Snorkeling in the Caribbean – Bocas del Toro

Over the past few days, we have had the opportunity to spend many hours snorkeling around the coral reefs in Bocas del Toro (Panama). Today we trekked back across the border (which went much smoother than the way down). There was a lot less apprehension among the group, as we were all veterans of the crossing and understood what the emigration/immigration process would look like in reverse.

We are now working our way up the National highway that is once again packed with semis hauling Banana’s and other goods as was described in an earlier blog post. We are en route to the Sarapiquí Rainforest Region of Costa Rica, the final area we will explore before returning to San José Sunday evening. We saw a couple Sloths in a Cahuita National Park just before lunch. While both the Chicken and Rice and the Beans and Rice options were favorites, and while a number of us opted for a Hamburger with fries (including our bus driver Christian, who told some of the group he eats Beans and Rice three times a day every day and this opportunity was extra special for him), Luna was the only one to order the Casado con Carne.

Luna Casado con Carne

Luna with her Casado con Carne.

This meal always has the meat (chicken pieces or breasts, fish, pork chops, or beef) chopped potatoes in a sauce, rice, beans, salad, and sometimes plantains. When she got her plate, many of us were second-guessing our orders. I told the group I would be ordering Casado con Carne if it is an option on the remainder of our experience.

After eating, we had a brief ceremony to thank one of our guides, Amelia, who would be leaving us later in the afternoon to join another group coming to visit. Each member of our group had written a brief ‘Thank You’ to Amelia on a colored popsicle stick, and we gave her an envelope with the sticks and a tip in appreciation for all she had done. Students wrote notes on popsicle sticks like Henry’s, “Thank You so much for showing us around. I’ll remember this trip for the rest of my life.”

Thank You Amelia 2019

A sampling of the popsicle sticks we gave to Amelia as part of her thank you gift.

Of course no day would be complete without La Pregunta del Día; so, The Question:

Over the past few days in Bocas del Toro, we experienced snorkeling and Caribbean culture. What have you learned about snorkeling, the reef, or about life in general while spending time in the Caribbean? How might this experience apply to your life when you return to Montana?

Afton – Wear sunscreen. That is what I learned. You have to apply it a lot of times. Being sunburned is no fun. Even in Montana, I think I will still wear sunscreen when I return.

Aidia – I learned how much climate change is affecting the ocean and the coral reefs and everything. I was obviously aware of climate change and everything, but after seeing the reefs for myself, I’m definitely going to share with others the importance of addressing climate change. That is what I will do when back in Montana.

Barrett – I learned that the water was a lot warmer and clearer than it is in Montana. If I ever think the water is too cold when I’m back in Montana, I can just move to the Caribbean!

Brandon – I learned that the water isn’t good to drink. It is a lot warmer, and that there are way more colorful fish. And I learned not to touch Sea Urchins, the hard way. I’ve also learned that there are jellyfish cells that can sting. Finally, I learned that sometimes things go a lot better when I try to be a part of the group instead of always pushing limits to get noticed and yelled at by the adults.

Brody – I thought that a coral reef was healthier if it was brighter, but it actually is healthier the darker it is because it has to have more algae in it and that makes it darker. The algae helps the coral get oxygen. When the ocean gets polluted, the algae can’t grow and the reef starts to die.

Carson – Something I learned was that the coral reefs are much more affected by pH than I thought. I thought coral was like a tree – like a plant, but it’s an animal. Also, I learned the reef uses algae for energy and stuff with the process of photosynthesis. I will appreciate how clean my house is upon return.

Clement – I learned that they don’t use cars that much – they use more boats. I saw a lot more shops than I’m used to, and I saw a lot of people who are trying to make a living, but don’t have much. When I’m back in Montana, this will affect my life because I’ve found we should all appreciate what we’ve got because we’ve got a beautiful place to live and have a higher standard of living. Even though they don’t have a lot, they were still happy, and we should be too.

Craig – I learned that there is coral in the ocean like Fire Coral that can hurt you if you touch it. A number of our group got cut by this coral and they said it hurt pretty bad (Jacob said, “It cut pretty bad – I probably shouldn’t have touched that.”).

Dayan – One thing I learned is that it is a lot hotter over here and it’s way easier to get sunburned – like really bad sunburn. When I return to Montana, I might take somebody with me when I go into the water because I learned the importance of having a buddy in the water.

Delaney – One thing I learned was how to Duck Dive, and that was cool. It was difficult to go vertically down. You want to go horizontally so you can see all the fish, but you need to dive straight down and you’ll see more – how to do a proper Duck Dive, I guess. Back home, I’ll put on sunscreen even when in water. I always thought the water protected you from the sun, but now I know that isn’t true – it intensifies the rays.

Gage – No response.

Henry – I learned that many people use their boats as mainly their job. Their whole economy is based upon water and boats. Like Roberto, who lived in a shack – the only income he had was shuttling people around in his boat. When back home, I’ll appreciate how easy it is going to be for me to get a job when I turn 15.

Jacob – I learned that the reefs aren’t very well protected. Some of the bigger name reefs are protected, but the littler/lesser known reefs are dying because of pollution and temperature changes. Like Henry said, the islands don’t have that many jobs. Tourists are their big income. When I am legal working age, I’ll appreciate how easy it is to get a job and have a house. I’ll appreciate non-polluted waters and having drinking water, as well.

Jackson – The plumbing is whack. It’s crazy, like the way you can’t flush toilet paper down the toilet. I’m not gonna lie, I had to use a spoon to get some toilet paper our once because I threw it in the toilet out of habit. Also, I was wearing my Bocas hat, and many people would just look at me and say, “BOCAS!” The people here are very passionate sports fans. The kids were playing soccer at night in the street behind our hotel for hours – they were using large plastic milk crates on their side as goals. They are just passionate.

Luna – I like how nobody is on their phones here. I feel kind of inspired by that and I am going to try to be on my phone less when I go back to Montana. You miss out on time with your family or being outside when you are on your phone.

Matteo – I learned that the health of the reef can actually control the oxygen levels in the atmosphere. We really need to cut down on pollution if we want to have healthy, non-toxic air to breathe on our planet. Something I’ll take back to Montana is an appreciation for clean streets and clean water. I also want to try to conserve more – like using less water and plastics because it can really affect the world we live in.

Maya – A lot of people rely on the ocean for how they live. The Caribbean people need a healthy ocean to continue living as they have. In Helena, we think of the ocean as somewhere to go on vacation, but for many, I learned it is so much more.

Micah – I learned that you need to listen to your parents when they say, “Sunscreen isn’t a joke when you get closer to the equator,” because these blisters – man! Being a part of the marine research was a contribution to the cause. Even though we didn’t do much, the plots we surveyed and the data we recorded will help ensure the future of that reef.

Natalya – I didn’t know that there was salt in the ocean. I learned that the water is really salty. You can get burned a lot easier in Central America than at home. The water here is a lot bluer as well. I’ll bring back what I learned in that we can change the environment by being aware of what we are doing.

Reece – I learned that Sand Dollars grow vertical to the ground and that they are related to the Star Fish. I also learned that the Caribbean Islands rely on water for transportation, and that they need rain to have drinking water. Back home, I am reminded we are more careless with our water than they are here.

Zoe – I learned that you should wear sunscreen. You can get burnt easily in the water, it makes it hard to sleep, and then you get grumpy. It feels like somebody is rubbing sandpaper on my skin right now and it hurts. I’m going to listen to my mom when back in Montana and wear sunscreen!

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We checked into the Selva Verde Lodge last night, had an excellent meal, and 1/2 our group got to go on a “Night Hike” in the Sarapiquí Rainforest. The other half will go tonight, and those excursions will be the subject of a future post. We’re off to the Rainforest this morning and then going to zip-line in the afternoon! Check back soon to see how those activities are going!

Crossing the Border and Experiencing Snorkeling Off Bocas del Toro, Panamá

It was to be a couple hour drive after our whitewater rafting adventure to our hotel along the coast of Costa Rica near Panamá, but that was before we hit the traffic along the route. We learned that Banana trees are like Pineapples in that they are a “one shot wonder” (thanks for the verbiage, Paulette)! In other words, once the clump of bananas is harvested, the tree is cut down and another one is planted. Each tree only produces one set of the fruit and it is done.

Well, southeast Costa Rica is a Banana producing region. We passed huge barbed wire lots larger than football fields filled with refrigerated semi-truck/train shipping containers stacked 3-6 high. Then these containers, loaded with Bananas (we went by the Chaquita, Del Monte, and Dole plants) were hauled to the ports by tractor-trailer trucks. So, on that two-lane road, we did stop and go traffic for almost two hours to go the last 40 miles to our town of Puerto Viego. There were a ton of trucks clogging the road, along with cars, motorcycles, school busses, and even an ambulance (not going any faster than we were). The couple-hour long drive wound up taking over three, but we finally made it to the hotel.

Upon arrival at the Cariblue Resort in Puerto Viejo, our students loved discovering their cabanas as they wound their way through the dense vegetation meandering out into the darkness from the central lobby. There wasn’t time to delay, as we reloaded the bus and went downtown (a couple kilometers away) to a small restaurant called, Riquísimo. By the time our group took seats, there weren’t any tables left in the small restaurant. There was a small island with stools between our open-air tables and the bustling road of the small surfing town. In the end, many students said the Caribbean fare was the best meal of the trip thus far. Some swam in one of the pools, while many opted to connect to the Wi-Fi and check in with friends and parents.

The next morning, many of the students opted for fresh pancakes with a strawberry syrup to accompany their scrambled eggs over the standard beans and rice. Mr. Elder also found the yogurt with granola and a fresh banana was really good! Most everybody went to the beach: the 8am shift got to go swimming out in the surf, and the 8:30 crew just checked things out along the beach. The sun was intense, giving us a glimpse of the power of the rays yet to come when we hit the ocean waters in Panamá. We came back, loaded the bus, and just like that – we were off to Panamá!

Border Cota Rica Panama 01

Waiting in the hot sun to go through the Emigration check-point as we left Costa Rica.

We pulled up, got out with only our passports, and found ourselves in a long line of people waiting to emigrate from Costa Rica. We knew it was coming, but about 45 minutes in the hot sun with no shade was intense! Some had umbrellas and all had sunscreen, but it was a hot wait for sure.

Border Cota Rica Panama 05

Once done with the first line, we hit the second, waiting to immigrate into Panamá.

When done, we walked back over to the bus, unloaded our luggage, and walked across a bridge over the Sixaola River. It was interesting to be walking with the other people, as our bus was not allowed to cross the border. On the other side, we put our luggage in a new bus (more on that soon), and found our way to the immigration line a few hundred yards away. While the line area was in the shade, it was still pretty hot while we waited.

The adults in our group had to get a photo taken and provide both left and right hand and thumb prints. Fortunately, our students just had their passports run through and then got their stamps. Amelia and I went on a quest to find some water for the group, but none of the four stores at the border had large containers. Miss Pancich ultimately wound up buying a couple of the largest bottles we could find and I got about eight sun-block bottles! Back on the bus…

Speaking of our bus, it was a 1970s-era luxury cruiser that had come form Korea after it completed its home-country service (we knew this because every sign on the bus (ie., Emergency Exit) had the message in Korean as well). Our driver, who may have been over three hundred pounds, had a couple assistants. One stood on the stairs by the door and the other used an upside down 5-gallon bucket as a stool right next to the driver himself. They were proud of their bus, a red 70s cruiser that had purple embroidered curtains with gold stitching. The last couple rows were a favorite, as they had steps up and were like elevated theatre seating, giving the lucky occupants views all the way to the front of the bus!

Off we went, rumbling down the roads through Panamá, finding our way to the port city of Almirante. This was an excellent experience for our students, as many people were crammed in a small waiting area for the taxi. We were fortunate, as Enrique (one of the assistants on our bus) led us through the throng and right out to the boat dock. We loaded on two boats and within minutes, had donned lifejackets and were off.

When we arrived, we met Jeannette, our snorkeling guide, and she took us for a meal. Everyone was really hungry, and the Tuna Steak with Rice and the Chicken and Potatoes were both a real hit. Other than that, you are now up to date minus they snorkeling… leading us to the next Pregunta del Día.

La Pregunta del Día: Five years from now, what will stick in your mind about your snorkeling experience – such as something you saw or did?

Afton – “I liked looking at the different kinds of coral and seeing what’s down there. I saw a lot of different kinds of fish.”

Aidia – “I thought I got stung by a Jellyfish, but I may have touched the Coral.”

Barret – “I’ll remember collecting data and waving my hand at the little worms that have the stringy things outside of them. When I waived my hand, they would think I was a fish and hide back in their tube.”

Brandon – “I will remember being stung by Jellyfish cells.”

Brody – “Learning about how much the coral affects us (humans) and how much the coral is affecting global warming with the algae.”

Carson – “I thought that the water was surprisingly clear and there were a lot more fish than I thought there would be – I was surprised by all the colors.”

Clement – “It was really pretty, because the water was really clear and there was a lot of fish life. I’d never seen one of those worm things before. I’ll definitely remember them. I saw that, I did that, and it was fun!”

Craig – “We collected all sorts of data and saw a lot of fish. It was interesting to see all the things in the water when you looked within a meter of the rope line we laid on the reef floor.”

Dayan – “There was all sorts of algae and stuff, but out a little farther, I dove down, my ears popped as I went down, and I saw this yellow rock with holes in it. It reminded me of Sponge-Bob!”

Delaney – “I saw an Eel sticking out of a rock – it sat there frozen staring up at us, hidden in the Coral.”

Gage – “I will remember that if a fish brushed up against my leg, or even if it’s like a leaf, it freaks me out.”

Henry – “I’ll remember how we couldn’t find the coral reef after we laid the rope down and put the plotting square on it. I found a cool piece of coral, but it wasn’t inside the square like it was supposed to be.”

Jacob – “I’ll remember the little worms that we could disturb the water near and they would disappear.”

Jackson – “The fish were really close – they’d swim by about an inch from their legs.”

Luna – “There was one really big section of coral with a lot of fish in it, and my favorite fish was a black one that had neon-blue poka-dots!”

Matteo – “I will remember touching a sea cucumber. I expected it to be soft and squishy, but in reality it was hard like a rock and had hair on it.”

Maya – “A lot of the time, my whole body would sting because of the Jellyfish particles in the water.”

Micah – “What will stick in my mind the most is swallowing so much salt-water!”

Natalya – “The saltiness will stay in my mind forever. The saltwater was on my teeth and made it hard to chew things.”

Reese – “Seeing a trumpet fish with its mouth and tail like the end of the trumpet where the sound comes out… and diving down and seeing all the see urchins.”

Zoe – “I’ll remember the water was turquoise.”

Tomorrow (Thursday, 3/28), we will spend the morning collecting data on the reef’s health once again and find our way to a beach in a Panamanian National Park for the afternoon! Stay tuned for the next post about our C.R. Anderson group experience in Central America.

Rafting the Pacaure River, Animal Sitings, and A Few Other Random Thoughts

We began our day at the Cariblue Hotel in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. A group of students headed at an early breakfast and headed across the road to the beach. The wave/s were impressive, and there was a number of surfers bobbing out in the water waiting for a big wave.

Pacuare_River

Afton and Brandon take in the walls of the Pacuare Canyon after a class IV set of rapids. We’ll have to get some action photos from the whitewater sections posted soon!

 

“Muy Bonita,” “Crazy,” “Breath-taking,” “Intense” –

These are a few of the words CRA students used to describe their rafting adventure on the Pacuare River. When asked for three words, here are the responses:

Afton – Exciting, funny, and beautiful!

Aidia – Adventurous, crazy, and funny!

Barret – Exhilarating, fun, and amazing!

Brandon – Bumpy, wet, and awesome!

Brody – No response.

Carson – Exhilarating, relaxing, and labor-intensive!

Clement – Really fun, wet, and an activity where we had to pay attention a lot.

Craig – Exciting, beautiful scenery, and relaxing.

Dayan – Exciting, calming, and focus-to-avoid-sinking.

Delaney – Exuberant, thrilling, and fun!

Gage – Fun, beautiful-scenery, and quite-tiring.

Henry – No response.

Jacob – Nerve racking, exciting, and blood pumping!

Jackson – Adrenaline, fun, and kind of scary!

Luna – Kind-of-Scary, gorgeous-surroundings, and amazing!

Matteo – Muy bonita, exciting, and tiring.

Maya – Vibrant, breathtaking, and insane!

Micah – Euphoric, wonderful, and new.

Natalya – Fascinating, refreshing, and muscle-usage!

Reece – Intense, extraordinary, and beautiful.

Zoe – Super Duper Cool!

We’ve also seen a number of animals during our brief time in Costa Rica. Here’s a list the students came up with when asked what we’d observed:

The brilliant blue butterflies, a black vulture, Geckos, Capybara (largest rodent on Earth), orange crabs, sloths, Toucans and the Oro Bendura (Oriole-Family of birds that builds the hanging nests), a worm-like leach in the shower, Poisoned Dart and Neon Green, as well as Teal Frogs, a Howler Monkey, and huge spiders!

Sloth on Power Line

A Sloth navigates a power line in the town of Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica… and he was moving faster than any group member who had seen Sloths before had moved!

Some of the group had some other random thoughts they wanted to share about our brief experience in Costa Rica:

Brandon – “Reece and I got scared by a Chupacabra.”

Clement – “It is very hot here, but it’s very beautiful. It’s very different because we’re used to seeing pine trees, but it’s a whole new world here.” 1. Really fun, wet, and an activity where we had to pay attention a lot.

Dayan – “The food is way better than what we have at home – yummier and healthier.”

Delaney – “I didn’t think the Sloth we saw last night was real at first.”

Gage – “This morning, I saw a long line of ants carrying leaves and stuff.”

Henry – “I saw a gross leach in the shower last night.”

Jacob – “You can sunburn very easily in Costa Rica! And the tropical fruits here are much better than in the States. Not only that, but Craig and I locked ourselves out of our bungalow this morning.”

Jackson – “A gecko dive bombed me at breakfast – he landed on my face!”

Luna – “On the rafting trip, our boat got caught and it started flooding. It was really fun, though.”

Matteo – “When I woke up and walked out of my bungalow this morning, there was a little Neon Green Tree Frog with black spots – and there was a Gecko chasing it.”

Maya – “When we crossed the border about noon, there were school children all around, and they all had uniforms on.”

Micah – “Costa Rica is definitely a place to go!”

Reece – “Dinner last night was a mix of flavors I haven’t tried before. It was super-good. They were the best refried beans we had – they were light, not heavy.”

Coming soon on this blog: CRA Crosses into Panama and tries their luck at snorkeling!

Day #1 in Costa Rica

After just over 36 hours of travel, it was great to get some well deserved sleep in San Jose!

We began the morning with a city tour, walking through the main plaza, witnessing a service in the Catholic Church (the Official Religion is Roman Catholic, per the country’s Constitution – over 75% of the population identify as Catholic)

Catholic_Church_Alejuela

The Catholic Church on the Plaza in downtown Alejuela.

and the hundreds of people just sitting on benches and relaxing with their Sunday morning.

We also got to tour a coffee plantation that processes the beans without electricity or fuel to run things – it is all powered by water on the property.

Butterfly_Jacob

Jacob, with the benefit of time and patience, was able to get one of the butterflies to ‘hang out’ on his finger for a bit.

Students enjoyed the butterfly sanctuary a lot, and many bought (spoiler alert for some parents following this blog) some coffee for family members. These two activities and our journey down will be the focus of our “Question of the Day,” or the Pregunta del Día, that comes at the bottom of this post.

Our group stayed at two adjacent properties in Alajuela our first night in Costa Rica, both with beautiful views of the San José Valley, the Buena Vista and Casa Cielo Grande. We went to bed at 9:00 p.m. because we had to get rolling early in the morning. We knew we had a big day: driving for a few hours to the Picuare River for about 4 hours of whitewater rafting. That adventure, along with our crossing into Panama later today, will be the focus of our next blog post. Our guides this year (yes, we have two!), are Amelia and Hillary. They are doing an excellent job of keeping our large group (28 people) on track.

Buena Vista View

Some of the CRA students enjoy the pool late in the afternoon during our first day in Costa Rica. The pool overlooks the San José Valley, and was a refreshing way to end the marathon travel day we had just completed.

The students are forming stronger bonds of friendship, and random pairings like yesterday’s rafting excursion are helping everyone get to know each other while working as a team. And work we did, as the Picaure delivered on class II, III, and a few level IV rapids. And, with that, we’ll consider our first:

Pregunta del Día #2: At this point, you’ve had just over 24 hours in this country. What have you noticed or observed about Costa Rica or the Costa Rican people?

Afton – “The houses here are a lot brighter colors.”

Aidia – “I’m surprised by how the houses have a lot of fences and barbed wire.”

Barret – “It’s really warm all the time, and the rain isn’t cold. And the leaves on the trees are much bigger.”

Brandon – “There are more trees – lots of vegetation. And a lot of people don’t speak English!”

Brody – “Lots of razor wire and stuff on houses. There are lot of gates and stuff.”

Carson – “The rice and beans in Costa Rica are way better than when we have them in the states!”

Clement – “I really like Costa Rica because… I’m in the rainforest.”

Craig – “We were at the fountain trying to talk to people in Spanish. There were about 30 pigeons around this kid and he had one in his bare hands! He had i’s neck, almost like choking it. And his Mom didn’t seem to care – she was like, ‘Good Job, Sweetie!’”

Dayan – “Talking to people in the park was fun. We were talking to a man and we wanted to know how to say coconut, but we couldn’t get our point across.”

Delaney – “The people here all really like soccer.”

Gage – “There are a lot of birds here… you can hear them every morning.”

Henry – “The driving is aggressive. When you’re driving down a road, cars honk when they meet others to decide who is going to go – it is just really aggressive. The coffee is also really good!”

Jacob – “It is very humid. People here are really nice. They stare at us because we’re foreigners, but they are friendly when we start talking to them.”

Jackson – “Everybody loves soccer. One lady get saying ‘leagua’ and we figured out she was speaking of soccer with a kicking motion.”

Luna – “I was surprised by the butterfly garden. There were a lot of them – hundreds! I thought it was really cool.”

Matteo – “The town didn’t look anything like I thought it would. People worry a lot about security here, I guess. The streets are narrow. They know how to use their space wisely.”

Maya – “I like how in town, nobody is really on their phone that much. When we walked around on Sunday, people were just hanging out and not on their phones.”

Micah – “Locals here are really nice, especially if you approach and try to talk to them in Spanish.”

Natalya – “In Helena, most people are at home on their phones. When we went to the plaza, everyone was socializing – there were a lot of people!”

Reece – “It’s interesting to see a whole bunch of plants and trees – and how everything is green! It’s cool to see all sorts of different fruits growing here, everywhere. We don’t see that in the US.”

Zoe – “Things here are super-colorful; I’ve seen houses that are neon-blue and others that are pink.”

Some of the students headed to the beach this Tuesday morning, while others are lounging at the hotel with a leisurely breakfast before we head for the Panamanian border… stay tuned as the adventure continues for these young people!

 

CRA to Central America 2019 – Here We Go!

We started in Belgrade, Montana the morning of Saturday, March 23. Turns out that there is a direct flight from this airport to Los Angeles, California! Twenty-eight travelers from C.R. Anderson Middle School in Helena, MT are heading to Costa Rica and Panama for a Spring Break International Experience!

Our first question was asked after we got back to the airport in Los Angeles waiting to board the plane to San José, Costa Rica. We arrived in LA early this afternoon. We took the bus to the Santa Monica Pier, where our travelers were able to sample the rides along the Pacific Ocean. The first question and responses follow:

What was the best part of our first day together – in Bozeman, on the plane, or here in the Los Angeles area?

Afton – “I liked the Pier because I got to be with different friends – I guess I liked the roller coaster.”

Aidia – “Bozeman was fun… we all got together, and, we were like, OK, I guess we’re doing this!”

Barret – “Going on the roller coaster and stuff. Losing Gage wasn’t that fun, BUT…”

Brandon – “The Sea Dragon went up and down and made my tummy feel weird.”

Brody – Seeing LA – the different people, a different area.”

Carson – “It was freeing to be with a group of friends and just run around a bit [on the Pier], rather than just being stuck in an airport.”

Clement – “I liked that five of us got to be on our own, being free – we repeated the up and down ride like 20 times – it was awesome!”

Craig – “Probably buying our hats – that was pretty good.”

Dayan – “Going to LA and getting to ride the bumper cars with all my friends!”

Delaney – “The pier was fun. I got to hang out with my friends for the afternoon in a different state.”

Gage – “Riding on the rides at the pier was really fun! I liked the Pacific Plunge – the one that takes you up and drops you.”

Henry – “Just going and hanging out with your friends – having free time.”

Jacob – “The pier. Lots of good food and… lots of people in your surroundings. The rides were fun.”

Jackson – “Watching the seagulls fight over a McDonald’s Bag.”

Luna – “The Tea Cup ride – but they weren’t tea cups, they were Sharks!”

Matteo – “Seeing how different people live in LA, even though it is the same country – it was so busy, and the traffic.”

Maya – “Dip and Dots on the Santa Monica Pier – we were outside and not in the airport!”

Micah – “The Ferris Wheel and the sites at the Pier. I think it is crazy that I’m able to be on this trip.”

Natalya – “I liked the bus ride to the pier because we got to talk, and it was fun!”

Reece – “Um… walking over to the bus stop. Me, Barrett, Gage, Clement, and

Barrett going on rides together!”

Zoe – “Driving to Bozeman with Luna and Maya!”

Mr. Elder has a quick meeting with the travelers after all have cleared TSA and are at the gate. We beat the plane to our gate! Students here were saying their names and one of their favorite movies they’ve ever seen. This looks to be a fun group, for sure!