Saturday, September 22, 2007

Life Just Outside

No Photoshop. Credits to Julian for the use of his T-Rex.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Independence Day

Two Fridays ago we celebrated Costa Rica's Independence Day. The Spanish department hosted an afternoon of presentations featuring our students and those from nearby schools. Events such as these always seem to me to have a bit of the dancing monkey syndrome. Would these locals be allowed on our campus at other times? Probably not, unless they could come up with the $8K tuition. But when I look at this kid's face, it does not matter who brought him here or for what reason.

Julian and Mason: A Parable on Life

Friday, September 14, 2007

Jane's Visit

Jane Goodall came to speak at our school last week. Julian brought his little toy orangutan to the assembly and sat right up front on the floor. He was too much of a temptation for the press corps with his blonde hair and toy "chimp". Not surprisingly, he and Chipmunk, the orangutan, made the local paper. Jane got the cover, but Julian got a color picture on the inside.

That makes two countries now in which he has appeared in the paper, although the U.S. press has yet to discover him.

Lulu and some of her kids. The ones in the chairs, including Miss Margo, are some of my 7th graders.

The weekend before, found us at Pirate Beach, a lovely spot just a few miles away. Diana liked it.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Rincon de la Vieja - A Night at Sergio's

Last weekend we left our lovely peninsula to venture inland to visit a National Park. Neighborly recommendations led us to Sergio's, a hacienda offering reasonably priced rooms, lots of open space, and easy access. The park was another 30 minutes beyond Sergio's, up a bumpy but manageable road with lovely views and quiet surroundings. The next 4 critters were all spotted from the road or within one hundred yards of it.

Damn those flycatchers!

The centerpiece of the park is a volcano with accompanying thermal features. It is no Jellystone, but there were some similar sights. Julian's favorite, and the selling points for convincing him of the trip's worth, were the boiling mud pots. Nearby, he harvested a piece of the ground, "volcano clay" as we like to call it, that he kept as a souvenir.

We did a short hike in the park, through wet, dense, muddy forest, visiting some waterfalls, steaming vents, mud pots, and bubbling thermal springs. The signs warned that the temperatures ranged to 142C. That seemed a bit hot to me, considering the boiling point of water, but mayhaps they were referring to the steaming vents. Regardless, we did not sneak around any of the wooden fences.

The most exciting parts of the park visit came as we were leaving. I saw a toucan fly by immediately after exiting the forest.

The ranger at the guard station had a 15-day-old boa constrictor that he brought over for Julian. I realized then that a snake does not have a childhood. That little curled bit of purpose had only three things on his "mind": eating, not being eaten, and staying warm. When I looked into its face, I saw the psyche of a full grown boa. If he could, he would have squeezed the life right out of me and swallowed me whole.

Before we hopped in our car to leave we walked to a nearby waterfall. The picture of the swimming hole at the bottom of the falls says enough.

Come visit; it's lots o' fun.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

A Sunday Morning Campus Walk

Something that shall remain untasted. Sorry Euell.

The world's slowest, yet most graceful, butterfly.

Black Headed Trogon

Unknown Dragonfly


Unknown Fungus

Click to enlarge. It's the last time I'm going to tell you.