Yat's Big Trip travel blog

A group of language students arrived in Miriams cabinas (lodgings for casual let) for the weekend. They were a young group, mainly from the States, two being Canadians, and an Italian who more or less lives in the States - hence they all spoke English. Their programme involves two weeks of Spanish classes in Heredia, then various length of time of voluntary work. As a weekend trip, they decided to come to Tarcoles.

Being the lazy Spanish speaker that I am, I obviously welcomed the opportunity of sitting with them, and speaking in the way easiest to me. Perhaps because I helped to serve the food and drink, or time has taken its effect, Miriam was standing proudly behind Sami and I during the meal, sometimes with her arm fondly on our chair. It's nice to know that even my homestay mum may be proud of me being able to garble in a different language fluently!

I forget to mention that there was also a group of uni students from the Univeristy of Wisconsin Green Bay, on a two week placement/vacation at the National Park Carara. It was fun painting with them, and great to see much quicker advances with the work. Unfortunately they couldn't work everyday of the weeks, and they invited us not only to lunch with them one day, but also to a disco on Friday night to the nearby town of Quebrada Ganada.

Not only did most of the language Gringos (specific name for Americans in Costa Rica) wanted to go dancing with us, there was also in addition a film director, Tom, who is volunteering to build a website for LAPPA, the organisation I am helping with the Macaw Festival. The Tico disco at Quebrada Ganada didn't know what hit them! The place was suddenly full of Gringos!

They did start off with some salsa music, but shortly after our arrival, the music was more westernised, and nobody had the excuse of not knowing how to salsa, hence was almost a full floor. Despite knocking over a beer bottle and breaking it early in the evening, thus cutting Grants toes - well, really, sandels may not have been the best choice of footwear! the evening went pretty well. Amazingly I only spent the equivalent of UKP2.50 (US$4) on two drinks (one of which was for Fiona). Our pre-disco drinking must have taken effects sometimes in the evening, because by the end of the evening, everyone was ridiculously drunk, and Fiona and I sat on the pavement of Tarcoles (when brought back by other villagers) lamenting on the sorrows of our hearts.

I did not forget my commitment to make a site visit the next day to the boyscouts. Though Tom claimed he was feeling refreshed with new ideaas after a night out, within an hour, I found myself feeling too distracted to be very observant of the sites. I did get talking to an ex-scout, Carlos, whom I have seen waiting for the bus to Jaco many times. He proved useful in not only allowing me to practice some Spanish, he also gave me some insights into the activities of the boy scouts (he found them boring, and non varied), as well as informing me he now volunteers with the Red Cross, hence a potential contact for medical aid for the Festival. You see how life usually allow everything fall into place beautifully...??

Had a brain storming session with Fiona and Tom at Carara, and our mental activity was somewhat revived by a slice of cake with a cup of tea. Though by the end of it, everyone was tired, and speaking for myself, just wanted to be in my bed. Yes, despite receiving an inherited laptop to help me with producing work for LAPPA - although it seems to give me more problems than giving me a flying start. But no complaining for now...!

Sami was up for another night out in Tarcoles with Taj, one of the Gringos at the cabinas. Got tricked into going on a walk with them, and bumped into Marieth, who is always a good chat. But sitting on the pavement outside the karaoke bar didn't help fight the tiredness. I gave in to the comfort of my bed, knowing that I have to get up early to meet the Canadian couples, who are contractors, and hopefully able to help me with the bridge building project.

And so, I started to give the impression of being a very hard working person, as I seemed to be always working. But I simply love talking about my projects and having people to give me feedbacks, and finding out how useful everyone can be! After a quick trip to Jaco (on business errands) I was finally able to take some time off in the afternoon. Walked to the cabinas with Hiliary, Miriam's granddaughter, and one of my favourite girls here. Then we went to the beach with two of the students, Taj and Ginny who both expressed great iinterests in Tarcoles, particulary Ginny who seemed really keen to transfer her placement to here.

When I thought I was finally able to take a break and relax on the back porch with the homestay family, heard the squawkings of the scarlet macaws who are regular visitors to the trees outside the house. Since I don't have much understanding about them, went to sit in the garden to observe them...

I was joined shortly by a cousin of the family, Yojackson, and had an inspiration for the name of the festival. Previously it was known as the "Macaw Festival", or the "Festival celebrating the return of the scalet macaw to the Central Pacific region of Costa Rica" - which were either too vague, or too long and scientific. It has been bugging me for a long long time, not having a suitable name, and it came to me, we could call it "Lapalocas" - meaning mad macaws, as Fiona is known in the area. It is kinda appropriate too, as she has done a lot of hard work for the festival and the organisation in general. Almost right on cue, Tom appeared, on his way to see Fiona, and was fortunate enough to be the bearer of good news. Had a phone call from Fiona shortly after, and she loved the idea, though suggested changing it to "Lapa Locura", which means Macaw Madness. Horrary!!

In the meanwhile, Yojackson was lucky enough to be the guinea pig for me to try out explaining all my projects to in Spanish. Think our common interest in children songs helped to make the barrier less intimadating, and I found him to be very useful in terms of advancing the local community aspect of the Festival. Perhaps with the increased confidence of speaking Spanish, I realised how rich a resource the people around me could be, and I no longer have to feel disconnected from help. In fact as a response to my questions regarding fishing (he is a fisherman - and I wanted to test out the theory to my new fishing game for camp), he quickly cycled home and brought me two large glossy posters illustrating the different types of fish found in the peninsula.

So a new agenda opened up to me, so many of the villagers to talk to, so many more aspects of the projects to think about and organise, I went to bed with my head buzzing with ideas.

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