Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Talamancan territory!

We have experienced a wide range of tourism on this trip, but the most interesting was our stay at an indigenous Talamanca Bribri community. We took boats up the Yorkin river and then stayed at their village. The Bribri people are unique, there are less than 75,000 people that even speak Bribri. During our stay at the village we learned how to make chocolate, straight from the cocoa bean! It was delicious. We also learned archery from one of the village boys. Friday afternoon we played the village kids in a game of soccer for dinner! It was a lot of fun, soccer is the same in every language so there was no barrier at all! The tourism to the village is limited, there are only about a thousand visitors a year. It is really neat how tourism has helped the village. It has created jobs inside the community so that the village men do not have to travel far from home to work in the banana plantations.

While most of the group made the journey into the Talamancan territory, a few of the group members had to stay behind due to a minor illness. The first night at the hotel, the group made their way to the Atlantic Ocean which was only about a three minute walk across the street. It was unique in a sense because no matter what time of day it was, the ocean water was set at the same warm temperature. The water was crystal clear. Later that night, our bus driver Miguel, drove the three of us, Agustin, Chase, and Krista, out to town a couple minutes away. During our time on the little strip filled with restaurants and souvenir shops, we explored a variety of different places.

Due to the unfamiliar surroundings, it was Agustin and Chase's duty to protect Krista. We finally found a place to eat at a pizzeria where the movie Cop Out was playing while we ate our dinner. The next day, Agustin was able to talk to a local man about the negative stereotypes that are given to the area and the people. There were many locals of African descent but there was one that seemed to attract the most people. Roberto, or Agustin's new friend, explained to him how he didn't appreciate all the criticism given to him because he was a Rastafarian individual who was always happy. Roberto was very peaceful and all smiles when you approached him; he told Agustin that many tourists look at him and think he spends his free time smoking marijuana. He also told Agustin that he felt it was unfair that the locals, from airports to hotel receptionists, do not recommend visiting that location. Agustin became such good friends with the man that he decided to donate his green shirt that Roberto liked. After the visit with the local, Jennifer, Agustin, Violet and Hope continued their journey to the beach where they took some pretty amazing photos. One of which seems to be out of a movie scene, (Agustin with his ninja kick).

Overall, although many people seem to stare at the locals, the locals seem to stare back, but it's only because of the curiosity to learn more from each other and when the ice is broken, it becomes a learning experience that can only be done by traveling the world.

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