Rutgers - Science Summer Abroad 2010
Nine Science Undergraduate Students Around the World

Friday, May 21, 2010

I know you are all dying to know what I did yesterday

Traditional breakfast of, drumroll please...rice and beans! Who would ever have guessed?
Then on to the volcano Irazu, where we discussed the role volcanic activity plays in ecosystem productivity and soil fertility.
We also enjoyed the weather. Dense fog. Then rain. Then the rain stopped. Then it started again. And stopped. And the clouds cleared long enough for us to get pictures, then the rain started again and it was time to leave Irazu.
Lunch at a restaurant with an absolutely breathtaking view. Mountains, farms, forests. We saw it all, when the clouds cleared, that is. So what was on the menu? And this is the kicker: rice and beans.
Our next destination: a fern leaf farm. I bet you never thought about where they grow the green leafy plants in your rose bouquets. That is, if you are lucky enough to have someone buy them for you, or buy them for yourself. With the economy the way it is, the farm has not been doing as well lately. After all, bouquets are luxuries.
The operation is originally from Miami, but moved to Costa Rica, where labor is cheaper. However, workers in Costa Rica get paid ten times more than their counterparts in surrounding countries, where the industry is now moving. Also, there is free health care and education.
The farm was trying out a new, high'tech approach, using greenhouses and computerized controls. This method was vastly more efficient and profitable, and produced a higher quality product.
On our way to the lodge that evening, we saw Turrialba, yet another volcano, smoking in the distance. Turrialba has a new crater.
Apparently, there was also a 6.0 earthquake. We did not feel a thing.
The inn we are staying at is wonderful. Beautiful country. It is hard to imagine that all this pasture was once forest. But, that is why we are here, to learn how farmers can produce crops and raise livestock without causing any more damage.
The lodge served a delicious dinner - no rice and beans! - which was accompanied by excellent conversation.
After a short lecture and a shower, I fell asleep.
And slept till 5:30 AM, when the dog started barking and the birds singing. I am glad for the wakeup call. I walked around this morning. Saw some beautiful orchids, three types of butterflies, a bright yellow bird.
I promise there will be pictures! I want to share this with you all...
Till next time

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