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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 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 12:18PM: The constant flow of high-speed landings were stirring a full range of reactions and emotions from my group and it was sure fun to watch. Some people were nervous, but acted excited, while others were excited but were quiet. I was looking over the gear everyone had to wear and was deciding if I would be able to take photos or not during the canopy tour. The attendees taking part in Combo 2 had done the zip-line first as their second adventure of the day was white water rafting and they would not enjoy being wet while partaking in the former. I saw quite a few people carrying a camera with them as they rode the cable, so I chose to take mine in its bag.

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- 12:19PM: As soon as the staff was finished with the first group, they would be taking us on our tree tops thrill ride. This one guide seemed to enjoy being the center of attention.

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- 12:20PM: FM. and Bus #4 talent champion Bill Olson (Bill Olson) came next down the line, screaming and cheering all the way down. Park guests were told that they didn't have to hold on with their breaking hand on the last cable as the braking mechanism at the end did all the work. Some let go and went as fast as possible, while others controlled their speed with a steady hand. If they didn't use it to slow down they were using their back hand to steer.

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- Bill had a grin from ear to ear, and he couldn't wait to describe the trip to those of us who hadn't experienced it yet.

2008-05-09_12-20-46.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

- 12:21PM: When FM. Linda Talbott (Linda Apriletti) got closer to the end of the run, we all yelled out her name, "Go, Linda!".

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- 12:22PM: No one came down the final run like how Jim did. FM. and Biennial Veteran Jim Glock (jglock1) came down on fire, yelling loud enough for all of us to hear. He made some big spins and turns while letting go completely of the cable.

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- With his emotion and spirit, I knew it was him coming even when he was out of visual range.

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- 12:23PM: "Way to go Judy!"

2008-05-09_12-23-26.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

- 12:23PM: Bus #4 attendee Judy Glock was next in line behind her husband Jim. She is a mere half-second away from hitting the brake and she was having a great time. I do not think there is an adventure that Jim and Judy would not do.

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- 12:24PM: Slowly and perfectly steered, Bus #4 attendee Ron Gates took his time coming down, having a careful run. He was one of the few however to use that time wisely to look around and enjoy the view.

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- Jim was practically jumping up and down when he landed, and he didn't need help getting off the cable or taking the harness off. As soon as he dropped off his gear, he came over to share his excitement with everyone. He was almost speechless, and for Jim, that's a rare thing. I had never seen him so enthralled.

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- "Who is that with the bright shorts?" Already dressed for his next adventure, Bus #4 attendee and FM. Paul Norris (Palmnorris) cabled down wearing his rafting apparel and while filming video.

2008-05-09_12-24-36.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

- 12:24PM: The expression on Paul's face was priceless. It was a cross between joy and terror. He managed to hold the camcorder perfectly while streaming through the air at top speed.

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- 12:25PM: Bus #4 attendee LeAnn Holmes was seeming to have a great time as she flew through the air...

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- ...but her facial expression changed dramatically as she caught a glimpse of the sudden end in the cable.

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- 12:27PM: "Here come's Angela!" Forum moderator Angela Blakely (putu enjula) came down next. It was getting near the end of the first group's procession. They were hanging their gear up next door and began to assemble for their ride to the river rapids.

2008-05-09_12-27-29.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

- 12:27PM: Angela seemed very content about the whole trip down, not seeming overly thrilled by it, as if she does things like this all the time. She did smile when her feet hit the ground then she turned to see who was rapidly coming down next.

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- In the wild, Moderators fly in pairs. The last person of the first group to come down was Forum Moderator Dean Ouer (Dypsisdean). He was moving in a hurry too, the staff had to quickly get Angela off the line and reset the brake with a split second to spare.

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- 12:28PM: He too, looked a little less excited about the zip-line, but I figured he had other things on his mind, such as wondering what was happening to the Forum in his absence. I was a little shocked to see his camera hanging out like that. As soon as he hit the brake, it flung forward and could have easily have hit something. A few minutes later, the first group of those doing Combo 2 had disappeared in the direction of the rapids while we began to consider our zip-line tour.

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- 12:40PM: Now it was our turn. Next door to the 'runway', the supply shed for the canopy tour began to outfit all of us with gear. It went fairly quickly, but we had to wait for our transportation to arrive to take us into the forest to the north. As we were waiting, we discussed any riding order we might have for the zip-line.

2008-05-09_12-40-38.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Canopy Zip-Line

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 1:15PM: Our timely wait for transportation extended into double digits, but everyone was too 'wrapped' up into their equipment to notice. Some of us took the time to explore a nearby patch of woods to look for palms, cycads or whatever we might find. At a few minutes past one o'clock, our ride to the canopy adventure arrived. It was essentially a large tractor pulling a covered trailer full of seats. We left the reception center and headed north-east along a dirt road where we got a scenic view of the hacienda.

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- We made a quick left turn and headed uphill towards the first zip-line platform. Since we were only doing nine zip-line cables out of twelve, we started our tour about a third of the way through the course. After we arrived and dismounted the trailer, we took a short walk to the first platform where the guides began to instruct us as to the workings of the zip-line. We were given the basics of where to put our hands, how to lift off from the ground, how to steer and brake, etc. During this time, it was decided by others that I should be the first to go, for two reasons; to be able to photograph everyone who came after and to test the line.

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- 1:27PM: <zzzzrrrrrrr...> Seconds after stopping onto solid ground, I threw my gloves down, took out my camera and started shooting as fast as possible, capturing Lindsey Sayers coming down a few seconds after I did. This procedure would be the same throughout the afternoon. This point in the canopy tour was the end of the three-cable stretch we began the tour with and was the first opportunity I had to photograph. The first two legs ended in tree stands, and since room was sparse on them and we had to constantly hold on, I had no way to take photos.

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- 1:28PM: The platform I was standing on seemed to be on the side of a steep hill, as the tree stand we came from was easily 60 feet (18m) above the ground. The feeling of flying through the trees at high speed while only connected to thin cables was truly stunning, and I am sure FM. Jack Sayers (elHoagie) would agree. Even if something happened to the main connection, everyone had a safety line connected to the cable above. This run was one of the shortest, only 140 feet (42.7m) in length. The previous two were longer (75m, 81m) and were faster and we had even longer ones to come.

2008-05-09_13-28-15_1.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Canopy Zip-Line

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 1:28PM: "Whoa Jack!" Even though we were told to not brake on this slower run, some attendees were still moving with good speed. To get the best angle on people coming down, I stood right on the landing platform near where the cables were attached to the tree behind me. This of course put me in harms way if people were going too fast. That is a small Welfia regia to the left of him, by the way.

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- Bus #4 attendee Paul Richnow was a little less excited about this adventure. Horses, no problem, but put him up into the air with speed and nothing underneath him and that is a different story. A few extra Xanax gave him, and a few others, the little extra encouragement they needed to enjoy the experience. That thin palm on the left is an Iriartea deltoidea.

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- 1:29PM: Watching Jeff Searle's reaction to doing the zip-line was familiar. It was the same I have seen him do before, compared to the other faster paced activities he enjoys partaking in. He did several gestures on the way down and I had a long slideshow of photos planned for this point in the topic, but could not get the .gif file to work correctly in time. It would have looked like a stop-action video.

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- I remember earlier in the week when everyone was choosing what to do for their free day, and people were explaining to Jeff about what zip-line was. He wasn't sure if he would like it or not, well mystery solved.

2008-05-09_13-29-14_1.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Canopy Zip-Line

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 1:29PM: Being at the front of the line had its advantages. You got to see each and every person come down after you did, plus getting to photograph them at the same time. I got the feeling that there were a few people that were nervous enough that they didn't want to go first or last.

2008-05-09_13-29-38.jpg

- Andrea Searle was a little nervous at first, but like with most, she got over it very quickly. I think adrenaline helps with that a great deal. One or two attendees were like "I dunno if I can do this" one minute, then "Holy crap, let's do that one again!" the next. As soon as there were enough people from our group gathered around this platform, a guide took us around a path that led us to the beginning of the next series of cable runs. It was a good walk and you got the sense of how everyone was doing from their reactions, most were doing fine. Personally, I was having a blast from both perspectives, being not only a participant, but also having the journalistic point-of-view.

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- 1:48PM: The second series of cable runs were almost in a straight line, with one turn at the end to steer our general direction towards the south. The four runs were all about the same length, (78m, 79m, 64.2m, 68m) with one in the middle that was really fast as it shot downward in a hurry. We didn't touch the ground until the last one, after visiting three of the highest tree stands I had ever seen. At one stand, the guide told us were 90 feet (27m) off the ground. With my camera out again, I wasn't able to get Lindsey in action as she came next behind me very fast, but I managed to get a shot of her husband Jack zipping through the air.

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- 1:49PM: Andrea was fourth this time, as she got ahead of people at some point during the stops at the tree stands.

2008-05-09_13-49-20.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Canopy Zip-Line

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 1:49PM: The drop on this line was steep, so we had to brake ourselves on this one. Andrea hit the platform in a hurry, but hit the brakes perfectly before running into me. I had to sacrifice shutter speed for exposure, so the photos are a bit blurry. I was kicking myself for not having a faster lens.

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- "Look out below!" Jeff was next and he only braked a little. The guide at the receiving end gave everyone hand signals as to either brake harder or let go and speed up.

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- Jeff didn't get the signal of the guide holding his hands up in panic, so he almost crashed into the videographer and me. I should have had the James Bond theme music playing on a boom box or something for people like Jeff, who liked to go faster.

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- 1:50PM: Paul was doing quote "Just fine..." as he put it. He was the first person to hit this platform at a normal speed. When I landed, I almost took out the platform railing.

2008-05-09_13-50-15.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Canopy Zip-Line

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 1:50PM: Three seconds later from the shot above, Paul drifted by the videographer on his way to the platform.

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- 1:51PM: Since I was the first one down, I had the most time to look around at each platform. When I turned around to step out of the way of Paul getting off the cable, I noticed this Zamia sp. growing in the brush not far away. Those of us in the immediate area argued over its identity, but to no avail.

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- 1:52PM: Those of us at the front of the pack began to accumulate at the platform. Our next destination was just a good hike away up those steps and around the corner. When one more attendee arrived, we had enough to move on to the next platform. We knew we were getting closer to the end and what was waiting for us there. That super long run over the river was hanging over our heads.

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- 1:59PM: The next cable run was the second largest of the day, 433 feet (132m), and went over a gully fully exposed to the sun. It was a straight shot between two platforms set at about the same altitude; so the speed wasn't fast but the trip was long. As soon as I looked up from taking my camera out of the bag, Lindsey was almost at the end of the cable.

2008-05-09_13-59-18_1.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Canopy Zip-Line

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 1:59PM: The distance of this cable run was long enough to make recognition difficult. When attendees started down, I couldn't tell who they were until they got about halfway.

2008-05-09_13-59-44.jpg

- "Go Jack, go!" FM. Jack Sayers (elHoagie) was getting encouragement from Lindsey as he came into the final few meters of the run. This was the eighth cable for us today, so by this time any doubts people had about the zip-line were long gone and most were having a great time.

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- 2:00PM: The openness of this cable run, compared to the thick forest environments of the ones before, gave a minority a bit of a fright as they could actually see how far above the ground they were. We were actually lower on this run than a few of the earlier cables, but the fact of actually seeing the ground beneath your feet had an effect on some people.

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- "Come on Paul, you can do the last one if you can do this one."

2008-05-09_14-00-16.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Canopy Zip-Line

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 2:00PM: When Paul planted his feet on the ground, he quietly thanked the guide and the makers of Xanax.

2008-05-09_14-00-25.jpg

- 2:00(.43)PM: To give you an idea of how fast attendees came streaming down the cable, I included the seconds of time between these three photos. The videos attendees' had captured on this day must have been awesome. The videographer said he sells the park's video version all the time. I was thinking about getting a copy, until I found out how much it was and how long the wait was to get it. I was interested in getting a copy of the unedited footage just to be able to show it at the farewell dinner later tonight, but they would not sell it to me that way.

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- 2:00(.49)PM: The moving blur slowly turned into FM. Jeff Searle as he got closer. The trip across took only about twelve seconds, but it was the quality of the thrill, not the quantity.

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- 2:00(.52)PM: Three seconds later from the spot above, Jeff had covered about a quarter of the distance and started to slow down finally, heading for the platform.

2008-05-09_14-00-52.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Canopy Zip-Line

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 2:01PM: I started to photograph the park's videographer as he was coming down, thinking it was an attendee that was doing crazy stunts with the cable harness. He was pulling hard on the safety cable, flinging himself up and down, almost passing the higher cable with each big motion. The next destination, the long run over the river, was next and our trusty tractor and trailer was standing by to take us there. It was parked at the top of the hill behind the platform and most attendees made their way up the hill as soon as they landed.

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- Andrea Searle decided to start off this run by going almost backwards.

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- 2:02PM: She turned around in time to hear Jeff make some interesting comments about her style.

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- 2:06PM: I joined the gathered group of attendees by climbing the path up to the top where our ride was waiting. Since we were now waiting for all the attendees, we had some extra time to relax. The guides had brought a few containers of fresh fruit for us to snack on. Paul Richnow spotted this small 'Blue-Jeans' Poison Dart Frog, Dendrobates pumilio, crossing the path and he went in close to photograph it, almost stepping on it. This was the only wildlife my group saw all afternoon, minus ourselves.

2008-05-09_14-06-29.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Canopy Zip-Line

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

For the past few months or so, I had been trying to obtain a copy of the canopy zip-line video that was made of our group at Pozo Azul. I proceeded to post as normal, hoping to get a copy by the time I finished the zip-line photos of Day 07, and as of this past weekend; I got a copy, thanks to Cathy and Lew Burger. I wanted very much to include sections of that video in the topic and here they are, starting with our arrival at the first platform. I was limited to five minute sections that I could upload and the demo version of the splitter program limited me to how much I could split off at one time. The audio was just song titles so I omitted them for sake of file size. I have the entire video available if anyone wants a copy.

- video: Canopy Part 1: The first video section shows us arriving at the first platform, all hyped up ready to fly. The videographer went first after we got our instruction, then I was the first attendee to go afterward, camera in tow. Our initiation run was 266 feet (81m) long and you could see the difference in people's reactions as the videos progress. After I made sure the cable was secure, the rest of our group went down the line, one by one...

th_vts_01_15.jpg

- video: Canopy Part 2: ...continues from the end of part 1, showing each attendee flying in turn to the first tree stand...

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- video: Canopy Part 3: ...continues from the end of part 2, with the landing of Bus #3 attendee and FM. David Prall (SW_FL_Palms). A few seconds later, he and Geri were joined by FM. Bill Sanford (BS Man about Palms) who was bringing up the rear. As soon as the last trio departed along the second, 246 foot (75m), cable to the second tree stand, the videographer skipped ahead to get into position for the next series of cables. During the middle section of four cables, he was at the head of the group until he got to the third platform at the end of the seventh run, which was really fast. Then he filmed each of us doing some rapid landings. At the second landing, you can catch glimpses of me as I was taking the photos I posted above...

th_vts_01_17.jpg

- video: Canopy Part 4: ...continues from the end of part 3, as you would have guessed by now, with the last guide flying into the second platform almost hitting the videographer. It quickly fades into the second longest run over the gully, leading off with Andrea Searle's flight. The videographer started filming right after he landed, following my shot of him posted above. Each attendee then came across, following in order, leading up to the next series of photos.

th_vts_01_18.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Canopy Zip-Line

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 2:07PM: Attendees saw what was waiting for them at the top of the hill and they began to relax a little. Everyone was still talking about the last run over the river that was still to come, "One more to go.." When they landed, each attendee made their way to the top of the hill, to either sit in the trailer or to mingle around watching others come in to finish the run.

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- 2:08PM: Our limousine was waiting for everyone to finish the last run, which did not take very long.

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- 2:09PM: Time sitting on the trailer was spent comparing various runs of the zip-line and having attendees like Jeff Searle and Paul Richnow, ask each other and Bus #3 attendee Lew Burger, about how they were doing so far. Most had a response like "It's been very exciting, even though I was nervous at first." When everyone piled on board and a final headcount was made, the guide-driven tractor roared to life and towed us back towards the river for the last cable run.

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- 2:29PM: "Now that was some incredible fun." I am quoting myself, as it was seconds after completing the giant 900 ft (274m) cable over the river, that I found myself ready to do it all again. For those of you who have never done zip-lining before, you really must try it, especially for long runs such as this one. I could hear the sounds of the pulley zipping across the cable behind me, so as soon as I was free, I got ready to shoot Lindsey as she came next.

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To see an incredible well done video of the last cable run, follow this link to Dean's topic featuring a video made by IPS member Gene Beenders. The high quality video is a large file, but its worth the download time.

-> Ride a Zip Line

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Canopy Zip-Line

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 2:29PM: The extremely long length of the last cable allowed for two people to ride the line at the same time, with one starting right as one would finish. Lindsey was still on the cable as her husband FM. Jack Sayers (elHoagie) reached this point in the cable.

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- I said something like, "Look out for the flying sandwich!" or something like that as Jack headed towards us, but I don't think he heard me.

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- 2:30PM: The order had changed since we got off the truck, the only thing that stayed the same was that I went first followed by Lindsey and Jack. Attendees began to come in rapid succession, including the speedy FM. Craig Morgan (el Gato Grande).

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- This was the exact moment where his harness pulley hit the brake. To slow people down, a guide would hold on to the other end of the pink rope to act as a counter weight.

2008-05-09_14-30-23.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Canopy Zip-Line

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 2:31PM: Like shock troops entering an occupied building in some war games scenario, each attendee came streaming in one right after another with high speed and most landed perfectly. Everyone was experts at how to ride a zip-line at this point, so no one had to think about how to do it, they just had to enjoy it. IPS Director and FM. Kathryn Ostadal (Kathryn) came next and I could see her Cajun smirk form just as she got to the end.

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- 2:32PM: Paul made it through the whole zip-line intact and we congratulated him for it. We were wondering if he would remember it though.

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- 2:34PM: <bam!> FM. David Prall (SW_FL_Palms) hit the brake at a good speed causing the guides waiting at the end to clear out of his way.

2008-05-09_14-34-12.jpg

- Australian Bus #1 attendee Kylie White decided to do the last part of the run with her eyes closed.

2008-05-09_14-34-46.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Canopy Zip-Line

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 2:35PM: A few more attendees came down then it was Cathy Burger's turn to ride above the rapids. The person ahead of her was having trouble getting off the line, so the guides were getting anxious as she began to bear down on them.

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- With a mere second to spare, they cleared the runway as Cathy came in for a landing. The idea of attendees closing their eyes was becoming contagious.

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- IPS Director and FM. Grant Stephenson (palm a grant it) came next after Cathy, and I couldn't help notice how his camera was being carried.

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- 2:37PM: Bill was one of a few people coming down the line that actually showed some flair.

2008-05-09_14-37-03_1.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Canopy Zip-Line

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 2:37PM: Bus #4 ranch hand recruiter extraordinaire and FM. Bill Sanford (BS Man about Palms) came down second to last on the cable. He was seconds away from cutting his thumb off in the pulley.

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- 2:37(.45)PM: It is amazing that the next three photos were taken over a span of only three seconds, but it is true, due mostly to the uncontrollable speed that FM. Jeff Searle was obtaining.

2008-05-09_14-37-45.jpg

- 2:37(.46)PM: Since he was the last attendee, I guess he decided to come down in style and with reckless endangerment.

2008-05-09_14-37-46.jpg

- 2:37(.48)PM: Two seconds later, he slammed into the brake at full speed with a large crown of attendees looking on. The next destination for us was the dinning hall, where an very inviting lunch buffet was waiting for us.

2008-05-09_14-37-48.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures, Canopy Zip-Line, Lunch

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- video: Canopy Part 5: This short section of video picks up right after I landed at the last run over the river. It starts off with Lindsey Sayers coming down the line, seconds after I got free from the end, and continues into part 6 below...

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- video: Canopy Part 6: ... The last section of video shows many, but not all of the remaining group of attendees as they crossed over the river. Most of us were starving, so while some of us stayed behind to watch the show, some headed straight for the reception center and on to the dining hall.

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The lunch buffet was more than adequate for our group of hungry adventurers. I decided to save room on my memory card for the evening's festivities, so I surrendered my camera for the duration of lunch. The dining hall was filled with numerous televisions that were broadcasting the raw footage of our trip through the tree tops. They were playing the footage on a continuous loop, so every few minutes I would hear my name being yelled, "Hey, Ryan...you're on TV!", again and again. It gave us something to watch as we ate, but many ate outside so we could take in a view of the river. Speaking of the river, we knew we were supposed to be eating lunch along with those partaking in Combo 2; but it was already three o'clock and they were still not back yet from the rapids. Knowing we still had a very long, two and a half hour, bus ride back to the hotel -- we began to wonder if we would be late for the farewell dinner, which was scheduled to begin at 6:00.

- 3:22PM: When we finished stuffing ourselves to excess, we each used different methods of killing time. I walked around and looked for whatever stood out and yelled "take my picture". The group from Combo 2 were still M.I.A. at this point so we each dealt with the delay in different ways. Certain members from Bus #4 were having a gloomy time until they found out they were selling beer near the souvenir shop. Outside said shop was a kiosk set up for us to view photos and videos of the days activities and to allow us to purchase them if the want presented itself.

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- 3:35PM: Already feeling reminiscent of the earlier day's horseback ride, Bus #4 seed desperado Paul Richnow was watching the foot traffic from his position on top of this saddle. This was a second before he gave me his now trademarked one-finger salute. The saddle was for sale, for a lot.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hacienda Pozo Azul Adventures -> Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel

Free Day: Pozo Azul Bus, about 40 Attendees

- 3:38PM: Leaving Paul with his saddle, I walked around asking a few of the guides if they knew when the group from Combo 2 would arrive, but they had no answer. I must have walked around the reception center a few times before it started to rain, chasing me and everyone else under cover. I walked outside of the dinning hall to watch the rain begin to fill up the Sarapiquí River. This was the first time all week, from my perspective, that we had a downpour fall on us. Sitting here watching the rain fall, we couldn't help but state how truly lucky we had been during the Biennial. The weather could have easily have been like this, each and every day.

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- 3:46PM: Now, a moment of Zen with your host, Bill Sanford. Bill had come a long way to actually see it rain in a rainforest, but until today, he had not witnessed such an event. He was adamant about seeing it pour down rain at least once during our time here in Costa Rica. We all thought he was crazy. I guess it doesn't happen that often in California. Our time here at Pozo Azul was slowly being extended one minute at a time, as we waited for the other attendees to arrive. Even when they got back, they still needed to change out of their wet clothes and eat lunch before we could head back to the hotel.

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Time passed very slowly as we did little but watch the rain fall and spot a creature or two scurry about the wet grounds outside. I was not sure when they made it back exactly, but it was after four o'clock when the second group finally arrived after surviving the white water rapids. Those of us from Combo 1 did our best in aiding the situation by rushing them through changing clothes and eating lunch. It was close to 5:00PM before the bus left Pozo Azul carrying all of us heading for the hotel. We talked briefly on board the bus, but many simply passed out, especially those who did the white water rafting. It was the quietest two and a half hours I've ever spent on a bus.

When we arrived back the hotel, we poured ourselves off the bus and headed for our rooms. We were now experts at this as well. Because of the long delay back at Pozo Azul, the beginning of the farewell festivities were pushed back to 8:00, but everyone already present ate dinner as usual. We changed and deloused as fast as possible and made our way to the ballroom where we found fellow attendees tapping their watches and looking at us expectantly.

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Farewell Dinner

- 8:08PM: Well, before we knew it and faster than we would have liked, it was time for the ceremonial end of a Biennial, the Farewell Dinner. It was the last event of the 2008 Biennial in Costa Rica, and like in Biennials past, it gave us the best opportunity to share our favorite moments of the week and to give our farewells to each other. To start off the festivities, CRT Director Hector "The Big Dog" Castillo took the podium to thank all of us for visiting his county and for choosing CRT Destination Marketing and Management Services for the tour agency of the Biennial. He hoped that they had made our stay a pleasurable one, which they did by all expectations. We began to clap loudly before he finished the sentence.

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- 8:09PM: It had been a full day since we had all seen each other. Those of us who went to Pozo Azul were eager to trade stories with those who had spent the day at the hotel. There were a few attendees who ventured out and made their own excursions into the countryside and they had some great times as well.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Farewell Dinner

- 8:09PM: Hector continued his presentation as I darted my way about the room taking photos. Many of the attendees who ate dinner earlier in the evening were now finishing their first desserts and were now working their way into the more drinkable of refreshments.

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- He touched on a few subjects, including how important it was for Costa Rica to continue conservation of its natural resources, and he thanked all of us again for supporting that ideal. He concluded his time at the podium by wishing all of us a safe journey home and we replied with another round of well thought applause.

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- 8:15PM: A meeting of the executive branch of the International Palm Society. IPS Vice President and FM. Leland Lai (Leland Lai) conducts the evening's brief festivities. In the middle of following his schedule, he yields the podium to IPS President and FM. Bo-Göran Lundkvist (bgl) so he may address the delegation.

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- 8:16PM: To make his part of the presentation easier for the majority to understand, Bo-Göran enlisted the services of attendee and FM. Oscar Moreno (ViveroLaVida) to help translate his words into Spanish.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Farewell Dinner

- 8:17PM: Within a few seconds of his opening speech, Bo-Göran had everyone cheering and applauding the success of the 2008 Biennial in Costa Rica. It was a great singular moment. This photo still causes the same inspiring reaction for me as I had during most of the night. Everyone, including myself, got that very rewarding sensation of accomplishment.

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- 8:18PM: It was also at that moment, when everyone reflected on what experiences we had, the places we had visited, the wonderful palms we had seen and the great people we had shared it all with.

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- 8:19PM: Bo-Göran made no reservations as to how he felt that this had been one of the best Biennials of all time. I could quickly agree myself, but I have only attended two Biennials; and they were both spectacular events. Attendees quickly turned to each other and made their own comparisons based on how many they had each attended. I personally asked a few of the veterans in my vicinity and they all agreed it was one of the better Biennials, if not one of the best so far.

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- 8:21PM: Our enthusiastic President of the IPS, Bo-Göran, continued his presentation with the well anticipated announcement that Brazil will be the destination of the next Biennial in 2010. We of course were pretty sure that this is where the next Biennial was going to be held, but the Board of Directors were keeping it a secret until tonight. They had voted on it during the meeting they had before the first day of the Biennial. We cheered the announcement, as that is where the majority of us wanted to go in two years. The Brazilian attendees were really surprised, as they broke out in celebration, Carnival style. I was on the opposite of the room at the time so I missed it.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Farewell Dinner

- 8:26PM: The evening's farewell festivities were about to get shifted into high gear. As the band began to warm up, Bo-Göran quickly finished his speech by wishing all of us a safe and quick journey home. Right as he left the podium the band sprung to life and began to play some popular Brazilian music along with some party favorites.

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- 8:27PM: As soon as the music started, the cameras came out. I thought it would be nice to take some table shots, not my favorite thing to do, but when I saw FM. Robert Wilson (RainForestt Robert) going around and taking some; I tagged along and copied off his poses. Bus #4 attendees and FM. Jerry & Cindy Andersen (jdapalms) were the first pair to get blinded by flashes. It was great to have them on my bus again after I met them both for the first time in the Dominican Republic.

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- 8:28PM: The Kalhe Band provided our entertainment of the evening and they played very well and long into the night. They accepted requests of all kinds, including some strange and questionable selections that led us to wonder who asked for them. Their Latin music performances were the best as one would imagine.

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- 8:29PM: The mood was solemn and festive at the same time. We knew the Biennial was just about over, but we continued to act as if it wasn't. Attendees were getting ready to dance as some were slowly working their way to the dance floor. The portraits continued with this California inspired one. I had to get as many photos of my friends from the furthest places as possible, as it might be a while before I would see them again. It was great to had been able to meet so many Forum members that I had only previously known online. From left to right: FM. Bill Sanford (BS Man about Palms) sporting a car shirt, what a surprise, FM. Kim Cyr (Kim) sporting a perfect smile, FM. Alan Brickey (avb) who is smiling, although it is hidden, and Kim's roommate and long time traveling companion Linda Silva, who is enjoying her first brush with palm mania.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Farewell Dinner

- 8:30PM: The one and only Texas ambassador to the Biennial, Mr. Paul Norris. There have been many Biennial attendees in the past, but only a few have had such a strong impact on others riding on the same bus. Paul is definitely a member of that select group. It was very 'fortunate' that he and Judy found their way onto Bus #4, as I could not have pictured my aspect of the Biennial happening any other way.

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- 8:32PM: To my knowledge, Bus #1 attendees and FM. Robert & Cari Savinetti (BobbyinNY), were the northern-most members from the USA to attend the Biennial. They deserve extra credit for not only making it to the Biennial, but also for the zone-defying growing skills that Robert displays again and again.

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- 8:33PM: The incredible batch of attendees pictured here also belong to that select group mentioned above. I strongly feel that the time spent on Bus #4 and my perspective of the Biennial would have not have turned out as well as it did, if it wasn't for the efforts and skills of Biennial Veteran, now Biennial Elite FM. Jim Glock (jglock1), FM. Bill Olson (Bill Olson), Judy Glock and FM. Linda Talbott (Linda Apriletti).

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- 8:34PM: The center of the room became crowded and reciprocally tables emptied as attendees hit the dance floor in groups. Cari Savinetti was a popular dance partner sought out by many, as she is seen here dancing with fellow Bus #1 attendee Voltaire Moise.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Farewell Dinner

- 8:34PM: As Cari and Voltaire continued to dance, it inspired more to join them on the dance floor...

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- ...They were soon joined by other attendees, including Bill and Linda. When more people began to dance, the band began to play louder and included some more upbeat melodies.

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- 8:37PM: It took only about ten minutes for the dance floor to get crowded. There were some smaller groups of attendees who seemed to dance wherever they were in the room.

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- Just about everyone took a turn at dancing the night away in some form or another. IPS Director and Biennial Speaker Fernando 'Pacho' Roca scuffed up more than his fair share of the dance floor.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Farewell Dinner

- 8:37PM: During the two Biennials I have attended, I have witnessed the hospitality and unrelenting kindness put forth by many attendees. This often goes far in welcoming first-timers to the week long spectacle. This incredible enterprise of familiarity happens between individuals who would otherwise be total strangers. Since most people who attend the Biennials have the palm sickness, that commonality eases them into friendships in rapid fashion. Judy and Jim Glock are no strangers to anyone at the Biennials, and they often extend not only their kindness but also their wealth of knowledge to any attendee new to a Biennial. They first met Barry Lang at the 2006 Biennial in the Dominican Republic and he quickly became a welcome member aboard the Green Bus. That tradition continued to Costa Rica, as Barry found himself as a familiar member aboard Bus #4. After saying all that, I had to post a photo of him closing his eyes due to the flash.

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- 8:38PM: Where funk meets palm botany. I saw a diverse set of dance moves being performed in front of the band and I give credit to those who can actually dance, unlike those who are much better with a camera. In the center of the photo, FM. Al Bredeson (Al in Kona) towers over everyone.

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- 8:40PM: In the middle of all the action, I got a signal from Kathryn that she had an idea for a photo. She wanted a group shot of the Louisiana delegation. A great idea, she just needed to round everyone up first. She ran around the room grabbing everyone from her state and found every attendee minus one, Rod Gates, who could not be located. From left to right: Bus #3 attendees Joe & Cindy Baucum, Bus #4 attendees and FMs. Craig Morgan (el Gato Grande), IPS Director Kathryn Ostadal (Kathryn) and Jayanne Crawley (La Lady). It was the second Biennial in a row with Kathryn, Jayanne and I on the same bus, and for the second time in a row it made for a great experience. Kathryn was one of the IPS Board members assigned to Bus #4 and she was by far the leader, in more ways than one.

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- 8:41PM: IPS Vice President and FM. Leland Lai (Leland Lai) had his hands full in this photo (with wife Shirley) and throughout the Biennial, before, during and after, as he was one of its chief personnel. He did a unbelievable job working with Jim Cain and the CRT staff in pulling off, what in most cases would be considered a miracle of logistics. It is often hard to see the 18+ months worth of work that goes into putting a Biennial together, but it is much easier to enjoy the result.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Farewell Dinner

- 8:44PM: The music kept getting louder and louder from my perspective as it became almost impossible to talk to someone unless you yelled at their ear from a few inches away. I have always had sensitive hearing so I figured it wasn't bothering the majority. I did notice a few groups that left the room to go in the hallway; to be able to talk and take photos. The activity at the bar towards the right side of the stage showed no signs of slowing down. In addition to the farewells everyone was giving, I did notice some interesting gift exchanging going on. It was similar to the custom of exchanging personal items between friends before parting ways at the end of a long trip, i.e. watches, pocket knives, etc.

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- 8:45PM: FM. Jim Glock (jglock1) looks over photos taken by FMs. Paul & Judy Norris (Palmnorris, Queen of Bling). It was good to see that more people brought cameras to this Biennial than two years prior. I always feel more the merrier, as one camera can only capture one perspective.

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- This panoramic view shows the dance floor at just about full capacity. I think it was because a slow song was being played.

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- The slow songs quickly vanished as the beat changed dramatically. Attendees began to jump, point, and move in gyrated throws. At this one point the band was playing Y.M.C.A. and I have heard that song way too many times.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Farewell Dinner

- 8:45PM: In the middle of the dance floor, Forum member Jeff Searle is surprised by the dancing ability of FM. Bill Olson (Bill Olson).

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- 8:48PM: No stranger to the microphone or the limelight, FM. Robert Savinetti (BobbyinNY) jumped on stage and took over control of the band. This was the pinnacle moment of the evening, as excitement and fervor spread through the room as fellow attendees gathered around to watch Robert perform. It caught the attention of everyone, including some who were outside in the hallway.

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- People cheered Robert on as he went from song to song. He is a musician in his native Long Island habitat. I began to notice a few attendees who began to disappear from the evening's frivolity. I had found out later that some people were leaving for the airport very early in the morning as they had some seriously early flights. They had no choice but to cut the evening short. Those of us who had visited Pozo Azul were slowly running out of fuel, but the action beckoned everyone to stay as long as possible.

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- 8:49PM: Leland and Jayanne take a turn on the dance floor.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Farewell Dinner

- 8:50PM: Transportation analyst and reserve Bus #4 driver FM. Larry Davis (Lefty) shows he can dance to the beat of any drum. Larry is another member of that prestigious group mentioned earlier, and you ever find him on your bus in your travels, consider yourself lucky.

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- 8:51PM: The quality of Latin music being played was top notch and it drove most everyone to their feet, regardless of their age.

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- 8:52PM: The Latin melodies have that certain flair that stirs up particular emotions and feelings, exhibited here by Cari and Robert Savinetti.

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- 8:53PM: The dance moves became contagious and spread around the floor. They seemed to mix well with tequila as I was observing. IPS Director and FM. Faith Bishock (budrot) gets cozy with Bus #1 attendee and FM. Donald Sanders (Donald Sanders).

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Farewell Dinner

- 8:55PM: Brazilian attendee Christiane Pompeo became another well sought out dance partner for obvious reasons. She and Bus #1 attendee Voltaire Moise became quite the dancing duo. There were attendees who were already asking her and her brother Jose questions about Brazil in regards to the next Biennial.

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- 8:56PM: For those who thought otherwise, Board Members can dance after all. IPS Director and FM. Elena Beare (Elena B. Uruguay) struts to a disco number.

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- 8:57PM: The same song made everyone throw their hands up into the air.

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- 8:58PM: I had to take a moment away from the music to regain my hearing so I exited the ballroom to the hallway to find a fair amount of people shooting and posing for photos. I decided to get in some of the photos so I lent my camera to Garvin Yao, son of George Yao, so he could take a few photos including this one. With so many people posing and shooting it was hard to know where to look. On the left, Paul and Judy Norris were looking at another camera while Aurora Yao and FM. George Yao (gcyao) were posing for mine. Towards the right side of the photo, Australian attendees Bruce Golightly and Kylie White were looking to their right. It was mass confusion but it was a great deal of fun.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Farewell Dinner

- 9:01PM: With Garvin's help I was able to actually get in a photo with his parents, Aurora & George Yao, along with Andrea Searle and winner of the Most Determined Attendee award, FM. Jon Kenaghan (Bilbo).

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- 9:06PM: Christiane and Voltaire danced perfectly in sequence, and soon other attendees gave way so they could have a section of the dance floor all to themselves.

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- For a split second, when there was a lull in the song, I screamed "Christiane!" so she would look in my direction so I could take this photo.

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- 9:07PM: Slow songs returned to the play list for a short while and it brought couples to the well-used dance floor. Lindsey & Jack Sayers were a perfect addition to the now infamous Bus #4, and I mean that in a very good way. The experiences on that bus were a collective and they would not have happened if it wasn't for the group that we had on board.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Farewell Dinner

- 9:09PM: "Salut!" To celebrate the evening in style, Bus #2 attendee Felix Montes opened up a bottle of Don Julio Tequila and passed it around to anyone who held a shot glass. According to Robin Crawford and Jeff Searle it was some pretty good stuff.

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- 9:10PM: Asking Lindsey and Jack to smile was redundant as they were always ready for the photo.

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- 9:11PM: As soon as I took this photo of Kathryn and Craig looking into each others eyes I heard a loud "Awwww..." coming from behind me.

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- 9:13PM: This photo came out very well and you can be sure I didn't take it. I handed my camera over to Jeff Searle so he could take a photo of me with Bill Sanford.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Farewell Dinner

- 9:13PM: "Go Donald!" Bus #1 attendee and FM. Donald Sanders (Donald Sanders) seemed to be in his own world. He took turns dancing with everyone, even if they were not dancing and just standing by a table.

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- 9:14PM: The crowd on the dance floor began to thin out some as the clock got further past nine o'clock. I said farewell to those who were leaving, either they were going to bed early or just heading for a different place in the hotel.

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- 9:15PM: The band showed no signs of slowing down. If people were dancing, they were going to play, louder and louder. I spied a few groups of people who left the ballroom and went next door to the hotel bar by the pool.

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- 9:17PM: Trying to say goodbye and pass on sincere farewells with the music playing was a challenge. Faith tried to yell something at someone in the middle of the dance floor.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Farewell Dinner

- 9:17PM: Every bus during the Biennial had their signature IPS personnel, known for not only helping attendees with anything they may need, but also for aiding in the overall enjoyment of activities. IPS Director and FM. Faith Bishock (budrot) was assigned to Bus #3 and I heard a few good anecdotes about life aboard that bus.

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- 9:18PM: In one instant, I became witness to an unusual happening on the dance floor; a conga line formed one second...

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- ...went around the scuffed floor once with FM. Al Bredeson (Al in Kona) and others...

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- ...then it was gone the next, becoming the world's shortest lasting conga line. It sort-of melted, as it quickly lost form and attendees including FM. Larry Davis (Lefty) and Dan Ashley (KONADANTOM) were left wondering what had happened.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Farewell Dinner

- 9:21PM: When you have a diverse group of attendees from all over the world, you get an very broad spectrum of music requests. Towards the latter half of the evening, the band would play one song after another and many had nothing in common with each other. The general mood of the Farewell Dinner continued to be mixed between joy and sadness. You could really tell when someone was happy to be going home to family, but again they would turn around and see a friend they know so well and be sad that the Biennial was coming to an end. Bus #3 attendees Lew & Cathy Burger [in red] enjoy the festivities.

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- 9:22PM: After I took this shot of the key party people, I looked behind me and noticed the room was getting empty.

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- 9:23PM: I had to stop shooting now and then to make sure I said bye to everyone in case I didn't seen them in the morning. Those who shared my flight did not have to be at the airport until the afternoon, so we still had the morning to spend at the hotel.

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- The attendees who could not stop dancing became the majority of those still in the ballroom. It was like a collection of energizer bunnies. Everyone else had either moved to the hallway outside, were comfortably stationed at the bar or were heading to their rooms.

2008-05-09_21-23-26.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Farewell Dinner

- 9:23PM: To capture a better angle of the dance floor, I stood on top of a chair to take the photo above. When taking said photo, I myself, became the target of a camera flash. When I looked over to my left I saw IPS Director Jim Cain with camera in hand and a big smile across his face so I had to return the favor; by taking his photo with his wife Elizabeth. Jim was another key person who was instrumental to the Biennial in more ways than one. He was basically the 'go-to' guy for all things Biennial related; including the very important attendee registrations and the communications between the IPS Board of Directors, society members and the CRT staff.

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- 9:24PM: It was time again to give my ears a break from the music so I slid back out into the hallway to see what was going on. I noticed immediately that quite a few attendees had gone for the evening and it was getting quiet, excluding the temporary hearing loss. People began to exchange photos and of course, I can't keep out of those situations. I took my turn and captured this spirited shot full of Forum members. From left to right: Forum Moderator Dean Ouer (Dypsisdean, PALM MOD), FMod. Angela Blakely (putu enjula), Bus #3 attendee and efficient translator Oscar Moreno (ViveroLaVida), FM. Jack Sayers (elHoagie) and his other half, 'laHoagie' Lindsey Sayers.

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- 9:40PM: While I was taking the photo above and several others over time, I noticed a slew of people leaving the ballroom and heading for places elsewhere. I figured the evening's festivities were coming to an end. I was at the limit of how much caffeine could keep me awake, so I began to fall asleep on my feet. I went back inside and took this one last shot of the dance floor. It was covered with those who showed no signs of giving in to the night. I knew they were still going to be dancing well after I left.

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- 9:44PM: At each table, there were centerpieces decorated with different blooms and flowers. Some of these included a large bloom off of a Heliconia cv. 'Sexy Pink' that a few attendees couldn't help but to play with. Attendee Voltaire Moise modeled one bloom put on his back by fellow Bus #1 attendee David 'the Killer Biscuit' Banfield.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 07: Friday, May 9th: Conclusion

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel, Farewell Dinner

At the beginning of the Biennial week, I had no plans for the free day on Friday. I figured I would find something worthwhile to photograph. However, thanks to a bit of intrepidity from others I was signed up for the trip to Pozo Azul without even knowing about it. On Tuesday afternoon, I was made aware of what I was going to be doing on this day. As you saw earlier, it was definitely an excellent excursion. I had not been on horseback for many years and certainly, had never before gotten to ride a horse at a full gallop. Before today, I had only seen canopy zip-line on TV and always thought it would be a thrill ride and it most certainly is. It was worth the five hours on the bus to get to, and get back from, Pozo Azul even though most of us just slept, unlike trips on Bus #4. I strongly recommend either activity for anybody who has even a shred of adventure left in their bones.

- 9:44PM: I had never before seen Heliconia blooms used so much and in so many ways. I kept shooting the spectacle in the photo as more attendees got in a line behind me to take the same shot. The duo above became the center of attention, as different attendees took turns posing with Bus #1 attendees Voltaire Moise and David Banfield. In this particular photo, IPS Director and Bus #1 attendee Norm Bezona stands at the left of the pair while Bus #3 attendee Keith Santner kneels in front of them.

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- 9:46PM: "Try 'em on as earrings David!" This photo is proof that negative peer pressure is still as strong as ever.

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- 9:47PM: The Biennial was as great as it was due to the interconnection of many important, small instances that all fell into place, all at the right time. Part of any Biennial's success is luck as many have said. One set of instances that are not subject to luck are the people who you share the Biennial with. It is almost a certainty that you will have a great time as long as you travel with great people. Paul Norris and Jeff Searle wanted a photo taken of them, so as soon as I took it I knew it would be the perfect photo to end the festivities with.

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I put the lens cap back on my camera and wandered around the room for a little while seeing if there was anyone I had not said a farewell to. I gathered my gear and headed outside to chat on my way back to the room. I did a quick summary of who would be leaving for the airport before my group and I were scheduled to depart. I had a basic idea of who I would be seeing again in the morning, if they didn't leave before sunrise.

...tomorrow we journey home and I reflect on one of my greatest trips yet...

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 08: Saturday, May 10th: The Journey Home

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel

The ever predictable Costa Rican sunrise kept its promise to wake me in the morning well before six o'clock, a good eleven hours before my flight was scheduled to take myself and others back to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. When I walked down to get my breakfast the hotel's restaurant was eerily quiet. There was no 'favorite palm' background chatter or surplus of familiar faces. The hotel's checkout time was twelve noon, so I thought hard to find something to do or photograph until then. I remembered hearing about the hotel's diverse landscape which extended throughout the grounds and to the back of the property. Fellow Bus #4 attendee Ron Kiefert said he had walked much of the grounds and found some interesting plant specimens; some worthwhile to photograph.

- 9:38AM: FM. Ron Kiefert (moose knuckle) and I took a tour of the grounds which were in fact a well-rounded miniature botanical garden. In addition to a few select groups of palms, they had a nice collection of tropical fruit trees, some of which were the largest specimens I had ever seen. Ron and I were wondering how many attendees had known about this treasure trove just a short walk from their doors. Ron was key in not only making sure I remembered to sign up for the Biennial, but he also saved me money by signing me up before the discount cut-off date; which I had almost missed. One of the largest trees in the 'tennis court' collection was this massive Papaya, Carica papaya.

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- The tree itself was very tall, and continued to drop fruit from great heights even as we were walking around. The fruit did not survive the fall well.

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- The twin trunks seemed to had never seen stress before, compared to the large specimens I've seen back in South Florida. I placed a 3 gallon (13.2l) pot next to the trunk for scale, as the photo doesn't do the tree justice.

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- 11:23AM: The tour was nice, but it had to come to an end as it was getting close to packing time. After getting all my gear and ill-gotten gains packed away, I headed to the lobby to check out early and to meet up with the rest of my 'flight crew'. Our shuttle to the airport wasn't leaving until two o'clock so we were toying with the idea of eating lunch before we would have to leave. My 'crew' consisted of Jeff & Andrea Searle and Jim & Judy Glock who were all on the same American Airlines flight back to sunny Florida. Everyone was tired and the weight of the week was hanging over a lot of the departing attendees. We each took turns guarding the luggage and it was now Judy's turn as I went to stroll around the hotel taking last minute photos.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 08: Saturday, May 10th: The Journey Home

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel

- 11:24AM: The well manicured lobby of the Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel would always welcome us home at the end of each Biennial day. The manicuring was ongoing, including the endless buffing of the floor, being done as we waited in the lobby. We didn't have enough chairs on this side of the floor so someone, who shall remain nameless for now, decided to drag a chair clear across the floor; through the finished polished section right in front of the maintenance worker. He wasn't amused.

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- 11:25AM: In our last official duty as Biennial attendees, most of us signed the International Palm Society banner that was hanging inside the hotel ballroom all week. It was spread out in front of the CRT hospitality desk and there were a few CRT staff members on hand to wish us farewell.

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- 11:26AM: I took a few photos before I and a few others signed our names. You can make out a few of the signatures and parting phrases.

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- Near the middle of the right side of the banner, you can make out a clear "Bus #4 Rules!" under the "U" and "R" in Cura. It is one of the more truthful statements written upon the banner and it was the handiwork of Bus #4 attendee and FM. Jerry Behan (Jerry@TreeZoo). I am still not certain what became of the banner or where it went. Pura Vida!

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Ryan

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