The easy border crossing and going home

Trip Start Jul 12, 2012
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Trip End Sep 21, 2012


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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of San Jose,
Monday, September 17, 2012

Getting up early when you have to do boron stuff like border crossings is much less enjoyable when you're getting up at 5am to work with sloths. However today border crossing is going to be much more exciting because I'm going to see my babies! Hopefully the border crossing won't be as hellish as the last time. Alas my plan to have banana pancakes was foiled by the fact my banana was way to unripe. Not a good start. 

I went to the boat dock and got on am earlier boat and then an earlier bus to the border. This meant I was there half an hour before I should have been which made a HUGE difference. There was literally no one there and I didn't even have to queue. Boom! There's the secret to that border then. Get there fucking early. This seemed right as when I was once again crossing the dilapidated bridge tons of people were starting to arrive. Downside was a had to wait an hour for the bus but I'd much rather be doing that then standing in a massive queue that takes forever. I saw a wild sloth in a cecropia tree on the way back, it was like he was welcoming me home. Hi little guy!

Was beyond excited to get back, thought I might vomit I was that excited. The first thing, after saying hi to Judy, was go and see Gigia. He was a bit grumpy at first as if to say, 'i'm ignoring you, you left me'. But then he forgave me and gave me lots of love. Went down after to see my section and saw the volunteers so chatted with them and Claire for a bit. I said I was surprised to see Dusty and Jorge had actually left, Claire then told me that they basically had to make them...awkward! The two cousins who arrived the day I left seem nice. Weirdly Ester had met them in San Jose. They said they found her uncomfortable to be with as she just did stuff that seemed rude but probably wasn't meant to come across like that. She's just very to the point! She had told me that the Jaguar Rescue Centre in Puerto Viejo tell their tourists that they refer to this place as 'The Sloth Prison'. I can't even begin to describe how mad I was. I discussed it with Claire and Judy and said I thought it was so unprofessional to tell tourists that. And obviously utterly untrue! I mean we're not the ones with the stupidly high mortality rates in our reports nor does the sanctuary drive baby sloths (and other animals), two hours into the mountains and just leave them there without any type of monitoring where they then die. So yeah congrats you 'rehabilitate' animals who then die, good job. Think I'd rather be in an enclosure and loved, looked after and fed all my life then dumped on a mountain where I'm not able to look after myself and either starve to death or get eaten by something. Grr. I'm totally going to go on a tour next time and be a total bitch and ask them loads of horrid questions. It's SO bad as well as they're perpetuating that image of the sanctuary and then telling people how the rehabilitate the animas into the wild so people have started taking sloths to them rather than the sanctuary where we obviously have a much better knowledge base on the sloths, can look after them properly and won't shove them on a mountain to die. Not good.

Pip seemed pretty happy to see me, as did Almendra and a few others. I even got kisses from Xena which I think is an actual first! One of the new volunteers told me how Gigia hasn't eaten for the last 3 days and when I was talking to Gigia saying I bet he hadn't missed me Judy said he definitely did as the last few days he's just been curled up in the corner and ignoring even Judy when she tried to give him fluids-both of which he loves. He totally missed me, adorable <3
Had lunch with the volunteers and Selma was back from her holidays and she happened to be cooking the pork I love, bonus! Good day to come back clearly.

They've been trying some new foods with the sloths, they've kept the skin on the camote (sweet potato) as all the nutrients are just under the skin. They're also testing some dog food, Judy's been giving it to Gigia as it has tons of vitamins etc and I think she usually gives it to the ones who are sick. Gigia loves it but I think the others were a bit like, "what is this?!" They hadn't really eaten much of anything but I thought it might take a while to get used to. This however did not cross the minds of the others. One of the new girls said that they all hadn't eaten much, I said that it might be because of the big storm they had or the new diet and that sometimes they won't eat, plus it's only one day. She got a bit argumentative about it and kept answering me back about everything I suggested. I was like calm down mate you've been here for 5 days. Neither of us is an expert here but I think they'll be ok. Then I had this conversation with Daniella:

Me: so how did your sloths like the food?
Dani: well none of them really ate much of anything
Me: that's fair enough really they're probably adjusting to the new food
Dani: I don't like them being given dog food
Me: um why?
Dani: I think it's going too far
-I asked why again
Dani: they shouldn't have meat in their diet I don't think it's right
Me: well I'm sure they're the vegetable ones. They can't process protein and there's tons of vitamins in it which is why Judy wants them to have it
Dani: I'm sure you can't even get the vegetable ones here and they'll be really expensive so they're probably meat and that's not right
Me: well I'm sure Judy knows what she's doing, it's a special brand.
Dani: I still don't like it and I don't think they should have it

It was just weird really, I mean Judy's been doing this for over 18 years. I assume she knows best/what she's doing. I certainly never question her orders because she really does know what the sloths need. She's not called 'The Sloth Whisperer' for nothing you know people. 

It was horrible saying goodbye to my babies, especially Gigia. He was so adorable giving me tons of kisses. Can't wait to see him when I'm back and all the others. I'm looking forward to meeting Becca as well who's doing her PhD on sloths. She seems like she'll be really interesting/nice. They all love her here so I'm expecting good things.

Claire nicely gave me a lift to the bus station with all my crap. I had to get Donald to help me finish packing my bag as apparently 4 bottles of local alcohol takes up a lot of room! I'm not just going to miss the sloths but the people. All of the staff and Judy and her family are awesome and so nice. So it will definitely be great to see then again as well. They really are like one big extended family!

Unfortunately the San Jose bus was full so had to get a ticket for one to Limon. Just before I left I saw the girls get off the bus so got to say goodbye to them without having to pass the message through Claire. It's weird how quick the time goes, Chris is leaving Saturday and Dani in like 6 days. Bet they'll really miss the sanctuary too. 

Finally on the bus to San Jose and the guy sat next to me is apparently a relative of Benjamin Disraeli, he even knew about Beaconsfield. Pretty cool huh. We got in pretty late and I headed back to the hostel I'd stayed at before. It was maybe 9pm and the woman looked like she'd been sleeping and looked annoyed. I asked if she had dorm space and she said she did so I paid the taxi and got out. She then told me that the dorms were closed so I had to pay $15 (when it's usually $10). I was like, uh why? And she told me that because it was closed she had to make up the difference but she wanted to help me out. Basically after a fruitless conversation about that being stupid I paid because I couldn't be bothered to find anywhere else. It was so irritating though, not only did I have to pay more but instead of having the actual exchange rate, between 490 and 500 colones to the dollar, their exchange was 530 so I paid even more than $15. Meh. Standard really, at least I have somewhere to stay
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