Thursday, March 4, 2010


I had another week of Spanish school in Monteverde. Monteverde is a cloud forest up in the mountains. Monteverde has a very interesting history. In 1951, 11 Quaker families fom Alabama moved to Costa Rica when two of them were jailed because they refused to fight in the Korean war. They looked at different places in Central and South America, but they chose Costa Rica because they had gotten rid of their army in 1948. The families bought 3000 acres in Cerro Plano hill. They named their land Monteverde. It took them three months to travel 18 kilometers from the main road to their land because they had to make the road as they went. Two years later, in 1953, the Quakers founded the cheese factory. The cheese factory is still there today, and we went to see it. They make cheese and meat products, because when making cheese, only 10% of the milk turns into cheese. The rest turns into whey, and they have a few hundred pigs which they feed on the whey.
Spanish school was good. My teacher didn't speak any English, so I learned a lot more than in Heredia. The weather in Monteverde is strange. Since you are usually in the cloud, it doesn't really rain, though it is misty most of the time. We went on a night tour and saw a fox and two Agoutis. Agoutis are like huge guinea pigs with long legs. We also went to a humming bird cafe. Outside they have 8 or 9 hummingbird feeders. There are always lots of hummingbirds around, and they are not afraid of people. Some of them fly really close to your head. My dad saw eight different types in the hour we were there. It is amazing how agile the humming birds are. It is also amazing how they can fly so fast because Monteverde is at 5600 feet (2000 meters) so the air is thin, and they must breathe very fast. We went to a bat jungle. We learned that there is a type of bat which eats nectar, and it beats  its wings even faster than a humming bird. They also have small fruit bats which get a piece of fruit and hang upside down while they eat it. They are very cute. They didn't have any bug eating bats because a bug eating bat eats 500-3000 mosquitos each day.

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