Going Eco

This blog entry about the events of Friday, December 14, 2007 was originally posted on December 17, 2007.

DAY 23:  The big buzz word in Costa Rican tourism is “eco-tourism,” tourism that is not only preceded by the prefix “eco,” but is also environmentally-conscious.  According to Al Gore, it’s a pretty good thing, and you can trust that guy because he invented the internet.

Going “eco” was the goal of Johnny, the guide I had for a night tour I took in the Monteverde region.  Twenty-four-year-old brother to Danavo, he was the son of the Manakin family that ran my B&B, guiding tours in the preserved “Hidden Valley” park — a refuge for indigenous plants and animals to exist amidst the increasing tourism developments in the region.  The sanctuary wasn’t the only one of its kind in the area; Johnny told me that his family was also scrounging up money to buy more surrounding land — merely to keep it as is and shield it from ownership of land developers.  Johnny embodied a true love of nature, and it was evident in his words.  “I love it,” he told me.  “I go here even if I’m not doing a tour.  I love it.”  He was an enthusiastic one, with plans to develop a mass water cleaning process, so that used water could be cleaned and recycled before being dumped out to the cloudforest — so far, all the liquid water being poured out into nature was tainted with chemicals and soap, and he wanted to prevent this; many plants have died because of it.

AFTER SUNSET (picture above), we entered the trails of the Hidden Valley, we were immediately fortunate to see wildlife.  “That’s a grey fox, man!” he raved.  “That’s one of the harder ones to find, and it’s there!”  The grey fox, whose eyes glowed like other animals under the beams of flashlights, was on the hunt for little critters to munch on.  He was not disturbed by the family of quatis that ran right by us along the trail. 

The two hours walking in the dark was a lesson in the environment, as treehugging Johnny (not to be mistaken with treehoppers) spoke of the importance of nature.  “Where do people come from?” he posed.  “They don’t come from cities.  They come from here.  Nature.”  He toured me around the reserve, showing me the waterfalls illuminated by moonlight, the baby porcupine sleeping up in a hollowed tree, the stars in the sky, and the plants around us — two of which he pointed out, were found to help Parkinson’s Disease and leukemia.

“Where does coffee come from?” he tried to stump me.

“Ethiopia,” I answered, retaining knowledge from the Antiguan coffee tour.

“Ah, yes.  Two more and you get a beer.”

However, I failed to correctly know that bananas, as dominant as they are in the “banana republics” of Central America, aren’t indigenous to the region.  Although tropical, they were introduced by the west (after discovering them in the tropical east), mainly as a food source for workers and cattle.

Johnny continued on, raving about the behavior of ants, and all the insects that have good sex lives.  The end of our night hike was spent trying to find tarantulas, curious spiders that don’t actually spin webs; they hide in holes or tree stumps and pounce on whatever comes their way.  We saw a few tarantulas camping out, but some were too smart or conditioned not to jump at sticks that tour guides shake in front of them for demonstration purposes.

We left the reserve that night, Johnny still preaching (but not in a preachy way) about saving more of the land in the Monteverde region to keep it the way it is.

“What about the government?” I asked.  “They’d rather just make money off the land from foreign developments?”

“Of course.”

What the fate of the region was I didn’t know for sure, although I did see a Century 21 office in town.  I hoped there would always be a balance between the “eco” and the “tourism” — more than the Treehouse Cafe in Santa Elena, built around a tree — but I’m sure things would be okay, if Johnny had anything to do about it. 

Next entry: EXTREMO!!!

Previous entry: From Jungle To Cloudforest

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Comments for “Going Eco”

  • I found myself with a chunk of time, so I posted these last two… Don’t know when I’ll have time to post the next one, but I’ll be at least posting photos for you to make up stories in the meantime…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/17  at  09:26 PM

  • ran some edits on the latest 2…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/18  at  01:14 AM

  • AWWWWW, baby porcupine is sooooo cute! hug it.
    I miss Monteverde, I swear they have the best coffee ever.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/18  at  02:11 PM

  • That sunset pic is great - thanks…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/18  at  07:15 PM

  • Oh - what are tree hoppers? Are they just frogs or something else? I can’t see them too clearly…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/18  at  07:16 PM

  • NOELLE - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treehopper

    I’m pretty sure they were also featured on an episode of Reading Rainbow or 321 Contact.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/19  at  12:29 AM

  • Wow - learn something every day!! And from that same site:
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    Thanks Markyt - for being the Gentleman you are. wink HA!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/19  at  04:17 AM

  • johnny’s the man

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/20  at  03:51 PM

  • Hola, Eric.
    How are things going?  What did you think of Monte Verde?  Did you ever get a chance to eat at the Restaurant in Monte Verde that we told you about?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/20  at  06:49 PM

  • Hi everyone, I´m with Erik in Colombia. FYI - he got shot yesterday, but he will be ok.  We´ll keep you updated.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/21  at  10:14 PM

  • Um, shot? Wtf?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/23  at  04:08 AM

  • Shot!?  I was just coming on to wish you a Merry Christmas aswell.  Hope you’re ok, Erik.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/23  at  10:01 AM

  • OMG - was just coming to say Merry Christmas!! YEEKS! Be safe… I’m glad you’re with him, Steph.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/23  at  04:22 PM

  • whoa - what?  I hope Erik is OK!  I am in Guatemala now, and I’m checking my favorite sites at the internet cafe!  Feliz Navidad, and may everyone be well!

    Posted by sara  on  12/24  at  12:40 AM

  • Hey all… wanted to let you know that Erik is doing great and well on the road to recovery.  Now lets see if he’ll be able to recover from the Christmas festivities in Bogota!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/24  at  02:09 AM

  • a shot of tequila helps…

    i’m going to type “getting69” for this to post!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/25  at  05:30 AM

  • only four concerned people… i’m going into relapse…

    Posted by Erik TGT  on  12/25  at  11:57 PM

  • I think it’s actually called “rehab,” and I think you may need it… Wait, that’s me…
    Off I go… to happy hour - MUCH better. Glad you’re at least posting.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/26  at  12:01 AM

  • hey! i had no internet, and now that i finally have it i STILL have no details on you getting shot? you can’t be upset at the quiet comments, people are waiting to hear! what happened! what the heck!? disclaimer: i JUST got online and this is the first comment thread. sorry in advance if you tell the story somewhere… but still! can’t just say you got shot in Columbia and then leave it at that.

    i’ll shoot you some more if you don’t tell me. (clearly my anger indicates that i’m super glad you’re ok, and that you need to come back to muthahuckin NYC where it’s safe.


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    Posted by mia  on  12/26  at  01:39 AM

  • No puedo crear que hicistes tu, boludo! I’m concerned…!

    But in times like these, I have to draw upon the words of Caesar Agosto Moran in Erik Trinidad’s Little Caesar’s Apocalypto, “lock and load, folks, lock and load.”

    Did you shoot your eye out?  Did you break your glasses?  Are you ever going to dance again?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/26  at  04:17 AM

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This blog post is one of thirty-nine travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip: The Central American Eviction Tour* (*with jaunt to Colombia)," which chronicled a six-week journey through Central America, with a jaunt to Bogota, Colombia.

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From Jungle To Cloudforest


Confused at some of the jargon that's developed with this blog and its readers over the years? Here's what they mean:

BFFN: acronym for "Best Friend For Now"; a friend made on the road, who will share travel experiences for the time being, only to part ways and lose touch with

The Big Trip: the original sixteen month around-the-world trip that started it all, spanning 37 countries in 5 continents over 503 days (October 2003–March 2005)

NIZ: acronym for "No Internet Zone"; a place where there is little to no Internet access, thus preventing dispatches from being posted.

SBR: acronym for "Silent Blog Reader"; a person who has regularly followed The Global Trip blog for years without ever commenting or making his/her presence known to the rest of the reading community. (Breaking this silence by commenting is encouraged.)

Stupid o'clock: any time of the early morning that you have to wake up to catch a train, bus, plane, or tour. Usually any time before 6 a.m. is automatically “stupid o’clock.”

The Trinidad Show: a nickname of The Global Trip blog, used particularly by travelers that have been written about, who are self-aware that they have become "characters" in a long-running story — like characters in the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show.

WHMMR: acronym for "Western Hemisphere Monday Morning Rush"; an unofficial deadline to get new content up by a Monday morning, in time for readers in the western hemisphere (i.e. the majority North American audience) heading back to their computers.

1981ers: people born after 1981. Originally, this was to designate groups of young backpackers fresh out of school, many of which were loud, boorish and/or annoying. However, time has passed and 1981ers have matured and have been quite pleasant to travel with. The term still refers to young annoying backpackers, regardless of year — I guess you could call them "1991ers" in 2013 — young, entitled millennials on the road these days, essentially.

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