Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Dusk in Hojancha

This is an excerpt from trip leader Dan Buettner:
It's 6:00 pm now and this is a magical time in Nicoya. I'm sitting on second floor deck of our bunkhouse. It's a place that looks a bit like a tree house with long pole railings, expedition chairs and lizards skittering over creaky floor planks. It's very calm. Soft light sifts through palm and mango trees overhead. This is the dry season, so the afternoon's heat quickly radiates skyward with the receding sun leaving and invigorating evening coolness. Our jungle lodge, completely filled by our 13-member team, sits on the edge of Hojancha--a typical northern Cost Rican village. Every morning, the jaguar-like roar of howler monkeys wakes us up. Now, I hear only the lugubrious whine of a million cicadas and the tinny, polka-like wail of musica ranchera from some faraway radio.

About this time every night a certain holy chaos erupts. All day the writers, photographers, and videographers have been chasing down stories, trying to find living examples of the longevity secrets our scientists are uncovering. In a few minutes, we'll eat a dinner of beans, rice, fried bananas, and river fish--all washed down with seedy, mucous-like passion fruit juice. Then, 13 lap tops will open, the naked light bulb overhead will dim with the power drain and we'll become a mobile production house. Joseph, Tom and Damian will edit videos, Sabriya, Eliza, Michael and I will write scripts and dispatches, Gianluca will edit photos, Michel, Gianni--and Dr. Elizabeth Lopez, a new psychologist who just volunteered for our team-- will compile results of today's surveys and Nick will gather up all the content and upload it to the site by 4:00 am. Then we'll slump into our bunks until the monkeys begin howling at dawn.


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