Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pictures not words

Busy the last few days, lots going on, lots more to come. Photos tell the story....

Waiting for the PMs at the British School in San Jose

Our sleeping arrangements

PMs packing up the next morning for the bus ride to Turrialba Field Base

First group breakfast


Art class (Painting our mess tins)

My Tin (on the right)

Swim test

Learning how to use the radio (In the rain)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nothing much to report

Yesterday was off-road driving - proper off-road. Took the Land Rover through some boggy and very bumpy and steep terrain which was thoroughly enjoyable and something I look forward to doing again!

While out driving I saw a 'Jesus Lizard', no idea what the proper name is, but it's the lizards that run on their back legs across water. The one I saw was pretty small - it literally was skipping across the water filled tire ruts in the road, but cool nonetheless. I'm told there are much larger ones around to be seen. The driver after me saw a 2m long green tree snake in pretty much the same spot...

After that it was off to the field to practise towing/being towed which was interesting in itself, and has a distinct possibility of being needed in future!

Today is the last day of just the advanced field base group - we have some PMs arriving this afternoon on their on accord and we will be picking up a bunch more from the airport tonight and staying in San Jose overnight before making our way back tomorrow for the PM induction week.

I will be giving tours, helping with lunch dinner etc and taking photos of all the PMs tomorrow when we are back, then after that is swimming(!). Wednesday is various training bits, Thursday we head out for jungle camp, Friday is jungle camp, Saturday we are home again for some more training and then on Sunday/Monday after that the PMs are off on their project planning visits - they travel to the actual sites they will be working at, be it in the north of Nicaragua or the beaches of Costa Rica.

Since this is a photo blog, I took some rubbish photos of today's scenery and weather (hot!). I hope you appreciate them, because I was attacked by ants taking them. They are small ants, but they are angry.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Irazú Volcano and Costa Rican Countryside

Today was a day off for us, so it was an early start this morning for the drive to Irazú Volcano. I drove the Land Rover up which was an good practise - a lot of trouble getting from 2nd to 3rd going up hills - I kept ending up in 5th which was the opposite of helpful and would lose all my momentum and needed to drop back down to 2nd and grind away to get the revs back up. Eventually figured it out though and the rest of the ride was pretty smooth I think, considering it being the 2nd hour I've spent driving a manual car in my life :P

The whole drive there was about an hour and a half, climbing about 2500m from the field base and through some amazing countryside and country roads (and 'roads'). I was a passenger on the way back which gave a good chance to take some photos of the area (where possible!)

We were promised an amazing vista when we were at the top, and we got something that I am pretty unaccustomed to in Costa Rica.

The cold.

(apologies in advance for some bad ones - wet camera = misty and poorly focused images)

This is looking down into the main crater. Below is a beautiful emerald lake and specatular vistas... allegedly...

Thankfully, there was a cafe where we bought some coffee to warm our hands up. I've started drinking a bit here - Costa Rican coffee is supposed to be amazing, so I'm having it black and unsweetened and it's slowly growing on me, I guess.

Upon leaving the cafe we stumbled upon a (quite tame/greedy) Coati - kind of racoon sized mammal thing. Very photogenic (ie comes up to you sniffing for food)

Fairly Odd Parents on tv...

Drivers for the way back down to field base - Hilux
(Driver: Maryann, front passenger: Carl, in the rear is Marcus and Alex (not visible)

Land Rover (which I took back down - should I be concerned?)
(Driver: Emma, front passenger: Ross (Country director and driving insructor/hand waver). I'm in the back.

For more details on who these people are (and everything else going on on expedition), see

And now some scenery - hard to get between all the trees!

Volcan Tarrialba

I'm now waiting for the banana cake to come out of the oven. I'm on cleaning roster today so should probably go do that...

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Every day starts off with a meeting, which itself starts off with a game of some sort. Today was 'Two truths and a lie', yesterday was something random that is too much effort to explain.

Today was quietish, me and Alex are responsible for lunch and dinner, so that took up a few hours getting sorted and shopping at Maxi Bodega (Bodega seems to be a generic term for 'store room' or 'shop' or something like that). After lunch was a wee break, then off for an hour of driving in the landrover. Only stalled.... 4 times which I don't think is tooooo bad, considering the whole... never driven a manual car thing. It's a monster of a clutch though, and I was trying to be gentle but it didnt always go that well! The roads were pretty busy, but I guess I've been driving long enough to not be too too flustered by the traffic and slight manic-ness of town driving.

Tomorrow we are off to a volcano about 2 hours away. Each of the four drivers will get half an hour each on the way there or the way back. Supposed to be spectacular up there, so I will do the advanced field base group portrait up there.

I don't think I've posted it before, but this is what the office looks like...

And 'in motion'

Thursday, September 23, 2010

As promised


Where we sleep

View of the back side of the house, with volcano in sight

Where everyone else will sleep...

The office