April 14, 2008

Cost Rica Day Five

We started the day in Monteverde by planting trees to help built a shelter belt to stop the mountain from washing away in the rainy season. Each student got a tree and we found holes already dug in the hillside where we could plant our trees.

This is my little tree:
It is a tree related to a Lychee that is fast growing and will create a little forest of trees in no time.

The next activity was a walk through the cloud forest at the top of the great divide. This forest was a true jungle, and remains shrouded in cloud most of the time (hence the name). It doesn't have to rain much, because the plants can get enough moisture just from the ever-present mist.
I managed to snap a photo of this little guy hiding in the trees, waiting for the people to leave so he could continue to build his nest. Her nest? I'm not sure what kind of bird it is, or whether it is a female or a male, but it was only about the size of a canary.
and some picture of ferns just opening:
Then in the afternoon we went walking through the jungle on the suspended bridges:
I hate these things, and I had to just look straight ahead and walk quickly to get across all nine of them. The bridges are various lengths and heights, but all of them were too high and too long for me. Of course, I can't claim credit for this shot from the middle of one of the bridges:
but the scenery was incredible, and the walk on land parts of the trail was worth daring the bridges. There were a lot of people ziplining, but the zipline is only about the challenge of flying through the air, and it isn't possible to see anything of the jungle, so it didn't appeal to me at all. I was walking along, thinking about the tragedy of the loss of rain forest, and how few animals we had seen on the trip so far, and a little gecko scurried across my path, as if to remind me that they were there, they just chose not to show themselves.
We returned to the hotel for lunch, and then went to shop in the tiny town of Monteverde for a few hours before dark. The town is very small, and just made up of a few small shops, some hotels and a bank, but the bank had armed security guards and a special entrance that trapped each person as they walked through the double doors. Our bank cards still didn't work, even though the bank looked sophisticated enough.
Angel Raphael came to the hotel after supper for some more dance lessons, but everyone was so tired that they all retired early.

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