My friend who organized the trip was a bit overenthusiastic about punctuality and we arrived in Puntarenas around 10am for a parade we thought started at 2:00. This, in true Tico fashion, was not to be. When I was ready to explode from standing around in the heat, the parade finally started around five. The police started things off, including some young police folk. My thoughts were torn equally between “Ugh, they're indoctrinating them so early,” and “Dawwww!!” This was followed by fire breathers, people on stilts and unicycles, and jugglers, all plastered with corporate logos. For some reason, the Cacique girl seemed to be the most popular (I'm guessing the reason is “boobs”).
Apparently this guy from the crowd was a really big fan. There were cops standing everywhere, but they just looked on. In the U.S., he would have been thrown right back across the parade barrier. I love the feel of marginally-controlled chaos at Latin American celebrations!
Eventually I had to leave the parade to sit on the beach to rest my aching feet and overly stimulated brain. Now, I am similarly resting in San Jose for a few days before heading to the Osa Peninsula and begin my senior project. The next entry on this conservation blog should actually be about conservation! I have begun to brainstorm overarching questions to address while participating in the project and later while writing my final paper. I have also been attempting to get myself into the needed mindset of an outsider working on a community-based conservation project, a balance of “being” and “doing,” removing my ego from the equation and enabling myself to be receptive to the needs and wants of the community. A student last week at COSI, the spanish intensive school I attended for three weeks, worked for USAID for many years. She had some excellent suggestions for me for my coming project and was inspiring to speak to. I can't wait to see what new ideas and experiences unfold before me, and to get a glimpse of where my education might take me.