San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Arenal Report

The LakeArenal region’s only bookstore  will enliven its premises with a real liveauthor signing her new book, “Guanacaste: Retratos de Vida/Life Portraits,” tomorrow at 3 pm., according to Frank Goodell of Jaime Peligro Bookstore at Casa Delagua Gallery near Río Piedras, at the northwest end of the lake.

Zoraida Díaz, for many years a Reuters photojournalist based in New York, moved from that city with her family after the TwinTowers collapse in 2001, settling on the Guanacaste coast, where she and a partner established the former English-language weekly The Beach Times. The book, emphasizing people and culture rather than landscapes, contains 180 photos arranged in four sections with essays by a folklorist, a marine biologist and two songwriters. The photos were selected from hundreds Zoraida has taken in Guanacaste. Bibliophiles can also enjoy a good cup of Mery’s coffee and the view from the deck of LakeArenal, just about 100 feet away.

Speaking of water, Titanic filmmaker James Cameron was rumored recently to be interested in La Reserva Forest Foundation’s semi-monumental habitat restoration efforts. Oh my! Who would play Roberta and Dan? The connection turns out to be more indirect, however. Cameron has just finished years of work on the futuristic movie “Avatar,” which premieres worldwide Dec. 18. As some publicist summarizes, “In the future, Jake, a paraplegic war veteran, is brought to another planet, Pandora, which is inhabited by the Na’vi, a humanoid race with their own language and culture. Those from Earth find themselves at odds with each other and the local culture.” The invasive earthlings, of course, start cutting down trees for energy. One that falls to them is the fiercely defended Hometree.

After filming, Giant Studios, one of the companies that worked on the film, presented a “Hometree” to director Cameron. Then, Giant’s Paul Hynek spotted La Reserva’s “ConnectingForestIslands in Costa Rica” project on the Global Giving Web site and decided it would be a good project to be associated with. They then contributed $2,350 to La Reserva to complete the funding for its current project, which is to connect forest islands on the ranch of David Alvarez above Aguacate. This project got under way last week with 2,500 seedlings being transported by oxcart to create a six-acre corridor by which our non-humanoid  at-risk fellow creatures, the monkeys and sloths, etc., can move safely on their feeding routes across the Alvarez property. Giant is commemorating its donation as “Project Hometree” and giving everyone at the cast and crew screening and party a custom wristband.

–Alex Murray

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