Hi Traveling Friends,
Thanks for stopping by to see what’s new and hope everybody is in the trip planning mode, whether local or overseas. I’ve always linked traveling with growing your soul, and its without equal. Meeting new cultures, making friends and of course eating all their food! Whether Global Trekking or local road trips, its all part of adventure travels.
When things get dreary, jobs are boring, a journey always brings life back into perspective. A couple of journeys really challenged my mundane activities back home.
One trip to deliver some microscopes to a Biological research station in Costa Rica. They were on a flight from Boston to San Jose, Costa Rica. I travelled alone and was scheduled to meet my Professor, Kamaljitt S. Bawa.
Dr. Bawa had several ongoing projects and I met him and some other researchers at a little place called Tala Inn. I took a taxi from the airport and gave the address to the driver. I arrived in less than an hour and met my friends. He is now working in the Western Ghats of India. He is the President of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology & Environment, (ATREE) an organization dedicated to policy and practice of conservation and sustainability.
Soon after that realizing I left my camera in the cab. The manager called the taxi company and the driver promptly delivered it back to me. That was a great first impression of the Costa Rican people, so honest and kind.
The next morning we packed up the Land Rover and headed off to the little town of Puerto Viejo. We passed an active volcano, lots of sheer drops off the side of the rough road, and beautiful waterfalls cascading down from towering cliffs.
The reality was starting to set in, the hot and humid climate was telling my body to get ready to shift, the acrid volcanic smoke starting to fill my lungs, the giant waterfalls along the ride and lush vegetation was all a little overwhelming compared to my comfy city surroundings. I was kind of a rookie at this, but the adventerous part of me loved it.
Tropical rainforests are located in the equatorial regions of the world. You will find similar vegetation and conditions in an Asian rainforest as a Central American rainforest. The animals will differ from the Old World Tropics to the New World Tropics and you won’t find elephants or lions in the New World Tropics.
When we arrived in Puerto Viejo we had to catch a boat to the LaSelva research station. This was founded by (OTS), Organization for Tropical Studies. The station was perched on a little hill surrounded by The Rio Saripiqui and the Rio Puerto Viejo rivers.
We arrived shortly and unloaded the boat and grabbed a bunk in the field station. The next morning we set out into the forest to start marking some plants. A lot of the work was collecting data at different time periods.
We would put a paper bag over the unopened flower to eliminate any kind of pollinators and then see if the fruit set later on in the summer. Others were left alone and this is when they filled up with beetles who appeared to be eating the pollen and then go down to the base part of the flower and we were trying to determine if this was the pollinator.
The plant was Dieffenbachia, also called dumb cane because of its ability to swell the throat of any man or unsuspecting animal that happened to eat would lose their ability to vocalize.
My job was to try to find out how it was pollinated. Under Dr. Bawa’s direction I recieved a SigmaXI grant-in-aid-of-research from the Scientific Research Society of America\.
Another part of my job was to photograph plants, trees and wildlife on the trip. There were amazing flocks of Amazon parrots, the Morpho butterfly, Howler and Spider monkeys that would follow our steps.
At night the Snowy Kinkajou, bats, and a lot of snakes. One species of venemous snake called Bothrops would fall from the top of the canopy on you for a big surprise.
Vine snakes and the beautiful but deadly Coral snake were also night time favorites. We would have headlamps and cameras to record it all.
During that summer we experienced forty inches of rain in a short period and had to evacuate the field station. Everywhere you looked creatures were headed for the high ground. The swollen rivers swallowed some smaller cabins that careened by as we sat in the field station which was the highest point on the property.
Grabbing on the railing of one of the bridges in the forest would be met with thousands of army ants, leaf cutter ants and other insects in tropical rainforests are too numerous to mention.
The Botfly was also present in the forest and it would lay eggs on mosquitos that would then bite and release the egg under your skin! The larvae would start to grow under your skin and it would stick out its proboscis to get some oxygen and quickly disappear under your skin.
The larvae was equipped with barbs that would keep it lodged under your skin and break if you pulled on it. Now this really made me double down on the insect repellant as the insect was the agent of this phenomenon.
We had one researcher that had one growing in the middle of his forehead and would wave its little proboscis out every now and then. The good news was they were harmless and eventually would mature and crawl out. The Brittish explorers going through the Darien Gap called them worms of the woods.
Mold was growing on my camera lens, clothing and on my feet from all the moisture and humidity. It was a welcome relief to travel to the drier side of the country.
A few decades later my travels are more sedate but just as much excitement and challenges. My wife and I have cruised up to Alaska and gone fishing where the salmon are plentiful unlike California which just stopped all fishing for salmon. A camping trip in Yosemite will do just fine for me.
Cruise ships are nice for jumping on and off but only spending a day at each port can be too short to see much. We are headed to Rome, Spain and France on a Mediterranean cruise in June of 2023.
We had scheduled this before Covid and it was cancelled by Norweigian. One of my favorites is still the road trip. We recently went to Colorado and Utah where there were many hiking trails around Bryce Canyon and Colorado Springs we enjoyed.
See my blog on low budget vacations for more information on many awesome destinations right here home.
California alone has countless places to visit and the perfect day trip. The point is traveling does not have to always be far away and can be enjoyed whereever you live. Let me know if you want any travel related hints by car, air or ship!