we hurry along, passing huddled groupsof people strainging tounderstand their instructions. we take a shortcut, arriving ahead of most, but still we see a group of early arrivals clustered, whispering, waiting. we discuss options and decideto go further. we are looking for parralel tracks leading up from the beach, about 2-3 feet apart. we see a few, but nothing is at the other end. finally we find one, but she isn´t satisfied and heads back to the ocean for another try. we run up to get a closer look. she is remarkably fast for her weight. we continue on. finally we aresuccessful, and soon we are kneeling in the sand, our faces inches from a 600 pound plus sea turtle laying 120 eggs. it was unforgettable. a true national geographic moment.
the day began with yet another bus ride and ¨typical¨ breakfast of rice and beans, eggs, and fried plantains. we ¨toured¨ a banana plantation, which means we drove through it and stopped once. what was especially interesting was the way they get the bananas from the trees to the sorting area. there are raised steel tracks through the grove from which they hang ¨trains¨ of banana bunches, which are then pulled along by one of the workers. i got a couple of pictures.
then another boat trip to the hotel with a brief walk through the jungle and our first view of the carribean. the water is surprisingly warm. the fauna is very elusive here. i expected to see a lot more. on this trip, (which also included yet another boat tour of somevery narrow canals through the jungle) i ended up seeing more howler monkeys and spider monkeys, a white faced capuchin, two sloths, the sea turtles (including one small one on the way back in the river), several ¨jesus christ lizards¨ (that´s what everyone calls them, i don´t know what their real name is) which can run across water and were featured in jurassic park, a couple of iguanas, several caimans (like alligators), and two three toed tree sloths, along with a bunch of birds. i know that sounds like a lot, but most were too far away for pictures or even good viewing, and we spent a lot of timelooking for them. i imagine they are all much more plentiful away from human habitation.
mostly americans on this trip, which was nice. a lot of the tourists here are from other parts of latin america, and it was nice to be able to speak english for a while. my spanish is getting a little better, but it´s still embarassing.
i´m also getting alot braver as i get used to the place, so today i am taking a local bus to Cahuite, on the carribean coast, where i plan to just relax for a couple of days. i don´t think i´ll be doing any more full-on tours. they simply cost too much. i can stay in Cahuite for $10 a night, and there are two beaches, one white sand and one black sand, as well as a national park, so i´ll probably stay there for at least two nights. then maybe back here or straight to somewhere else. wednesday i will definitely be here to see some more museums and maybe shop.
i´ll post from cahuite if i can.