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guide provided us the excitement of seeing and hearing howler monkeys as they jumped among the trees be- side the road. Finally around noon, we arrived at

an, where we would enjoy a cooking class while preparing our dinner of stuffed trout, plantain, rice and black beans, and delicious chocolate cake. Te grounds around the lodge were filled with flowering shrubs and flower beds as well as views of Turrialba Volca- no and fields in the valley. I was excit- ed to spot a black bearded trogan in a shrub, and a blue and white parrot. Today, Monday, February 11, is

the first day of school for the year. Schools are public and mandato- ry with students wearing uniforms. Tere are so many children in the cities that schools have two shifts: mornings from 7 am to 12:20 pm., and afternoons from 12:30 to 5:45 pm. Te students alternate mornings and afternoons each day. Teachers work one shift, except in isolated country areas, where they are paid extra. Today we travelled to Tayutic Ha-

cienda through valleys dotted with bright orange Poro trees. Tis family coffee farm has been in production since the 1800’s. Te farm also pro- duces sugar cane and macadamia nuts. We were treated to an informa- tive presentation of the artisan way of how coffee and sugar blocks were produced, complete with oxen turn- ing the wheel to squeeze the juice from the sugar cane. We also tried

sorting macadamia nuts and visited the orchid greenhouse on site. In the afternoon, we followed a trail

through the rainforest to visit the ar- chaeological ruins at Guayabo Na- tional Monument. Tis recently dis- covered indigenous city was believed to be home to 10 000 people dating back to 1000 B.C. Tere is evidence of elaborate aqueducts and roadways paved with stones. At 7:00 am Tuesday morning, the

bus headed northeast to Tortuguero on the northern end of CR’s Caribbe- an coast. Our route took us on rocky, bumpy trails through the hectares of banana plantations found in this province of Limon. Rows of blue bags covered the “hands” of bananas in the fields which could weigh 125 pounds. We stopped at the packing shed to observe the process of preparing the bananas for shipping, and were able to refresh ourselves with cool coconut water straight from the coconut in the shell. We gasped at the size of the Hercules beetle gnawing on a sugar cane stick which a Costa Rican man had found to show us! As we contin- ued down the trail, we were amazed by mothers biking along the rocky road holding an umbrella in one hand to protect them from the rain. An- other impromptu stop by our Spanish

Cano Blanco dock, a bustling area crammed with buses, boats and peo- ple, both coming and going. Tere are no roads here, so travel is by boat along the Parismina River to the canal north to Tortuguero (Land of Turtles). Tis area has the greatest biodiversity so enroute we saw egrets, a Tricolored heron, and many other birds, as well as horses and Brahma cattle in the fields. It took about 90 minutes to reach Pachira Lodge and after a deli- cious lunch, we investigated our new location. Te lodges were scattered along cement paths throughout the jungle, four large separate bedrooms in one lodge with screens for win- dows, no TV, fridge or air condition- ing, but a ceiling fan. A perfect setting to enjoy the wildlife. Butterflies flit- ted from bush to bush along the path- ways and howler monkeys scampered along the rooftops. Te large pool was, of course, turtle shaped. Here the temperature is much warmer and more humid than the cool mountain area we had just left. Our Spanish guide offered to take

those interested on a 6 am. bird watching hike around the lodge, and since that is what I had come to see, I set my alarm and joined the small group with my binoculars. We saw a Montezuma Orapendula with its long yellow tail, a Great Kiskadee, hummingbirds, a Red-lored Parrot, Bare-throated Tiger-heron, Green heron, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Chestnut-mandibled Toucan and a Lineated woodpecker in an hour. On the later boat tours, our guide,

Jorge, and the boat driver were excel- RTAM | WWW. RTAM.MB.CA n 25

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