Over dinner the previous night, conversations in other languages filled the air. My two grad student bio-engineering hostel mates sat with an elderly British man, extemporizing on his solo travels around the world. The two girls were themselves fresh off a hike around the peninsula and were eager to share pictures. A couple sat nearby speaking in Spanish, the guy a Tico and the girl from somewhere I never nailed down. Across from me sat Bjoern, a German solar developer from Portland. He stared, impressed, as I set up my stove on the picnic table and quickly made myself EasyMac. I asked him if he liked Portlandia and he confessed he had gotten bored after a few episodes. He has an old friend that worked at Powell’s, my favorite bookstore ever. The majority of dinner, though, was spent discussing the pros and cons and engineering and business of solar energy. It was dark outside, the solar panel on the roof above us had charged a set of batteries, that for two hours every night powered laptops, charged cell phones, and illuminated our dinner.

The next day Bjoern and I set out with a local who’s family owned the property around the hostel to tour the woods behind his farm. Our guide wore rubber boots, shorts, and a frayed t-shirt, a machete strapped to his waist. He didn’t know much English, but knew how to pounce into leaves at just the right moment to catch you a frog. He would then pull one of a handful of laminated brochures from his back pocket to point out the name of each species.

From top to bottom:

– wild horses

– Golfo Dulce Dart Frog (and our guide)

– Violaceous Trogon

– A tree that when you stab it, apparently produced a milk-like substance that acts like pepto bismal

– fungus thingy

– Back and Green Dart Frog

– Roadside Hawk

– Rachael+a big tree

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