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Published: November 28th 2010
It's been two weeks now since I arrived here at Turrialba where the CATIE
campus with my new home, the "Andino", is located. And what should I say? It's a lot less different than I expected 😊. Of course, it's quite a lot warmer, but at night it has cooled down to 13 degrees sometimes, brrr. And it is not dry, but there's such a lot of rain! This is definetely different to Germany, I don't know where all the water comes from. And as humidity is generally very high, the library smells of millions of pages of damp paper.
here is really huge (I feel), very green, with palm trees and a beautiful view on the hills around when they're not just covered in clouds. It is a bit outside of town, and there's an extra student bus running a few times a day.
My start here has been really good, as the Andino is the nicest student building here, and my neighbours were so welcoming! They come from all over Latin America. It is weird to feel that I somehow changed roles with all the international students coming to Witzenhausen... even
the room furniture is similar (though the rooms have no doors), and we also share a big kitchen.
The uni has lots of facilities, like a (sports) swimming pool and a gym which you can use for rather little money. Actually, I'm attending the "baile aerobico", and it's the latino version of the aerobics we do in Germany- lots of emphasis on swinging your hips in the right way! (You'll see the results when I come back.) Talking about things the campus has to offer, there are of course lots of laboratories, wich I just access for visiting people. And, what is also just like Witzenhausen, there is "the club". Also just that single one, although in Turrialba there seem to be at least one or two more opportunities for going out.
At the campus, there's also a cafeteria which is pretty similar to Mensa. Some of the food I tried there has been really tasty and special for me, like a carribean dish with rice and beans cooked in coconut milk, or yucca (which has similiar properties as potato). But yesterday I had some rice dish with random vegetables, and that could just have been
... after another day of rain.
served at Steinstraße. Oh, but once before I tried some ... well, I didn't understand what it was, except that it included meat, and so (as I'm not vegetarian any more) of course I had to try it. But having tasted it, I rather stayed with the vegetables.... The people at my table told me later the dish was "mondongo", which is a piece of a cow's stomach... look it up in the dictionary.
Most of the times I cook myself though, and for that Costa Rica is a great country as lots of different fruits and vegetables are availabe. Many of the stalls on the Saturday market sell watermelons, bananas, platanos (cooking banana) and pineapples, others offer potatoes, carrots, cabbage... and it's all grown locally. In the supermarkets you get almost everything you want, except (according to people here) tasty chocolate. Germany does definetely have the image of being chocolate heaven - any visitors will have to bring some bars! However, I enjoy being able to eat food I've known from Guatemala like tortillas with black beans, avocado and baked platano, and I always try dishes my housemates prepare. The Mexicans were positively surprised that I liked the spicy sauce they did, that might have been some Indian influence on my side.
For my master thesis which I am doing here, I will work with farmer groups in Nicaragua and Honduras. Obviously I have to travel there, but as Christmas is not far any more, flights are already incredibly expensive and the more comfortable bus connections are booked out - and even with a non-stop bus it would take more than 16 hours to the place in Honduras where I need to go to. But somehow I'll get there, I guess it will make me have a more intense travel experience than I expected - I'll let you know when I come back!
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