Navidad en Fuego!

Christmas Day, I got off of the station for a while for the first time since I got here. All of us hardcore researchers who were here for the holidays headed over to the home of Alex, a British expat, and Felix, her Tico significant other. We had a spectacular British/Costa Rican fusion Christmas feast. Then we lit a bunch of stuff on fire.

First to burn: traditional brandy-soaked English pudding.

Lighting the sugar cone. We were already a cultural melting pot, so we threw in a German tradition, too. Alex heated spiced wine and orange juice, then set a grate over the pot with a “Zuckerhut” of solid sugar on top. Soak the Zuckerhut with rum, ignite to melt the sugar into the pot, and presto! Feuerzange Bowle. So sweet and boozy! Where can I get a Zuckerhut in A2?

The day would have involved even more fire, but we couldn’t get the beer cannon which Diego contributed to the gift exchange to light properly.

Pre-feast snacks with new friends.

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Rainforest Fun Quiz!

Can you spot the meter-long snake lurking in this picture?

Neither did I! Fun!

In less heebie-jeebie news, I saw my first Red-capped Manakin yesterday! If you are acquainted with me, I have probably already made you watch this. If not, let’s rectify that right now.

I love this girl.

Feliz Navidad, amigos!

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Field Food

Really starting to want some cheese.
Anatomy of a biostation meal: rice, beans, steamed veggies, fresh fruit, and some kind of meat. Nix the veggies, and it’s breakfast. Nix the fruit and it’s dinner. This is probably 400% healthier than what I normally eat left to my own devices.


I still can’t hold up my end of a conversation in Spanish, but at least I’m learning the most important words. Mas esponjado, por favor.


A lil bit of tropical Christmas

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La Selva Biological Station, Heredia, Costa Rica

Today after breakfast we all lingered on the bridge feeding the Machaca the last of our breakfast. The Machaca are big, acrobatic river fish (Brycon guatemalensis) that feed mainly on fruits and other vegetation that fall into the water. After the first couple of pieces of banana come their way, they see the food coming and jump for it, forming momentary piles of fish on the surface. I don’t want to know what the staff think of us for feeding perfectly good frutas to the river.

La Machaca is also the word for a type of lantern fly. According to local lore, if it bites you, you have to have sex within 24 hours or you’ll die. This is possibly the worst pickup line I’ve ever heard, although the name of the bar down the road (La Machaca, of course) makes a lot more sense now. I’d better keep a sharp eye out for these buggers, seeing as my guy is somewhere in the Drake Passage and unavailable for lifesaving sex emergencies.

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