Entering pura vida

We made it! After a late 6 hour Northampton-Bradley-Atlanta-Libreria journey, we finally landed in sunny, hot Costa Rica. The first person we spotted was Ethan sporting a short haircut and tanned skin. Oh hello there, thesis advisor whom I haven’t seen all semester!

Stuffing our luggage into Ethan’s car

We tied our luggage and labmobile to his tiny car and proceeded to take the bumpiest car ride of my life towards Lomas Barbudal Biological Reserve. It was as good thing we stopped for lunch & beer for the car ride. My first Costa Rican meal was simple and delicious (albeit from a grocery store) plate of beets, marinated beef, and of course, rice.

beets, pork, chicken rice
beets, pork, chicken rice

The reserve is extremely isolated; I supposed it is meant to be “protected.” The place we’re staying is the park rangers’ home. There’s a large open area where we eat, a kitchen, two bathrooms, and some rooms. There’s not much, but we’re so close to nature everyday.

Big pond cichlid at Lomas Barbudal
Big pond cichlid at Lomas Barbudal

We’re on the hunt for convict cichlids, and this is definitely the place to be. The river behind our guesthouse (if you can call it that) is teeming with them! Our goal is to capture and analyze (weight, photograph, gut contents) 100 total fish. It’s my first field research experience so it should be interesting. I’m ready with my hot pink flippers, snorkel, and beer!

Our arrival greeting! Pilsen and plantains
Our arrival greeting! Pilsen and plantains

Author: sarachoister

Documenting the journey of being a medical student

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