Time has been a bit strange. I settled into a routine, and a whole week slipped by. I think the difference in time perception here stems from lack of urgency; there are few things that can not be put off until tomorrow.
Although this week passed quickly, it was full of hard work and amazing experiences. We have mostly finished digging the beds, so we have now devoted ourselves to planting and harvesting. We planted pineapples, tropical cherries, papaya trees, onions, and other things. Apparently, pineapples take 2 years to grow. To eat one pineapple a day you would need 730 plants, and would have to plant a new one every day. Luckily, planting pineapples is simple; you just shove the stem into the ground.
We plant trees at the ends of the beds. Part of Robert's plan is to maximize the utility of his land by having food growing at as many levels as possible.
When I'm not planting and harvesting, I am generally mowing, weed whacking, weeding beds, chopping bamboo, turning compost piles, or trimming banana trees. It is good hard work, and it is very satisfying seeing the water turn murky as I wash the
Coconut tree with monkey
If you look close you can see the monkey in the tree
dirt off of myself at the end of the day.
I've finally grown accustomed to the sun and the hard work, which has allowed me to begin doing additional exercises. Rainstorms typically blow in during the afternoons, draining the humidity from the air and bringing beautiful clouds for the sunsets. I run during this time, climbing and descending the steep hills into Ciudad Colon.
In the mornings I have been waking up early for additional exercises. I walk through the farm to the Mono Vista (Monkey View), the quiet area I have spoken of that borders the forest, and I do some situps and pushups. A few days ago I realized that this area is aptly named, for as I walked I heard leaves rustling above my head and looked up to find a Capuchin monkey staring at me. I stopped walking and, gazing into the trees, was able to spot about 8 other monkeys. They were standing still and staring at me, so I slowly sat. Apparently this calmed them, for they resumed gathering fruit from the trees. One monkey stayed near me and even crept a bit closer, watching me closely.
Robert's dogs came howling
as they caught scent of the monkeys. The dogs jumped yelping around the trees, which annoyed me because I thought that this would frighten the monkeys away. Not so. The monkeys, in fact, seemed amused. They lured the dogs under a coconut tree, then began jumping on the branches in an attempt to drop the coconuts onto the dogs. This didn't work, so the monkeys began throwing fruit pits at them. This show continued for probably half an hour, but the climax occurred when a monkey scampered down a branch to sneak on one of the dogs, and poked the dog on its rump. The dog snapped and snarled as the monkey swung back into the trees, cackling. What a way to start the day.
A new worker arrived as well. His name is Crispin, and he's a Brit taking a year off before he begins studying at a university. He lived in Nicaragua for a month before coming here, and I have gathered a lot of information from him regarding a canal that the Chinese are planning to build through Nicaragua. I'll talk more about this canal in a later post. Anyways, we brought Crispin into Ciudad Colon
and checked out some shops and a book store. The next day, we played fruit ninja with limes and machetes, then I took him on the waterfall hike. During this hike we saw an enormous snake. It was some sort of constrictor, I believe, and it was sticking it's head and part of it's body from under a protruding log when I saw it. The snake retreated into it's lair, and Crispin basically stuck his head under the log trying to see it. Crazy bastard.
The 4th of July was nice. After work we all made yogurt from raw milk and fruit. Then we hung out and drank a few beers around a bonfire. Later, we cooked dinner in a clay oven and watched a lightening storm roll in over the mountains as the stars shone over our heads. It was a great night.
Other than that, I have basically just been reading a lot and writing when I can. I've been carrying a notebook with me and writing thoughts that come to me as I work. I'll tie these thoughts into later posts.
Tomorrow after work I am taking a bus with Crispin and another worker,
Michael, to the highest mountain in Central America, which we will spend the next few days climbing.
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