spectacular that dealing with a net at night is worth it. We are currently renting a nice cabaña from the Institute for Tropical Ecology and Conservation - a school that offers class sessions twice a year. Right now they are not in session so we have the whole school to ourselves. It's basically us and the caretakers Enrique, Janet, and their lovely 1 year old daughter, Itzel. We have a lot of fun spending time with these guys. They help us with our Spanish and at times I help Enrique around the property and Michelle helps watch Itzel, etc. At the school we also have access to all of their snorkeling gear, a nice canoe, and a great library of resource books on the area.
In our spare time, we go running along the ocean side of the island on a road the locals call "Gringolandia". This is a very primitive side of the island where a few "gringo's" have in fact bought land and put up homes, but basically it is still all jungle there (all jungle, all the time). We were offered by one such gringo to house sit for him (free house for us, security for him) when he goes back to the states. It was tempting, but we have other ideas for what the next 6 months will hold. Moving along..... As we run through "Gringolandia" on the dirt road, we are treated to the sounds of howler monkeys and very interesting birds. It's a nice diversion from studying. There is also a reef right in front of the school where we can snorkel around when we need a break. In the other direction is a beach called Starfish Beach, which we quickly discovered was not an exaggeration. This beach is literally loaded with huge starfish and the water is so clear that it's easy to spot them.
Basically we are using our time here to catch up on our books and finish the "book" part of our journey into Spanish. If all goes well, we will move into a volunteer opportunity after this which will cinch down the language for us.....hopefully.
A couple extra photos:
Crossing the rusty bridge from Costa Rica into Panama
Our first trip out to Bocas Del Drago from Bocas Del Toro (the main tourist hub on the island). It's a half hour drive through the jungle. We had to pack all of our gear as well as a weeks worth of groceries. Even now, we only come into town about once a week to buy more food and hit the internet cafes a bit.
Our first day in Del Drago. The staff members in this photo have all gone back to the states now. Enrique, the caretaker, is in the center with the aqua shirt.