Hola de Emily and Ella. Today brought many new adventures and excitement.
Our day began with a delicious breakfast consisting of omelettes, rice, beans, and more of the special toast with orange marmalade sprinkled with fresh cocoa nibs.
Shortly afterwards eating, we met to discuss the method of extracting the ants’ fungal chamber. With our assigned groups, we separated to experience the fun firsthand! Two groups, EGGS and Anty McAnt Face, packed into a car for a roller-coaster of a ride in order to find colonies. Meanwhile, the other two groups, Fergalicious and Argentina, enjoyed a short walk to find colonies closer to the ranch. After driving, with some of us in the trunk, we reached our colonies. Along with finding our leaf cutter ants, we also encountered bullet ants, a super friendly horse, a nice old man, and a fern-like plant whose leaves shrunk at our touch. We scooped the fungus into a container to bring back to the lab. While most ants made it, a few made it up our shirts instead. This tedious process required the skill of several hands. Andrew McGurl was even declared MVD (most valuable digger). After returning to the ranch, we all enjoyed some time to freshen up before lunch.
We are continuing our PA tradition of praying the Our Father at noon, now the Padre Nuestro. Lunch was truly a treat. Risotto with some more heart of palm, plantain chips, salad, and vegetables filled our plates. We also enjoyed a refreshing ginger lemonade tea! Before heading out, we discovered the souvenir tienda. Maybe we’ll bring some back to share!
We hopped onto buses for an hour-long ride to the Canopy ziplining tour! We struggled while climbing up the side of the volcano, but the view on the way down was well worth the hike. We encountered a howler monkey, a toucan, many fuzzy caterpillars, and more of our friends, the ants. We quickly made even better friends with our tour guides, Marvin, Marvin, and Mican. We zipped through the rainforest along twelve lines. It took us quite a few tries to master the art, learning from our mistakes of either failing to break quickly enough, or breaking too soon. Don’t worry, our guides helped, and also joked and laughed with us.
At last, we enjoyed our dinner of pork chops with ginger sauce, vegetables, and salad, followed by a desert of satisfying creamy flan topped with our favorite cocoa nibs. After dinner, we practiced our counting skills with the petri dishes of bacteria from our experiments yesterday. We look forward to more experiments with the ants!
We feel quite at home here,
Ella and Emily