Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lost and Found

I wrote this last week...

After we decided to head here to Lost and Found, Jen drove us all to the grocery store in David where we shopped and said goodbye. It was one of our saddest goodbyes. We only spent 2 weeks with these people but feel like we have known them for years. Our time at Paradise Gardens was amazing for so many reasons. Of course the animals were amazing. Anyone who has known me since I was a kid, knows that animals were always my passion. Interacting with the animals fulfilled my childhood dreams. The whole experience was so much more than just the hard work and the playing with animals. The place is not a zoo and is not run by animal experts. It was run by people who really love animals and people who wanted to learn about the animals. Every day we were on the internet or flipping through books, learning about the animals and what they needed. But the experience was even more than that. We all really enjoyed each other's company and shared more than just a love of animals. We all shared a love of travel, too, and the group was mixed with Brits, Irish, Australians, Americans, Canadians, Peruvians, Chileans, Argentinians and more. Everyone was bright and funny and we all had countless stories to share. Even more than that, we all shared a love of food. Apparently, before we showed up, cooking was mostly done personally. Rob and I showed up so excited for a real kitchen complete with Barbeque grill and oven, pots and pans. We would all start talking about food and the next thing we knew, we were all whipping up delicious dinners and delectible deserts. I'm sure that we all put on 5 lbs over the 2 weeks but enjoyed every minute of it. I will always remember Paradise Gardens as a place of hamburgers, fresh trout and Irish stew made by a real Irish woman.
We were there for the the end of an era at Paradise Gardens and for that reason, I think that we all share a special bond.
But back to our next chapter of our adventure here at Lost and Found. Like I said before, it is up in the clouds, mostly in the middle of nowhere. We are really enjoying the people here and like paradise gardens, it actually mostly volunteer run. It is our 3rd day and we haven't seen the owners. They have left the place to be run by some backpackers that decided to extend their stay by exchanging some work for free beds. They offer some good, inexpensive tours, a scavenger hunt, and free coffee all day.
Yesterday was our first full day here and we spent the entire day just reading and hanging out. The view is incredible. The place overlooks a valley with Volcan Baru in the distance. Its not a huge view since there are trees enclosing it but because we are in the cloud forest, the clouds are always rolling in and out and the view is constantly changing. I took pictures all day yesterday to show it but you really have to see it in person to understand. Sometimes, like right now, the clouds completely envelope us and the view is entirely gone. It rains every day but that isnt too big a deal because everyone will start playing games or reading or talking or whatever.
There are also some great animals. The hummingbirds are always zipping around our heads which can actually be pretty funny. They are so fast that you almost dont see them but you hear the sound. The best is when it happens to someone else and you see them with that look on their face because you know that they are thinking the same thing as you were when it happened to you....crap, that thing almost hit my head! There are also some great little nocturnal animals. Its too bad but I cant take pictures of them since they only come at night and it would be pretty mean to blind them with a flash. Besides the little wild guys that come by every night to eat the bananas left out for them, there is also Rocky, a rescued Kinkajou that lives in an enclosure. We went in to play with him last night and he is a real cutie. He wasnt too active when we went in with him but he was very happy to just be scratched and rubbed like a dog.
The hostel has been pretty full with almost 20 people last night. 12 of us went today to see petroglyphs and hot springs. The petroglyphs and hot springs were great but what made the trip, as usual, was the people. It was another very international crowd and we had a good time making our our explanation for the petroglyphs and then comparing silly dirty words in our languages. I think our favorite ended up being the word fanny, which we americans use to mean butt but the brits use it for the female anatomy which gives a whole new meaning to fanny packs which got us all giggling like little kids.