It's not often you get news from us fieldbase folks so I thought it about time that situation was reversed and I give you a different perspective on the great adventure your loved ones are having. So this is your humble servant, Logs Manager Claire (or Clarita as I am generally known) updating you on the recent events of the Bravo 2 road trip around Costa Rica.
Saddened by the grey, cloudy weather at fieldbase and concerned that the tan we gained on our phase 1 road trip around Nicaragua was soon to disappear, myself, Comms Officer Dave and Logs Assistant Tim took to the highways and byways of Costa Rica and headed south in search of sunshine... and of course the venturers we miss so much around fieldbase during the quiet days of phase.
We started off with the beautiful sunny views of the area around La Amistad national park as we dropped of food supplies for X-Ray 2's Corcovado trek in Santa Lucia and carried on to spend 2 nights with X-Ray 5 in La Amistad. And what a welcome we received! Greeted with handmade necklaces, hugs and high fives, X-Ray 5 made us feel very at home and then who should appear from round the corner but all of X-Ray 2 who were passing through for the night on their Corcovado trek. What a little reunion it was turning into! Their camp was certainly on the luxurious side with actual real life flushing toilets and a chillout area complete with hammocks. And the views from camp towards Panama were to die for... prime real estate right there. We spent quite some time staring at the stars above, totally unpolluted by contamination and glaring city lights we’re so used to at home before embarking upon a pub quiz organised by some members of the team.
X-Ray 2 left at the crack of dawn the following morning but not before waking the entire camp, and quite possibly the whole national park, with a decibel defying rendition of Happy Birthday and Las Mañanitas for Alfredo’s birthday. Meanwhile X-Ray 5 set us to work on their footpath and staircases to allow better access to visitors to the park. That night a party in honour of Alfredo was held with cake, piñata and all, the music being provided by as many iPods as could muster enough battery to play at top volume.
After hugs, goodbyes and more birthday songs, as I was lucky enough to celebrate my own birthday on day 3 of our road trip, we left La Amistad and headed west towards the Pacific. My road trip buddies treated me to a birthday lunch and then Dave departed for a secret mission leaving Tim and I to come across some of the most awesome views we’ve seen so far. Over 2 days we left food drops around the Osa Peninsula for the Corcovado trek, met some wonderful people and experienced the true kindness of strangers. We then continued up the Pacific coast to Carara national park where we spent a night with X-Ray 4.
We really timed this trip well as we arrived on PM Alex’s birthday which had also been blessed with an energy bomb birthday cake, party hats, cards and that good old English tradition of giving “the bumps”. X-Ray 4 were kind enough to give us a tour of the footpath they were repairing upon which we came across several tourists who were delighted to see the work the team were doing. A jungle is, obviously, a living organism and as such, tree roots don’t stay still for long and tend to destroy the best laid paths rendering them quite tricky to negotiate. The work X-Ray 4 was doing enabled far easier access into the depths of the rainforest without risk of injury to the many visitors who come to Carara and we were pleased to see the appreciation of some of the beneficiaries. The best part, however, was combating the searing heat and humidity of the Pacific coast in X-Ray 4’s al fresco river-cum-bathroom with a view. A wonderful way to cool down and wash whilst surrounded by the noises of the rainforest.
From there we travelled right across the country, past fieldbase to Chirripo to visit X-Ray 9. After a sweaty trek (yes, one and a half hours is considered a trek in my book although I’m sure X-Rays 1, 2 and 3 would beg to differ) up hills, across rivers and through landslides we were greeted by the spectacular views down into X-Ray 9’s jungle camp and worksite which in turn overlooked a cloud-filled valley. It took our breath away. As did the screaming welcome and charge up the hill to greet us. X-Ray 9 had certainly pimped their camp with a picnic table, steps, shower area and a toilet waiting room! And their jungle camp was quite possibly the tallest I’ve ever seen towering a good 7 feet above the ground and requiring everyone to pass a chair around at night to climb into bed!
We were lucky enough to spend 2 nights here and helped contribute to the building of the school in this indigenous territory of Dorbata which X-Ray 9 were attacking with such vigour that they managed to get two walls up in just two hours! We did an art session with the local children and learnt some Cabecar, the local indigenous language. Sadly speaking Spanish didn’t help but I have come away having learnt that “kuakua” means butterfly. There’s a little tidbit to impress someone at your next dinner party.
And thus our Costa Rican road trip came to an end but seeing how well all the groups were doing, how they all pulled together as teams, were going great guns with their projects and treks, and yet still having time and wonderful imagination to have fun, is great testament to the hard work their PMs are doing and how much the guys are putting into their phase to get the most out of it. We’re very proud of them and can’t wait for our road trip in phase 3!