I’ve been trying to learn my birds, but with three banding stations in widely different areas, that’s a lot of species to cover. Blue-crowned motmots! Song wrens! Collared araçaris! Great kiskadees! Swainson’s thrush! (Actually, I just helped band 190 Swainson’s thrush at Mackenzie, but I’ll still be excited to see them—they’re among the small percentage of birds in CR that I actually know anything about!)
I arrive in Costa Rica this evening, have a day of training in Santo Domingo de Heredia, which is quite close to San José, the capital, and then the next day I’m off by taxi, bus, and boat to Tortuguero, on the Caribbean coast, for 10 days. Then I’m off to Cerro de la Muerta, back to Santo Domingo, and then back to Tortuguero… it sounds a bit hectic. And I’m already exhausted from the last few days of rushing to get ready and then this long day of travel. But the crazy birds, Jillian, think about how awesome it is going to be! And the monkeys, and iguanas, and coatis, and…!!!! 😉
I don’t know yet, what my internet access situation will be like, but I will try to post (with photos, of course!) when possible.