Student Reflections:
Lorena Brown - Coroico

Saturday, November 25, 2000
In the distance I can hear the sound of a soft wooden flute underlying the hubbub of the street below. It is a Saturday night in Coroico and the clouds have rolled in once again. From my window, the corner of the square, only 20 yards away, resides and in a midst and people, native and tourist, wander about. Children run, race down the sidewalk on skateboards, or push each other on plastic wheeled toys similar to Big Wheels. There is a joyous ring to the mingling of many different voices, punctuated by the shouts of children at play. This is the cultural side of Coroico that could never be captured on a thousand rolls of film, a hundred cassettes or CDs, or dozens of videotapes. This is something to be experienced, to be seen, to be heard, to be felt first hand. I gently lean further out my window and watch the happy masses as an observer who goes unnoticed, but even if I were on the street, I doubt my presence would do much to change what is taking place.

When I awoke this morning, the rain was coming down and I soon discovered why this place is called the cloud forest. The hotel was literally within a cloud and we could not see past the swimming pool. Fortunately, the rained cleared before we left but the clouds continued to roll in and out all day long, drastically changing the view minute by minute. And the views were spectacular!

We walked by some amazing vegetation as we tried to find our way to the river. I wish I could accurately describe just how lush the vegetation appears. There is one site in particular that sticks out in my mind. The road curved to the left, but a hill rose sharply directly in front of the road. Many plants-thick grasses, a few small trees, and many more-draped the hillside in a formation that appeared to be thick, lush, and soft. It was near here that Dave said that no matter how many pictures he took he would never be able to truly capture what it is really like, but he sure was going to try. I agree with him on both accounts.

Sunday, November 26, 2000
We sampled six streams along the road to San Jancinto today and nearly all of them were incredible waterfalls coming from the mountains. We found Hildenbrandia in all, or almost all, of them. Hildenbrandia is a red alga that forms a bright red crust only one cell thick on the rock surface. It is primarily a marine genus but has invaded fresh water systems in the tropics. This was only the second time that Morgan has seen this genus, so she was especially excited and it is exciting to be a part of that. We also found and sampled a few green algae in the streams.

Monday, November 27, 2000
Today the "Stream Team" did a population study on the river below Coroico and the rest of us studied plant families in the garden of a nearby hotel. A man, who was presumably the owner, was seemed very excited that we were interested in his garden and showed off many plants.

Dave and Bryan invented a new game for studying plant families. They were standing on the back bumper of the truck and holding onto the bars of the "cage" on top the bed. They would lean out as far as they could or as low as they could and grab a plant as we went by and hold it up in the air as someone shouted out the family. It soon became a competition between the two to see who could grab the most families.

[ Global Studies | Back to Previous Page | Env. & Plant Biology ]