Greetings all, Andrew writing here. Our arrival yesterday went very smooth, and preparations for the fieldwork portion are going well. Today I picked up the collection permits and some gear I’d left in-country from the last trip, as well as changed money, ran errands, etc. I’ve asked the three KU undergrads to write a paragraph about their initial impressions of Costa Rica, particularly as it is the first time out of the country for most of them. Tomorrow, the rest of the team arrives from KU and Delaware, and we will make final preparations with the team from the University of Costa Rica before heading out to Tapanti on Wednesday.
Day 1: arrived in beautiful Costa Rica. This is my first time outside of the states so I was nervous but excited to be here. Everyone seems friendly and the food is very good. First impression is that I would definitely come back here for a vacation, except I speak almost no Spanish. Today, [Day 2] we got a “fast food” breakfast, aka comida rapida (beans, rice, & overeasy eggs = really good) and bought some groceries for our stay at Tapanti. We also took a tour through INBio’s nature park, which was an awesome experience and I took tons of pictures. Basically like going to a zoo but way cooler because it’s in Costa Rica. It made me excited and hopeful for Tapanti and things to come. More from me later. Hasta Luego!
This trip is my first foray out into the world, away from the familiarity of Los Estados Unidos that have been my home for the past 19 years. I anticipated some amount of culture shock when I arrived in San Jose and although I was overwhelmed at first, I feel like I am quickly becoming more and more comfortable in this fascinating new culture (insert comment here about the adaptability of the human nature in order to provoke deep introspective thoughts from blog followers). So far I have greatly enjoyed experiencing all of the sights, sounds, and tastes of Santo Domingo—a suburb of San Jose—and I look forward to all of our adventures that I’m sure this trip will bring.
My previous visit to Mexico gave me some idea what to expect upon entering San Jose but by no means am I experienced in Costa Rican culture. We passed (rather hurriedly) through customs to baggage claim and quickly acquired a cab to take us to INBio. Lacking any practical Spanish-speaking ability required our group to rely on Andrew for communication with the locals. Despite our horrendous pronunciations, the people of Santo Domingo, where INBio is located, have been very friendly and have not scoffed at our American “ignorance." We visited the park at INBio today and I was impressed at the level of biota seen by even the most cursory of glances. Each leaf, flower, or tree trunk provided me with a novel species never encountered before and I am more excited than ever to explore Tapanti.
The Biodiversity Institute is home to about 60 graduate students and 30 research scientists and curators. They participate in field expeditions to all seven continents and represent areas such as entomology, ornithology, paleontology, parasitology and herpetology. As the authors of this blog, they share their experiences and adventures in collections-based biological research all over the world.
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