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2008 Biennial of the International Palm Society – Members Unite in Costa Rica

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 06: Thursday, May 8th

La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Waterfall Trail

Group 2, Buses #3 & #4

- 2:32PM: The way the waterfalls are shaped will change slowly but surely as time goes by. Some of us were wondering what they will look like even a few years from now, as the rock underneath erodes. We followed this section of trail down to where it led to one observation platform after another. The first one we reached allowed this side view of the Encantada & Escondida Waterfalls.

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- 2:33PM: "Smile, just like that... perfect!" Forum member Jayanne Crawley (La Lady) had a small problem with her camera so she had asked if I may take a few extra photos of her during the day. Not a problem in the least.

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- 2:35PM: This was as close as I could get to this wall of water. I couldn't reach it, but the spray emitted from it was very cold, like almost ice cold.

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- I took a closer look towards the crevasse that contained the smaller Escondida Waterfall and I found this Chamaedorea tepejilote growing out into mid-air. I could not determine where the trunk's original starting location was. I half expected to see some distant human-ape relative swing through on a vine in between the cliffs.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 06: Thursday, May 8th

La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Waterfall Trail

Group 2, Buses #3 & #4

- 2:35PM: The small group I was with had dwindled down to only a few attendees by the time I had reached the lowest-most observation point. Everyone else had turned and started the long walk back up to the exit of the trail where the buses were waiting to take us back to the hotel. There was a special event planned for Bus #4. This fact might have sped up some in making their decision to return early up the stairs. This bridge gave those who drove by a good view of the La Paz Waterfall, of which we could only see the top.

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- 2:36PM: It was time to leave the splendid waterfalls behind and continue on to the next chapter the Biennial had in store. Next to the first staircase to climb, was this Pholidostachys pulchra, doing its best to survive and avoid being pruned.

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- A few steps up the stairs yielded another palm to study. I am not sure which species of Chamaedorea this is, but it was growing well in a tight spot. The small crack it was growing out of was limiting the girth of its stem.

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- 2:37PM: This very interesting flower caught my attention as I was walking back up the stairs. It was near one of the observation areas and was putting on quite a show, I just wish I knew what it was. Any ideas?

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 06: Thursday, May 8th

La Paz Waterfall Gardens -> Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel

Group 2, Buses #3 & #4

- 2:38PM: Here is a closer view of that mystery flower above. The plant was herbaceous with a vine-like growing habit. Each stem was green with a 'square-sided' structure and consisted of long, thin segments. The flower is about 2 inches (5cm) tall and was not fragrant. I would settle for a plant family guess.

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- 2:49PM: It wouldn't be a Biennial destination without a gift shop attached. The hike back up the stairs to the exit only took about six minutes. When I entered the shop, I found out that I was again towards the back of the pack. A few attendees were browsing, others were buying, while I took a quick second to look around. I noticed many of my fellow Bus #4 attendees were waiting outside, but not near our familiar bus.

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- 2:51PM: Always the quintessential art enthusiast, FM. Paul Norris (Palmnorris) points out the best feature of this wood carving.

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When we walked outside from the gift shop, we were surprised to find an old fashioned school bus waiting for us. We were being rushed a little bit so I had no chance to get a photo, outside or inside. We got packed on board, three to a seat, shoulder to shoulder, where we had to wait a little while for the CRT Staff to do a final count. After about 15 minutes or so, the bus pulled away from the gift shop and proceeded back up the mountain to the La Paz Waterfall Garden parking lot; where our beloved and air conditioned buses were waiting.

- 3:25PM: Once we saw our Bus #4 again, everyone's mood began to change. Some saw the potential for relaxation, while a few others had certain plans for entertainment. We stowed our gear and got comfortable, we knew this drill well by this day. The bus exited the parking lot and hit the highway in style. We knew we had a short ride home, as the waterfall gardens were a bit closer to the hotel than was the volcano. A few moments into the ride, FM. Jeff Searle stood up and walked to the front of the bus and took the microphone. He introduced himself and pointed out the fact that this was going to be our last ride together as Bus #4. Tomorrow, the last day of the Biennial, was our free day; so everyone had their own plans. He went on to say how great it had been to share the Biennial with everyone on the bus and continued to join everyone together in giving our heart felt thanks to CRT, and their excellent guides.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 06: Thursday, May 8th

La Paz Waterfall Gardens -> [bus #4 Talent Show] -> Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel

Bus #4

- 3:26PM: Overwhelmed with the applause, CRT Guide Jonny reacts warmly to the attention and says "Thank you" to everyone on Bus #4. We had collected tips throughout the day from all the Bus #4 attendees and divided the large pot between Don Juan (the bus driver) and all the CRT Guides who had been working with Group 2 and Bus #4.

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- 3:32PM: Let the humiliation begin. There had been talk all week about doing a talent, or 'no-talent' show aboard Bus #4 to show off everyone's little hidden talent or lack there of. Forum member Paul Norris (Palmnorris) starts the show off by doing his best 'Hooter's Guy' impersonation.

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- He is delivering a cold beer to attendee Jim Glock, who put in his order as soon as he boarded the bus.

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- He made it without losing the can once. It was fun knowing that this was going to be the last activity we would be doing together as Bus #4. With the music playing in the background it was shaping up to be one great time. The fact knowing that the Biennial was soon coming to a close was a bit hard to take for me and a few others.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 06: Thursday, May 8th

La Paz Waterfall Gardens -> [bus #4 Talent Show] -> Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel

Bus #4

- 3:39PM: "Cheers!" FM. Jeff Searle receives his order from the bar at the rear of the bus; a disproportionate amount of vodka and cranberry juice.

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- 3:40PM: On the left, FM. Paul Norris (Palmnorris) returns to his seat after delivering a few drinks to waiting attendees. The party atmosphere was starting to pick up a bit as the music got a little louder while people continued to give song requests. Most people on the bus soon became oblivious to the scenery whipping by outside.

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- 3:42PM: Trick pouring and mixing drinks at high speed are required skills on Bus #4. They also came in handy on the previous Biennial's Green Bus and will more than likely become required on the next Biennial's reincarnation of the bus, which has yet to be named. FM. Kathryn Ostadal (Kathryn) took over for Andrea Searle as bartender as her talent was coming up next.

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- 3:50PM: Andrea's impromptu talent was playing a musical tune by blowing through this sea shell she had recently found. With everyone's eyes on her, she had a little trouble the first time she tried but got better on the second 'blow-through'.

2008-05-08_15-50-33.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 06: Thursday, May 8th

La Paz Waterfall Gardens -> [bus #4 Talent Show] -> Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel

Bus #4

- 3:53PM: While there were still a few limes left uncut, FM. Craig Morgan (el Gato Grande) borrowed a few to juggle. He did a superb job of juggling three of them even with the up and down, left and right motion of the bus. Soon after this photo was taken the limes were sacrificed for the greater good.

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- 3:55PM: Now it is time for Lindsey Sayers and her amazing human pretzel trick. She is seen here getting warmed up for it by doing some careful stretching. At first, we were not sure what she was going to do.

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- With her arms folded, elbows bent and fingers interlocked she slowly pushed her head through her arms while not letting go of her hands. The trick was to have very flexible shoulder joints.

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- She is about halfway there...while FM. Bill Sanford (BS Man about Palms) looks on while wondering if he can do the same thing.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 06: Thursday, May 8th

La Paz Waterfall Gardens -> [bus #4 Talent Show] -> Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel

Bus #4

- 3:56PM: With one last steady move resulting in a satisfactory <pop>, Lindsey moved her arms over her head without separating her hands. An amazing talent indeed. A loud round of applause echoed down the aisle while we sought out where our Forum's own Jack Sayers (elHoagie) was sitting and told him how incredibly lucky he was.

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- 3:59PM: If that talent was not special enough, time had come for one of the more anticipated performances of the rolling show. In an encore of his previous singing debut on the bus, FM. Bill Olson (Bill Olson) takes the microphone and lets loose with some very nice opera. He didn't even need the microphone.

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- 4:00PM: Everyone knew this part of the show was coming so they all got into positions with cameras at the ready. There was a consistent glow on the faces of those who watched, and it wasn't just from the alcohol.

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- Bill sang through a medley of opera titles, some more well known and familiar than others, giving explanations about them as he went. The applause was deafening at the end, and I shall repeat myself in saying if you ever have a chance to hear him sing, please so do.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 06: Thursday, May 8th

La Paz Waterfall Gardens -> [bus #4 Talent Show] -> Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel

Bus #4

- 4:02PM: Attendees were becoming quite relaxed at this point, as there were some good refreshments to be enjoyed along with great company. This all took place during our last ride together on Bus #4 while rolling through the hills of one great country. This is partly the secret to any great Biennial.

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- 4:08PM: Next up in the cavalcade of attendees was FM. and IPS Director Larry Davis (Lefty). He mentioned not having any real talent, unless someone needed help in balancing their checkbook... On that note he closed with a joke, "As what the leper said to the prostitute, keep the tip."

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- 4:10PM: She was a little shy at first, but after a few lines from the song "The Rose", attendee Cindy Andersen turned to face everyone and completed the song flawlessly. She started off by saying she had to sing while facing away. The performance was stellar and everyone else on board agreed. We started to enter the metropolitan area of the valley, so we only had about 30 minutes left in our 'talent show'.

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- 4:11PM: "Kiss me..." <burp>

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 06: Thursday, May 8th

La Paz Waterfall Gardens -> [bus #4 Talent Show] -> Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel

Bus #4

- 4:13PM: "Now we have come to the practical portion of our show." I am quoting the late comedian George Carlin, as he would often use humor to describe and educate people as to how we all try to embarrass ourselves. Attempting to do just that with style is FMs. Robert Wilson (RainForestt Robert) and Jack Sayers (elHoagie). They take up positions at the front of the bus, while Robert takes the microphone and challenges Jack to a "pose-off" type of competition…to see who can strut their stuff the best.

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- 4:16PM: The women on the bus seated near the windows began to quickly shift over to the aisle seats to get the best view and to get into arms reach. They started to dig into purses or ask their significant others for dollar bills for use in ‘determining’ the winner of the competition. First up was Robert. As soon as he moved down the aisle the music got louder...

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- 4:17PM: ...and he didn't too far before the money came flying out of nowhere. The women began to clap in rhythm to the music as he slowly took his shirt off. The first bill came from the right like a bullet, while LeAnn seated next to me, got her dollar bill ready. Any remaining decorum was thrown out the window at this point, which always allows for the best photos to be taken.

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- 4:19PM: Robert continued towards the back while Jack started his routine, with Lindsey cheering him on in the background. A few women got very loud with their cheering, "Whoo hoo!" was heard more than once, as both men continued to undress.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 06: Thursday, May 8th

La Paz Waterfall Gardens -> [bus #4 Talent Show] -> Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel

Bus #4

- 4:19PM: Robert takes a seat real fast to allow Jack to pass, which led him to flex his arms to the joy of the spectators.

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- Jack works his way slowly towards the back while moving to the music. The aisle became packed with eager women with bills in hand and attendees with fully ready cameras. Someone had asked me if I thought this could also be happening on the other buses...I said "probably not".

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- Not happy with just one body to look at; the women, along with Jack, cheer on Robert to get him to his feet. On the left, Andrea Searle and Judy Norris get some bills ready as the two attendees go head-to-head in the "pose-off" competition finals.

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- Robert struts to every position the aisle would allow and gets paid for doing so. For a second, I thought I saw a few Five's going in there. There was one photo I could not post, as it showed a bit much of Robert; as some women were not content enough with just putting money in his shorts...they wanted to see where it was going.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 06: Thursday, May 8th

La Paz Waterfall Gardens -> [bus #4 Talent Show] -> Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel

Bus #4

- 4:20PM: A blurry photo of the tired competitors as they move back to their seats, complete with the knowledge they did Bus #4 proud. It wasn't made clear who won, as Jack (seen here with money still stuffed in his shorts) laughs with Robert about the comments that were still being uttered from the back of the bus. They counted their money, dollars and colones, and I think they came out about even. At the front of the bus in red, Bill Sanford is showing someone that "he can flex to if he wanted to."

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- 4:23PM: Robert had money falling on the ground as he walked. Attendee LeAnn Holmes helps him with his stash. The mood on the bus continued to snow ball into total excitement. People could not help but to keep talking about what they had just seen.

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- 4:26PM: "Paul's got an idea." The Talent Show was coming to an end, as we were just a few minutes away from the hotel. To give Bus #4 a final send off, FM. Paul Norris (Palmnorris) gets up and heads to the front of the bus with a musical performance in mind.

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- He took out his cell phone and selected a real heavy country-western song to sing along to. The phone did a fair job of producing the strange song as the microphone amplified it, along with Paul's sincere rendition. I don't know the name of the song, but it was as sad as could be, yet funny when Paul sang it the way he did.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 06: Thursday, May 8th

La Paz Waterfall Gardens -> [bus #4 Talent Show] -> Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel

Bus #4

- 4:27PM: He was really getting into it. Paul has flair and demonstrates it time and time again throughout the Biennial and I am sure many times back home in Texas.

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- 4:28PM: Our bus made the turn off the highway and followed the short road leading to the hotel entrance. CRT Guide Andres grabs the microphone and thanked all of us for touring and enjoying his home, Costa Rica. He was very appreciative for the tip that we gave him and his co-workers. He went on to add that the departure time for tomorrow morning's ride to Pozo Azul had been pushed back to 7:00AM. This will probably result in a possible delay tomorrow morning, we shall see.

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- 4:40PM: Since it was the end of our last ride aboard Bus #4, we thought it would be nice to clean up after ourselves. Those water bottles and beer cans can't pick themselves up. As we left the bus with arms full, we took an extra moment to thank all the members of CRT who made this such a grand Biennial so far. Like a flock of birds instinctively going south for the winter, the contents of Bus #4 moved in a large wave through the hotel lobby heading for their home away from home.

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Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel

We got back from the waterfall gardens right on time, so we had more than an hour to kill before the last presentation(s) of the Biennial; that was scheduled to start at 6:00PM. We had to wait until after the presentations to eat dinner like usual. This fact continued to stir negative emotions from some of us who were very hungry after a long day.

- 5:54PM: The final presentation of the Biennial was divided into two parts. The first speaker of the evening was Fernando Roca, who was going to give a presentation on palms in Peru titled "Inkaterra's Palms of Reserva Amazonica in Madre de Dios, Peru". A preview of the palms and locales that were going to be seen during the Biennial Post-tour in Peru. This presentation was going to be done completely in Spanish, so a translator had been provided along with radios for everyone who needed one. It was a little fun watching people be on the other side of the translation for once. The radios were basically like headsets, so they were easy to use.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 06: Thursday, May 8th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Presentation

- 6:05PM: With my desire to cover the Biennial in detail, this was going to be ironically my first and only presentation. I did want to see as much of the presentations as I could, but at the same time I wanted to follow where the Biennial would take me. This time, that meant following different 'tangents' where they would lead and they made an already great experience even more unique. IPS Vice President and FM. Leland Lai (Leland Lai) takes the podium and introduces the first of tonight's speakers, Mr. Fernando Roca, as everyone took their seats and studied the title slide of the presentation.

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- 6:13PM: The room erupted with applause as IPS Director, Bus #2 Palm Expert, and Biennial speaker Fernando Roca took the podium. It was a bit awkward at first trying to get used to listening to the translation over the earpiece radio. We would first hear Fernando talk in Spanish over the room's PA system which was loud, then after a short delay, we would get it in English through the radios. The translator was good and fast, but would sometimes skip over the botanical names if they were long. Fernando started off his presentation by introducing himself and explaining the different topics he was going to touch upon during his talk. He began with this slide of a Iriartea deltoidea on the left and a large Mauritia flexuosa on the right, two of the more common palms of Peru.

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- 6:14PM: He went on to describe the different ecological regions of Peru and identified the areas in which the attendees, going on the post-tour, would visit and experience. I brought a tabletop tripod with me so I could capture the slides the best I could, without too much blur.

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- 6:20PM: He went through the slides at a quick pace so I could not capture all of them. I managed to get the key slides where he spoke the most about, including this one showing the different national parks of Peru.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 06: Thursday, May 8th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Presentation

- 6:25PM: About midway through his presentation, he started to go into detail about what species and what regions of Peru would be seen during the actual post-tour. He showed a few slides featuring images of the resort where attendees will be staying.

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- 6:26PM: Part of the route to the resort included a long boat ride across a lake, bordered with heavy concentrations of Mauritia flexuosa and also an unknown species of Syagrus. I didn't catch many details about the unknown species, as it was getting harder to keep up.

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- 6:28PM: Here were photos of the unknown Syagrus species growing along the lake, not far from the resorts location.

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- 6:30PM: This slide showed one of the Attalea species found near the resort, that represented the genus in the region.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 06: Thursday, May 8th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Presentation

- 6:32PM: The incredible way Fernando was describing the post-tour was starting to make me feel sorry for missing it. This scene with the giant Mauritia flexuosa on the left seen from the walkway on the right was astounding. He mentioned many other species would also be seen near the walkway.

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- 6:34PM: He closed his presentation with this slide, of which he added he didn't have a typical scene of a sunset so he used this shot. I liked it myself. The description of what the post-tour would be including was amazing and I am sure those who went would agree. Fernando thanked everyone for listening to him describe his view of the palm affliction we all share. He added to the conclusive phrase on the slide, by saying how important it is for there to be a "sample" of Peruvian palms for people to visit. When translated online it reads:

"By all this, amazonian reserve Inkaterra and Ita-Inkaterra have decided to create a palmetum to have a sample book of the majority of the palms that grow in the low forest of the Peruvian Amazonia."

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- 6:36PM: It was a short, but very well spoken presentation even when listened to in delay. We were all looking about the room when the lights came on to see who moved, left or fell asleep. Luckily, little of the latter was found, as the show was intriguing, but hunger will keep people awake. The applause continued as Fernando left the podium with the microphone to answer follow-up questions. The second set of speakers quickly got into position to change slide shows. When the room lit up again, I noticed some of the desserts on the table were missing.

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- 6:38PM: The second half of tonight's presentation would be devoted to the genus Phoenix. Two of Spain's experts on the genus, Dr. Tómas Font and Dr. Antonio (Tono) Gómez will each be doing their own presentation on Date Palm species, their botanical subgroups and their relationship to each other.

2008-05-08_18-38-23.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 06: Thursday, May 8th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Presentation

- 6:39PM: Dr. Antonio (Tono) Gómez was first to give his part of the presentation. He opened with a familiar photo taken during the 2006 Biennial in the Dominican Republic. He paraphrased the quote on the slide by saying how great it is for all of us to be together again in one location.

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- 6:41PM: The presentation continued with his taxonomic description of how Phoenix sp. differ from other palms. The first detail was the "V" shaped, or induplicate leaflets that are found on all Phoenix species.

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- 6:43PM: The genus has a very wide range, as seen on this slide.

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- 6:46PM: Tono described a short list of Phoenix species that have some of the largest diameter trunks found in the palm family.

2008-05-08_18-46-48.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 06: Thursday, May 8th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Presentation

- 6:55PM: The emphasis of his presentation switched over to the huge affinity people have for date palms. The image that date palms instill in most people is that of warm, tropical places and are second to only the coconut palm when it comes to world wide popularity. He continued this thread by lightly touching on each of the species, with his co-speaker Dr. Tómas Font mentioning different aspects of where in the world they have become so popular.

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- 6:56PM: In front of one very popular place, The Taj Mahal in India, a huge specimen of a large clustering date palm has been growing for a very long time. He pointed out that date palms have been used for landscaping for hundreds of years, throughout their native ranges.

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- 6:58PM: Few palms have had a bigger impact on the landscape as much as the Pigmy Date Palm, Phoenix roebelenii, has. It is still one of the most widely grown palms in cultivation.

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- 7:01PM: This slide shows a Phoenix sylvestris pictured in an old photograph from the late 19th Century.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 06: Thursday, May 8th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Presentation

- 7:05PM: With the last slide from his part of the presentation, Tono properly introduced his friend and co-speaker Dr. Tómas Font, with a little bit of tongue-in-cheek humor. Tómas waved to everyone and thanked his friend for the wonderful introduction.

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- Tómas left his friend Tono to work the slide show on the right, and took the podium stationed to the left of the screen, out of frame. With his first slide, he returned the favor and showed a rather unseen side to his palm crazy friend. The translator was laughing along with all of us as they exchanged jokes and comments back and forth.

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- 7:06PM: This section of the presentation focused on the grouping of Phoenix species based on their botanical relationships. Tómas showed again basically the same photo slides used by Tono earlier in the evening, mixed with these lists that he had composed.

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- 7:20PM: He went through the remainder of his section rather quickly, stopping only briefly to address some of the new relationships he had recently put into theory. He ended his section, and the second presentation of the evening, with this slide showing a possibly new species or cultivar of date palm with brilliant red fruit. It caused a wave of "Ooh's" and "Ahh's" to bellow from the crowd. It was a show stopper for certain and some at my table wondered how long until specimens showed up for sale. We followed our awe with loud applause for both speakers for their great description of the genus.

2008-05-08_19-20-22.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 06: Thursday, May 8th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel

- 7:31PM: "I think I can smell dinner time comin'..." Attendees started to eyeball the sides of the room where the serving trays and servers began to accumulate. All of the evenings' speakers spent a few extra minutes answering additional questions while people started to squirm in their seats waiting for the 'dinner bell' to ring. Leland Lai took the podium one more time to thank the speakers and to tell everyone dinner is served... I survived almost getting trampled and since everyone ran like banshees to both buffet lines, I figured I would take advantage of being near the end of the line to take photos of them in action. :lol:

On the left side of the room, half of the attendees get in line for some really good food while people return their radio headsets.

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- 7:32PM: The scene was the same on the other side of the ballroom. I took the time to figure out which dessert I was going to try first.

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- 7:33PM: Don't fill up on salads and bread, the entrees are worth a few extra trips to get more servings.

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- On the right, IPS Director, Bus #4 Palm Expert, and FM. Larry Noblick (Noblick) gets helped to a good sized portion of one of the aforementioned entrees. I wasn't sure where the line began or ended, it was one continuous blob of hungry attendees.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 06: Thursday, May 8th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel

- 7:34PM: Time to pack on the pounds. The food selection had everyone looking for larger plates. In the center of the photo, FM. Bill Sanford (BS Man about Palms) eyes the next entree choice while FM. and IPS President Bo-Göran Lundkvist (bgl) runs out of room on his plate.

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- 7:35PM: When we were on our way back to the hotel on Bus #4, we got a great surprise gift from attendee and FM. Jerry Behan (Jerry@TreeZoo). He took out a large pack full of t-shirts from the Deerfield Beach Arboretum a.k.a. 'The Tree Zoo' in Florida and gave one to everyone on the bus, including Lindsey & FM. Jack Sayers (elHoagie).

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- 7:36PM: "Yum." I am glad the desserts were rich and filling, or I would have eaten way too much.

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- 7:37PM: I was thinking of what or who I had not photographed yet, and table shots came to mind. I walked around the room looking for those who had finished eating and also for those who suggested taking the shots. Bus #2 attendee Shirley Lai and our own Forum member and pose-off competitor, Robert Wilson (Rainforestt Robert) were the first to pose for a photo.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 06: Thursday, May 8th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel

- 7:39PM: Caffeine is good. I know I took my fair share of coke products during the Biennial but Bill is more happy about it. His Palm Mountain Nursery t-shirt is the right color to show off with the coke bottle.

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- 7:42PM: "I'll take that, some of this and a little of that..." IPS Director and FM. Jeanne Price (jeanne374) samples the different entrees a second before her husband and Australian legendary collector John Price joins her in doing the same.

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- 8:15PM: Biennial speaker Fernando Roca says hello to FM. and post-tour attendee Jeff Searle as he made his way about the room talking to those who were going to Peru after the Biennial concluded.

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- 8:17PM: What a motley crew we have here. The dinner was winding down as more and more attendees were departing from the ballroom for places elsewhere. Those of us who were going to Pozo Azul in the morning had to get up earlier than any other day of the Biennial so far. With this in mind, those who were going were cutting the evening short and avoiding the hot tub completely.

2008-05-08_20-17-22.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 06: Thursday, May 8th: Conclusion

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel

Six long enjoyable days down, with only one more to go. Since the end of the weekend, the days became longer and more spectacular as strangers became friends while we took in some of the best flora Costa Rica had to offer. I witnessed the transformation of attendees, as some became more relaxed while others opened up completely. This was a great effect the Biennial has on people. This day was the longest for Bus #4, even though it contained the shortest bus ride. It held the greatest concentration of joy for attendees, both off and on the bus. It was also nearly perfect weather wise, and there was only a single flaw during the entire day, one cloud covered volcano that refused to clear for us.

- 8:31PM: The end of the evening was not devoid of entertainment. In recreating his talent from Bus #4's Talent Show, Forum member Jon Kenaghan (Bilbo) lights a match and repeatedly moves it back and forth from inside his mouth and then out again. He finishes off his performance by extinguishing the match by closing his mouth around it and blowing out the smoke. I wasn't able to capture his talent the first time on the bus as I could not get a good view. Either way, we were glad he didn’t mix the talent with alcohol.

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- 8:51PM: There was no shortage of conversation topics during and after dinner. The Biennial allowed Forum members from across the world to meet for the first time and most enjoyed not having to type to convey their favorite palms, plants, countries, trips etc. with each other.

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- 8:54PM: This shot was in the making as soon as I saw everyone talking together at the edge of the ballroom. It took only a few seconds to get the pose, as people were in the photographic mood. From left to right: Bus #4 attendee & FM. Jack Sayers (elHoagie), Bus #4 Cyrtostachys seed king Paul Richnow, Bus #1 attendee, IPS Director and FM. Ray Hernandez (Ray Tampa) and his wife Miriam, Bus #4 attendees and FMs. Jeff Searle and Bill Sanford (BS Man about Palms), Bus #1 attendees and FMs. Cari & Robert Savinetti (BobbyinNY), and Bus #4 familiar Jerry Behan (Jerry@TreeZoo). It would have been nice to get all the Forum members on one bus, but that would have been impossible. Certain members that were IPS Directors were assigned to different buses. Since attendees had varied plans for tomorrow, tonight was going to be the last time we saw everyone together until the farewell dinner tomorrow night. We had no idea who was going to Pozo Azul with those of us from Bus #4, but we figured we had a nice group going.

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- 8:55PM: Bill Sanford, The original Ranch Hand Recruiter, is always hard at work looking for new workers. In the last photo of the day, He gleams as he gets in close with potential recruits Miriam Hernandez and Cari Savinetti.

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...The scheduled part of the Biennial is over, but the fun is sure not. Tomorrow, a portion of attendees head to the far interior of Costa Rica to take part in various adventures at Pozo Azul...

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th: Introduction

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel -> Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

What a morning. With the earliest departure time of the week, we had little time to get ready or even eat breakfast. For some who got a little queasy later in the morning, this might have been a good thing. Last thing you want to photograph, is an attendee losing their breakfast on horseback or flying down a zip-line. Or do you? The bus for Pozo Azul was waiting outside the hotel and as soon as the clock rang 7:00 AM, we were off. The selection of attendees on board came from both groups and all buses. The platoon of attendees from Bus #4 settled in our usual spot in the middle of the bus; with mixed reactions from the others who had heard of our traveling exploits. "Oh, its people from that bus." Being proud of our reputation, we decided to give those on the bus a taste of what it was like to be on Bus #4, with a few exceptions.

- 7:35PM: The bus was eerily quiet as we left the hotel. I guess it was from being used to Bus #4's more spirited nature. Looking around on board, I saw a few unfamiliar faces plus a few who decided to take a nap as this ride was going to be a long one. Our journey took us north through the central valley and smack dab into some heavy morning traffic. After thirty minutes into the trip, we were still not far from the hotel. We were stuck at this intersection waiting to for all these buses to get out of our way, as we needed to make a right turn.

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- 8:15PM: We cleared the traffic jam and left the central valley behind us when we were notified the bus would be stopping. At ten minutes after eight, we pulled over in front of gas station to wait for a CRT vehicle to catch up to us. Apparently, a pair of attendees missed the departure time, but it was not their fault. As those of us from Bus #4 were not new to delays, we knew to find ways to amuse ourselves. FM. Linda Talbott (Linda Apriletti) became inspired with Lindsey Sayers' talent from the day before and managed to duplicate the feat.

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- 8:21PM: When the CRT vehicle arrived we saw that the attendees missing in action were FMods. Dean Ouer (Dypsisdean) and Angela Blakely (putu enjula). It was not their fault they had missed the bus, as CRT had moved back the departure time and they were not on the bus yesterday when the announcement was made. This fact didn't protect them from some classic jeering though, as FM. Jeff Searle exchanged words with Dean as he walked past. I think I saw a few items fly in their direction as people jokingly directed them "to the back of the bus".

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- 8:23PM: As the delay was not their fault, CRT didn't charge to drive them to the bus. This was another great example of how nice the staff was to all of us crazy attendees.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel -> Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 8:57AM: The trip up into the mountains was familiar, as it was the same route we took to get to Braulio Carrillo National Park a few days earlier. We crossed over the Sucio River one more time. We drove past the entrance to the Rain Forest Aerial Tram, and at that point we were about two-thirds the way to Pozo Azul.

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- 9:06AM: The clouds started to gather and we figured our 'good weather' luck was running out for the week.

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- 9:08AM: Our destination was right along the Sarapiqui River, so when we saw signs pointing in that direction we figured we were getting closer. We had been on the bus for almost two hours at this point.

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- 9:46AM: The eastern slopes of the Central Mountain range slowly started to turn more agricultural the further we descended. We came across large fields containing African Oil Palms, Elaeis guineensis.

2008-05-09_09-46-44.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel -> Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 9:50AM: "Psst... Wake up we're there." The bus slowed down and everyone returned to their original upright position as we entered the Pozo Azul parking lot. A few sleeping attendees rubbed their eyes and removed the headphones buried deep in their ears and began to look around. Stretching in our seats became contagious.

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- 10:00AM: We were guided to the Pozo Azul front office where we were prompted to start signing our lives away in good faith. Forum member Jayanne Crawley (La Lady), FM. Linda Talbott (Linda Apriletti) and Bus #2 attendee Shirley Lai take their time to sign their names. Nothing says "It's not our fault" like a liability waiver. We also had to fill out an interesting form that determined if we were both physically and mentally capable of partaking in the adventures. Check Any That Apply: "I feel emotionally unstable.", "I abuse drugs and/or alcohol.", "I suffer from a weak heart."... etc. I wonder if they knew what group was coming as it became hilarious to read the 'safety' descriptions out loud. Supposedly, if you checked any of the above you should not ride a horse or go down a zip-line. I know for a fact that certain attendees would not attempt such feats without the assistance of such drugs and/or alcohol.

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- 10:01AM: We were divided into groups based on which combination of adventures we were going to do. It was almost a 50/50 split between Combo 1, horseback riding and zip-line, and Combo 2, zip-line and white water rafting. I was doing Combo 1, whose group had a few minutes to relax before we were led to the stables. I walked around the reception complex and found a few Heliconias of interest, including Heliconia orthotricha cv. 'Edge of Nite'...

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- 10:02AM: ... and a Heliconia wagneriana with light coloration.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Horseback Riding

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 10:03AM: The excellent staff at Pozo Azul guided everyone to their appropriate staging area after all the waivers were signed and the questions were answered. Those of us involved in Combo 1 were directed next door of the reception center, where we waited to be taken to the stables.

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- 10:07AM: Our trail guide for the horseback riding led us to the stables where we were all instructed to put on these fashionable helmets. We walked past the corral where the horses had already been saddled and prepped for our arrival.

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- On the left, our guide introduced himself and told everyone that we had a great day ahead of us. He described the trail as being easy, with a few inclines and rough texture. Nothing the horses couldn't handle, but for us, the helmets would be a wise precaution. Standing next to the guide, FM. Bill Sanford (BS Man about Palms) tries to put on his helmet over his Biennial hat.

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- 10:09AM: When everyone looked sporty and happy wearing their brightly colored helmets, we walked back to the corral where the guide began to instruct everyone on the basics of riding a horse.

2008-05-09_10-09-44.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Horseback Riding

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 10:10AM: Our guide was very good at giving instruction. He started by asking how many of us had horseback riding experience and we responded with a smattering of raised hands. Personally, I had not been on a horse since I was in grade school during a trip to Disney World. The experience was unique and I will leave it at that for now. Nevertheless, I was looking forward to riding a horse today and so were many others.

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- The guide selected his favorite horse for use during his demonstration. He described on how to sit upright in the saddle and to keep both feet in the stirrups at all times. He continued on, showing how to guide the horse while using the reins and also, most importantly, on how to use them to stop. The basic 'control' motions leading to forward, back and turn were described in detail. The horses for us today were divided into two groups. Those on one side of the corral were younger, more spirited horses and the others were older and slower. The guide asked us to decide which kind of horse we would want to ride, but first he asked the crowd who would want to take out his favorite 'darling'. She is very young and full of energy and should be ridden by someone who is an experienced rider. I will let you insert your own joke here.

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- 10:14AM: With a tiny bit of prodding, FM. Jeff Searle accepted and mounted the guide's favorite horse. Immediately, Jeff could sense that she was a 'powder keg' of energy, that she wanted to get out and run as soon as possible. After we all watched him do it, we all split up and chose a horse to ride ourselves. I picked the one closest to me named 'Macho', and after putting my camera away for a minute, I got into the saddle.

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- 10:18AM: I dug out my camera as soon as I was comfortable and began to capture the spectacle of attendees climbing onto horseback. As soon as I got my camera out, Andrea Searle had mounted her steed.

2008-05-09_10-18-39.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Horseback Riding

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 10:18AM: With my new heightened position, I was able to take some great photos of not just attendees on horseback but of the surrounding landscape as well. Mounting the horse that was next to mine was Bus #3 attendee Cathy Burger. This free day allowed us some extra time to spend with friends that were otherwise on other buses.

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- "Hmm, do I want a fast horse or a slow one?" We were not in any hurry. The guides that were helping us choose a horse were very polite and didn't rush us at all. In the center, wearing the yellow helmet, Bus #4 notable Paul Richnow looks over the selection carefully as he knows horses very well. He used to do competitive show jumping when he was in college, and continues to ride now and then.

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- 10:19AM: Jeff gives the official 'moose knuckle' hand gesture of Bus #4 while we waited for the others. Do not ask me to explain it.

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- Next on top of a horse was Bus #3 attendee, Lew Burger. He flew up on top pretty quickly.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Horseback Riding

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 10:22AM: Always full of smiles was fellow Bus #4 attendee and contortionist Lindsey Sayers.

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- 10:23AM: And they're off... The gates to the corral were open and like clockwork the horses knew exactly which direction to go. All you needed to do was to give minor steering changes and speed corrections. The entire route was going to take about two hours. Everyone got used to their companion animal and settled in and began to relax. You can see a tiny part of my horse Macho's head in the bottom of the photo.

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- 10:25AM: We followed the guides as they led us through the reception center parking lot and then down the road to this bridge. We hoped for no heavy traffic.

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- While keeping at least one hand on the reins, I wasn't able to fully aim my camera. Instead I would aim it and shoot with one hand, essentially free handing it. This shot of Cathy was done in this way, and I was entirely surprised at the result. All I did was point the camera at her to my left while holding it out in front of me.

2008-05-09_10-25-46.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Horseback Riding

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 10:25AM: This bridge took us over the Sarapiquí River, that runs the entire length of the Hacienda and divides it in half in some places.

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- 10:26AM: The white water rafting adventures take place along certain sections of the river, based on difficulty or 'class'. The last and longest part of the canopy zip-line crosses the river not far from the bridge.

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- 10:27AM: The first major section of the horseback riding trail involved following the road as it led up and around the hill. It started as soon as we finished crossing the bridge.

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- 10:29AM: The climb was not too bad, as the angle was not too severe. We could all hear and feel our horses struggle a little bit though.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Horseback Riding

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 10:29AM: As we rounded the curve in the road the line of horses were stretched out into a long, thin line. The fast horses began to get ahead of the slower ones. Bus #4 attendee and FM. Jack Sayers (elHoagie) mentioned he was having a sub par time while on horseback, but he was doing as good as anyone else. This was another free hand shot, I put the camera under my left arm and shot it while aiming backwards without looking.

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- 10:31AM: The paved road continued on, while we made a left turn and followed this dirt road.

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- 10:32AM: We got a quick reminder that this road was used by other people as this truck came rolling down from behind. Guess who moved over more, us or the truck.

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- 10:33AM: The trail left the dirt road and entered the second section consisting of a large field bordered on one side by a thick forest. The trail would eventually come back this way and exit the forest not far from here.

2008-05-09_10-33-23.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Horseback Riding

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 10:33AM: The threat of a downpour was always evident since we got off the bus, but we were too tied up in the moment to worry about it raining. When we entered the field and started to move away from the road, the mood changed. The mixture of the breeze rolling over the grass combined with the clopping sounds of the horseshoes hitting the ground, made for one really cool experience; as time seemed to slow down.

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- 10:34AM: The horses were very well used to the trail, as they simply followed the next horse in front of them. At times it was fun to speed up my horse Macho and catch up to different attendees to take their photo. We figured out easily that the trail led up to the tree line far ahead, and that is where we would be entering the forest. This was going to be the hard part, as we were told.

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- 10:36AM: The sense of direction was so strong in the horses, that when I tried to stop Macho to turn and take a photo, he would jerk back and say "No way". I managed to continue my luck with freehand shots as I took this one of FMs. Geri Prall (SW_FL_Palms) and Jack Sayers (elHoagie). With the constant up and down motion and the cloud cover, I wasn't able to get as sharp photos as I wanted.

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- "Smile Lindsey!"

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Horseback Riding

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 10:37AM: I had to tell Bus #4 attendee Paul Richnow to lookout as our horses were about to collide. He felt it more important to smile for the photo, than to keep an eye on where he was going.

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- I got the thumbs up from FM. Craig Morgan (el Gato Grande) as he began to pass me and a few others of the 'rear guard'. The once solid line of horses were now separated groups.

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- 10:39AM: While I said earlier that the horses seemed to follow in line, there were exceptions. For some reason, the horse belonging to IPS Director and FM. Grant Stephenson (palm a grant it) decided to go off on its own to wade through the grass.

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- 10:41AM: The forest was inviting, as it presented a different set of challenges to navigate a horse through.

2008-05-09_10-41-02.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Horseback Riding

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 10:41AM: The first section of the forest we entered contained fairly level grade. No big rocks or slippery stones to avoid, that part would come later.

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- 10:43AM: Even though your on horseback, your plant radar is always working. Attendees began to point out bromeliads, a few palms in the distance and even cycads. We would see a Zamia sp. near the edge of the trail every now and then. Our guide worked his way back through the groups to check on how everyone was doing. He mentioned we were way ahead of schedule so we should be done before noon.

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- 10:47AM: We exited the forest and entered a small pasture bordered by campgrounds and hiking paths. This is where we would have the option to ride to a full gallop. The various groups and stragglers were guided to a rest stop towards the left near the next upcoming tree line.

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- 10:48AM: Jeff had to keep the reins tight on his horse, as any sudden movement or nudge would cause her to bolt into a run. She was waiting patiently for the galloping opportunity to come in a few minutes.

2008-05-09_10-48-14.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Horseback Riding

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 10:48AM: The rest stop gave everyone a chance to gather together and talk about how their day on horseback was going. For many, this was their first time ever riding a horse so they had a great deal to talk about. In a few moments, the guide will be directing us out into the pasture, giving us the option to give our horses a good workout.

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- Picture time was all the time... for many and definitely for me. Bus #4 attendee Lindsey Sayers snaps a photo of FMs. Jeff Searle and IPS Director Kathryn Ostadal (Kathryn) while they maneuver their horses around the edge of the group. The Hacienda Pozo Azul had many different activities in addition to the ones we were doing today. In the distance you can see one of their campgrounds they use for camping and hiking adventures.

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- 10:49AM: Time had come to decide whether or not we were going to do the run. We all looked at each other and discussed the pros and cons of going full speed on a horse. Those who were going to do it, began to separate from the group and positioned their horses out into the pasture. I would estimate about a third of the attendees, about ten total, did the run with myself included. When we got into position, the guide told us to give a good forward nudge to our horses and they would know to get up into a full gallop very quickly. With zero chance to photograph anything during the run, my camera got put away and secured while I double-checked my stance on my horse Macho.

With a few others leading, we pointed our horses down the pasture and 'hit the gas' sort of speak. Within an instant, the horses sprinted to full speed. It was truly exhilarating for someone who rarely ever rides horses. The speed was incredible, with the wind moving past and the motion of the horses striving forward with each and every stride. It felt like I was in a movie, some sort of documentary-type western about Biennial attendees riding to defend palms against poaching, or something like that. After a few, very fast moments we came to a stop at one point in the pasture. We had ran about 100 meters or so, over sloping terrain and everyone's adrenaline was flowing like Niagara Falls. "Let's do that again!" We took maybe 30 seconds of rest before we turned back and ran the same path back to the group. One or two attendees were having a little difficultly during the run but they were all having a blast. One in particular almost fell off. It was a singular great experience, and I am glad I decided to do it. When we got back, we tried to talk others into doing it. Those with younger horses went back and ran another loop or two. Some decided just to sprint back and forth around the rest stop.

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- 10:54AM: 'Wild Bill' Sanford, seen here moments before the county marshals caught up to him. After they arrested him, they asked why'd he do it. He said "The ranch hands made me do it..."

2008-05-09_10-54-49.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Horseback Riding

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 10:54AM: Those of us who had done the run were on overload. We were so hyped up from the excitement that some attendees kept riding in circles or doing short runs of their own. Being not the smallest attendee on one of the more older horses, my friend Macho took this time to do some greatly needed resting. My camera came back out naturally, and I used the time well to get some mounted attendee portraits. Kathryn and Geri just happened to be in a perfect spot in front of me. I got used to turning Macho with one hand and shooting with the other.

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- 10:55AM: Lindsey took off on her horse and performed a few figure eights.

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- I didn't hear a single comment or complaint about the equine excursion all morning, so I came to the conclusion that everyone was having a great time. There were some that seemed a little less enthusiastic about the whole idea, but to each their own. A few attendees were content to wait in one spot and not move their horse at all until we moved on down the trail again; while others enjoyed watching those who could ride fairly well doing maneuvers.

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- 10:56AM: Speaking of those who could ride well, Bus #4 attendee Paul Richnow took his horse for a spin. He made that horse prance and dance all over the place.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Horseback Riding

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 11:01AM: The guide captured all of our attention with a loud whistle and told everyone it was time to move on down the trail. We reformed the line and re-entered the second part of the forest after a few open sections.

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- 11:04AM: The trail came back around and began to follow the edge of the Sarapiquí River which would eventually lead us back to the bridge and to the reception center. The river was very wide at some points and very dangerous, as the rapids were loud and looked as if they would crush anything coming down the river. The trail took on an abrupt change a few meters after this photo. It left the side of the river and proceeded to quickly gain altitude with a series of very steep climbs. It was hard to photograph as I had to literally lay forward on my horse's neck as he scrambled up a set of 45º inclines. The trail mostly consisted of moss-covered, smooth river rocks mixed with mud, so the horses were constantly losing their footing. They would put a hoof down, only to have it slide off a rock, sometimes kicking a loose one down the hill at someone behind them. This was wild at the best of times, but we all got through it.

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- 11:17AM: The trail slowly made its way through a dark part of the forest, where it was getting more and more difficult to expose photos well. This went on for a while, when we noticed the line was stretched out and other attendees were out of sight.

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- 11:27AM: A short time later, we emerged from the forest again not far from the dirt road. Those of us who were near the front of the group slowed down a little to let the others catch up. I kept trying to turn Macho to take photos of attendees coming towards me, but he wouldn't have anything to do with that. He knew the trail was almost over and that his reward would be there waiting for him.

2008-05-09_11-27-00.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Horseback Riding

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 11:29AM: The stragglers that we were waiting for quickly caught up so the bulk of us moved on towards the dirt road. We had to share the road with traffic again as we made our way towards the bridge.

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- 11:35AM: The river had changed in size and speed since our first crossing of the bridge. It must have been raining up river at some point. As we were going across, we noticed a family having a picnic along the far side and people swimming in the river.

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- 11:39AM: With a short sprint through the reception center parking lot we arrived back at the corral. Some were relieved that the riding was over, but most were happy for the time they had spent on horseback today. I enjoyed the trip and was glad I was 'volunteered' for it. We were welcomed back by our guide and other personnel on hand to help us dismount in the corral. We each took turns climbing out of the saddle and checked to see if our legs were still functioning normally. The gates were opened and the horses were let loose to run, not walk, back to the stable; but not before every person was on foot again. We were told to stand clear out of their way, as they knew where to go and how to get there in a hurry.

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- 11:40AM: Each horse knows which stall is theirs so they fall in order automatically. As soon as they got back, they began to chomp away on their lunch.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 11:41AM: Before leaving and heading back to the reception center, we had a look at next year's reinforcements. This young foal was active and moving about the stall with gusto, and we seemed to have interrupted its time rolling around in the dirt.

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- 11:51AM: Since our horseback riding tour went faster than normal, we had some extra time to relax around the reception center before our zip-line canopy adventure. My group raided the gift shop and the bus for some refreshment, then moved on over to the zip-line area to watch the first batch of attendees fly over the river.

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- 12:03PM: It was amazing how many activities were packed into this one piece of land. This map in the office showed all the paths, trails and locations of each adventure. The horseback riding trail is that red line towards the left and the canopy zip-lines are those white, grouped lines on the right side.

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- 12:08PM: I walked over to the landing area of the last zip-line, to find the majority of my group waiting around watching the other attendees finishing the first half of Combo 2. One of the first to come down was Bus #2 attendee Shirley Lai, and she had some serious speed.

2008-05-09_12-08-13.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 12:08PM: "Holy crap, is that what we are going to do?" Shirley landed with a sudden stop as her harness hit the braking mechanism at the end of the cable. The staff members were ready and caught her, then lifted her up into the air to free her harness from the cable connection. Everyone in my group reacted with shock and surprise to the landing they had just witnessed. Some began to have second thoughts...

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- 12:10PM: Before anyone could comment further, the next attendee in line was already on his way down.

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- IPS Vice President and FM. Leland Lai (Leland Lai) had a slower landing than his wife had, a few moments earlier. He shared the same enthusiasm though. His facial expression spoke more for him than any words could have.

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- This cable run was the grand finale of a series of 12 cables spread out throughout the Hacienda. A heavy forested area to the north was the setting for the shorter runs, but they were not any less exciting, not by a long shot. This one, that stretched over the Sarapiquí River, measured over 900 feet (274m) in length. Like clockwork, the next contestant was on their way down.

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Ryan

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