Hola padres y amigos! This is Megan and Angelina reporting to you from Horizontes. This is because we departed from Finca La Anita earlier this morning. Our departure was mixed with sadness and excitement because while we were heading to a new place, we had to leave our gracious hosts (and Gus and Gary) behind. On the way to Horizontes we made many stops including a bracelet shop and a grocery store. The bracelet shop was started by a few women in the village who made many colorful, handmade bracelets. We then continued on our journey, until we stopped at a grocery store. As we entered the store, all eyes lit up with excitement upon seeing rows and rows of good ol’ American junk food. It was a 30 minute frenzy of students finding the candy and chips they loved, some girls even got an entire baguette. After leaving the grocery store, some students were able to find and connect to a local cafe’s free WiFi. Word spread quickly, leading to so many people connecting that the cafe’s WiFi crashed leaving us all back to our internet-free lives.
After forty minutes of driving, we arrived at Horizontes, our new home for the duration of our trip. The temperature here is much hotter because we moved out of a rainforest and into a dry forest. We were served lunch by our wonderful cook Marvin and then we moved into our new cabins. Upon entering our cabins, we had to do a thorough scorpion check involving two flashlights, a can of Off, and a boot. Unfortunately, our cabin experienced a swarm of ants by the door, however the problem is currently being resolved. After we moved in, we went to a presentation about sea turtles. We learned that sea turtles nesting are a link to us learning about the condition of the ocean. We also learned how to properly identify and collect data on sea turtles. Following the presentation, we went out in the forest to observe the symbiotic relationship between acacia trees and ants. We observed that the relationship was a mutualistic one, meaning both organisms benefit from each other. The ants used the spikes on the acacia tree as shelter to care for their young. The trees also provides the ants with sugar and protein. In return, the ants provide protection the the trees. This was well demonstrated when Danny took one for the team and had an ant crawl on him to see whether or not it would sting him (it did). The ants also kill competitors for the tree by putting chemicals around it to clear out other vegetation.
We are writing this post before dinner tonight because after dinner all of us are heading to the beach to hopefully witness a turtle nesting! We will be on the beach until midnight, and everyone is very excited. While we write this blog, there is a very intense (the red faces and muddy legs are a testimony) game of soccer, or should we say futbol, going on between the staff at Horizontes and the PA crew. It is currently tied 3-3 and we anxiously await the results. During our writing, we were visited by a deer who has been keeping us company outside the door and also reminding us of home.
We hope you all are having a very fun Fourth of July, and yes, we admit we are missing the fireworks and you all a little bit today. Hasta luego de Costa Rica! Angelina and Megan