Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Another series of ketchup

6/15 (La Selva)

We got up extra early, went out and stuck pushpins into trees/logs/leaves where we saw bluejeans frogs singing from. In the afternoon, we measured about eight things about each perch. This day, I was pretty annoyed by Sammie, and complained about stuff to Andon. I broke down at lunch, and just started crying and couldn't talk about why I was so upset, which boiled down to:

(a) I was correct about a measurement we were supposed to take. In fact, taking that measurement according to a parameter (as opposed to indefinitely) was Doug's idea. When he found out that my group was taking measurements that way he challenged me and said that if it'd been his idea then he must've been not thinking very well. Then when I showed him where I wrote it down that he'd said it, he got snippy with me and told us to change what we were doing, "because everyone else has been doing it a different way". Huh. So that pushed my first big button (getting in my way when I'm doing a competent job).

(b) Sammie was excessively negative and judgmental...I took a thumb-sized piece of bread to go feed the machacas (those fish I wrote about) and instead of being neutral, ignoring it, or anything else, she decided to say "Dude, weren't you paying attention when they said we were giving all the animals diabetes?"....Ok, first of all, she's got a larger point. But (i) Not all the animals have diabetes, just monkeys and so (ii) if she's not even going to pay attention to the science lectures, then she's got no cause to jump in and get on my case. She also was in my measuring group and was ... basically no help. In fact, she was antihelpful.

(c) Maria was the other person in my group, and she pulled Doug into every little discussion of stuff...which although totally not her fault, ended up with me upset at her because I was upset at Doug...

But that day we also saw: a two-toed sloth, a three-toed sloth, lesser anteater, turtle (I found it!), an armadillo, and some white-faced capuchins (monkeys).

The next day was our "Tourist Day"...that's my word for it. We went whitewater rafting in the morning...which was fun. It was paddle boats, which was new for me...but it wasn't very exciting. At all. I didn't say anything, and I didn't want to, because I really don't wanna be that person who ruins it for everyone by saying "This is soooo tame". But there were about two holes (2h or 3h trip) that were mildly exciting. We're talking...riffles. And I haven't been rafting for a while, but honestly, the scariest part for me was when they started playing the "let's have the customers fall into the water" games. I hate falling into the water.

Later that day, we went canopying...which I thought would be scarier than it was. Especially because I have a strong and irrational (sometimes) fear of falling. It was just great fun...the idea of "canopying" is a little misleading because what we actually did was just go through the...forest. I was really glad that we did it...although I felt bad that Natasha and Faiane didn't go...it didn't seem like there were as strict of number requirements as we thought. It mildly annoyed me that nobody really stood up and said thanks...I mean, I didn't do it to be thanked. But still. Oh well. I'm over it.

That night, Carlos, our guide for the Bribri reservation (we'd thought he was fluent in Bribri...turns out, he's not.) came and talked to us. I learned several things about the Bribri, Carlos, and our group:
(a) Carlos has the kind of enthusiasm for the Bribri culture that your scaryotype born again Christian has for Christianity.
(b) White people don't own the market in the racism department
(c) There's lots of racism in our group
(d) Even though I know very little of my tribe's culture and traditions, I have just as strong an idea of how to be a "good Indian" as everyone else, and although it goes directly against my beliefs as stated, I have strong ideas about who is and who isn't a "good Indian".
(e) Carlos does not know when to shut up
(f) The people in charge of this program aren't capable of keeping him or the racists in line.
(g) Some people think that simply because you're part of an Indigenous Culture, that makes you/your beliefs categorically better than those of us who are of White Cultures (I haven't asked them yet what if you're from France or something...which means that you're kind of...white and also indigenous...somehow that doesn't strike me as a useful conversation to have).

So there's a lot of ranting that goes along with that...but that's the basic 4-1-1 on the talk. Later that night I hung out with Javez and Natasha and Faiane...who weren't any more tolerant of vegetarianism as a valid (as valid as indigenous ideas, for example)...but I enjoyed hanging out with Andon more. We talked about lots of things...I really like him, because there's no crap. We just converse, and there's not awkwardness about male-female (I hate that), there's not drama about disagreeing because we're both able to chill out, and we have a similar sense of humor.

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