Living Conditions

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We just finished hosting another group of US college students.  A pretty tough bunch, too.  Many had never seen the tropics, or lived in a field station, and there was very little whining.  They tended to take conditions here well.

I came down to dinner one night and everyone was crowded wide-eyed around one man.  He was telling how he had just seen a snake eat a lizard in the shower of the cabin he was staying in.  I joined in.

“Do you have a picture?”  He produced a smartpone.  “Looks like a parrot snake.”

He stared at me pointedly.  “Is it poisonous?”

“No, but they tend to bite a lot.”

His look intensified.  “Why they call it a parrot snake?”

“I don’t know.  They mostly eat lizards.”

“Yeah, I noticed.  I just witnessed National Geographic from my bathroom while shaving.”

“Yeah, the cabins have open bathrooms, and sometimes snakes get in.  You night have coatis too.”

The guy was a marine, and seemed to take this in stride.  The others looked less sure.  Some people emerged from their rooms after having found a spider on the wall or a toad in the toilet with expressions you see on combat veterans or surgeons leaving a failed operation.  But learning to share space is an important lesson we teach here.

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