Uvita I: no blues

Nachdem am Vortag den ganzen Tag die Sonne brannte, schienen sich am zweite Tag in Uvita, der Himmel und das Meer einig zu sein alle Erinnerung an die Farbe Blau aus meinem Gedächtnis zu schwemmen.

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haunting memories II: zen

 

along the solitude walks in costa rica’s vivid nature and during theses never ending bus rides, the mind sometimes runs wild and brings back places, people and regrets I’ll be never able to forget.

 Heggenes, Norway - April 2018

Heggenes, Norway - April 2018

although I only spoke to dogs for most of the time and only met a hand full of people while I was living in Valdres, the few once that I’ve met did inspire me and shaped my image of Norway. Including of course Marit and Susana, two truly amazing women, who had to handle me for over 7 month. But this one goes out to a young veterinarian who helped me when I was at my worst. 

I felt so much emptiness after the misery that I have caused. For the pain he had to endure because of my failures. But the warmth and gentleness you’ve put in his treatment and the bold courtesy in wich you managed to overlook my ignorance and faults left me with nothing but gratitude.
You have chosen to dedicate your life to ease pain and rescue the lives of animals and that makes you the hero of my days. For you have not only saved Zen but also cured my state self-pity and regret. You gave this little man back the future that I had so carelessly endangered. So at last, from the bottom of my tiny heart: Thank you! 

 

Carlisa VII: don't call it paradise

 
 Polly

Polly

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 Valentina

Valentina

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 Kim and Limón

Kim and Limón

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 Volunteer Crew: Jack, Lea, Charlie

Volunteer Crew: Jack, Lea, Charlie

 Leila

Leila

With its extensive network of National Parks, great conservation efforts and strict rules on posessing animals, Costa Rica is ahead of many countries in terms of wildlife protection. But still a lot of questions remained unanswered during my three weeks at Carlisa. What confused me the most was that except for a short visit of an biologist, no skilled animal attendant ever showed up to check on the animals, not a vet, not even the owner himself were around. Only Kim, a warm hearted Costa Rican, who was in charge during my stay, made sure the animals and volunteers were well fed and healthy.  She made sure everyone felt right at home and I’m especially grateful for the opportunity to spend so much time with nosebears, deers and monkeys and to learn about their individual characters and funny behaviors. I just wished I could have done more and that some professionals would have been there to ensure that these amazing creatures get the treatment they deserve so that one could work more thorough towards their return to the wild.

 

Carlisa VI: Congo

 
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Bei all der Schwere die dich umgibt, war es der schönste Anblick zu sehen wie du hoch oben zwischen den Balken in der Sonne badest und trotz all der Dunkelheit in deinem Leben, es genießt wie die warmen Strahlen deinen Bauch streicheln. 
So wie du auf den Rücken lagst, alle Gliedmaßen von dir gestreckt konnte man meinen du würdest am liebsten das Licht eines ganzen Tages in dir behalten. Aufbewahren, für die kalten Tage, die es in Costa Rica doch eigentlich gar nicht geben dürfte. Für diese dunklen Tage an denen dich die Stille wieder zu erdrücken scheint, weil man dir deine Stimme gewaltsam genommen hat. Für diese einsame Zeit wenn die Schatten der Vergangenheit sich über deine Seele legen und du die Arme ganz fest um deinen kleinen Körper schlingst, im verzweifelten Versuch die letzten Sonnenstrahlen zwischen den feinen Härchen zu behalten.
Doch bevor dein Blick wieder ins Leere wandert und du in deinem Labyrinth der Traurigkeit verschwindest, hebst du manchmal noch für einen Augenblick fragend den Kopf und man kann man es deutlich sehen: Hinter diesen schwarzen Augen bewahrst du dir immer noch ein zartes Licht. 

 
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Carlisa V: Toñito and Charlie

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For most animals on our planet it is the greatest fortune to never ever meet a human being. But for the ones who were unlucky from the start, like Toñito who grew up in captivity, another encounter with the human species can eventually create something wonderful. An animal’s ability to forgive never fails to surprise me and few things impress me in such ways as to see someone taking care of a creature he’d never met before with a sympathy and friskiness as if they’d both been playmates since grade one.  

The Coati and the Englishmen bonded from the very beginning and over the course of three weeks it was a joy to see how these two gained more trust in each other with every day.  Charlie gave Toñito an hour of adventure time in the mornings where the little nosebear could roam free on the premises, dig for worms and eat as many as he could find. The first time we brought Toñito back to his enclosure we all ended up bitten and bruised. But on Charlies last days at the Center, he would just kneel next to the nosebear and wait patiently until Toñito eventually jumped on his back and made himself comfortable around his neck.
Although Charlie, like everyone else at the Center, was lacking a scientific background in working with wild animals, he was gifted with a profound set of sensitivity and empathy that would make Toñito twist his long nose wildly whenever his favorite human would appear to take him out for a little adventure. 

 
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Carlisa III: Diebe und Streuner während der Fütterung am Morgen

Und dann tanzen plötzlich die Bäume obwohl nicht mal eine leichte Brise geht. Und aus dem Baumwipfeln fallen dutzende Kapuzineraffen und fliegen zwischen den Palmen umher, lassen Äste zappeln, und Blätter regnen. Sie turnen über die Gehege, pirschen sich langsam heran und klauen sich jede Banane die sie kriegen können.

Ein weiterer stadtbekannter Kleinverbrecher ist der pummelige Nino. Ein selbstbewusster Nasenbär und früherer Bewohner der Auffangstation. Schon vor einiger Zeit wurde er ausgewildert doch auf der Anlage kennt er sich immer noch bestens aus. Wenn es gegen 12 Uhr auf der Koppel der Rehe frische Bananen- und Papayaschalen gibt, ist Nino Stammgast und es dauert nie lange bis er mit aufgerichteter Rute zielstrebig zur Futterstelle kommt um sich die besten Leckerbissen rauszufischen. Wenn er mit seiner Ausbeute nicht zufrieden war taucht er dann wenig später bei Nocha dem senilen und flugunfähigen roten Aara auf, um dem alten Papageien noch ein paar Papayas zu stibitzen. 
Lange verweilt er aber nie. Zum Abschied wird noch einmal keck in die Kamera gelacht, bevor er wieder im Urwald der Carlisa umbigt verschwindet.

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Carlisa II: The Residents

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The reasons for the rescue animals being at Paraiso Carlisa are as diffrent as their shapes and colours. The mammals however were mostly held as pets and were often mistreated which makes it almost impossible for some to be ever released back to the wild. When it comes to parrots ileagal trade is still a huge problem with prices e.g. for a green Macaw reaching up to US$2.000 on the black market. Just in 2017, the Costa Rican goverment banned the private posession of wild birds making it now ilegal to have anything other then dogs or cats in your house without special authorisation.

Whenever an injured animal is found or rescued from captivity it will be moved to one of the country’s 200 rescue centers and wildlife reservers.
Here at Carlisa a gang of four spidermonkeys, a shy little deer and her unbashful partner, a lonely howler monkey, a furious raccoon, two confident nosebears and a madhouse of macaws and other parrots are the current residents of the rescue center.

 

haunting memories I: the rally

along the solitude walks in costa rica’s vivid nature and during theses never ending bus rides, the mind sometimes runs wild and brings back places, people and regrets I’ll be never able to forget. This is what I call haunting memories. 

Die Mongol Rally ist wahrscheinlich meine seltsamste Reise gewesen und selbst nach vier Jahren, weiß ich noch nicht so recht was das genau war. Was blieb ist eine Serie, die ich nie veröffentlicht habe und die Notizen eines Feiglings nenne, bestehend aus ein paar Fotos die wahrscheinlich nur mir was bedeuten und einer Handvoll bruchstückhafter Texte die ich selbst nicht mehr lesen will. 

Alles was ich weiß ist, dass die Tore zur Hölle von Meschen geschaffen wurden und man dem Meer alles anvertrauen kann.

 Darwaza, Turkmenistan 2014

Darwaza, Turkmenistan 2014

When you are a sinner like me and find yourself in front of the gates of hell, it's good to remember the old turkmen advice:
If you pay the devil a visit, you better come in disguise.  

 

sometimes...

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sometimes I feel like I only have a timeframe of five seconds to write something decent. when things just come together at last. like when I feel a little sad without being depressed, when I feel a little euphoria without being drunk, when I can be honest without feeling guilty, while phrasing tears with a smile and pen down fears in pride. when I can talk about myself without feeling selfish and look at my life not in doubt but smirking in surprise. 

when I manage not minding too much. about what you might think. about what you won’t read.

 

The Butterfly Garden IV: Girls of the Butterfly Garden

It took a bit till the first colorful impressions wore off and I realized the sorry state of the gardens and the unfortunate existence of the creatures trapped in there. It also took a bit to warm up with what later became my favorite memory of Monteverde: The girls of the Butterfly Garden.

Once the last tour ended and the entrance door's been closed, the volunteers and interns who were housed on the property took over, and turned this place into their own.
Like R, the night owl and instant bar legend of Santa Elena village who would go, in the blink of an eye, from cursing in vibrant slang that would leave the urban dictionary in awe, to well mannered and refined science talk. From gangster to professor in a sec. Whenever she gave a tour, the gardens were filled with laughter and even the most botton-up german would crack up eventually. And of course G, her partner in crime who brought science talk to yet another level, leaving me even more puzzled then after R's Drake impressions and who surprised me on a daily bases with her unshakable optimism and the ability to find the silver lining in even the darkest clouds. A true science lover who sometimes managed to put her reinforcements and encouragement in an academic metaphor which already demanded a PHD degree for a chance to comprehend. Needless to say I was clueless and speechless for most of the time hanging out with these two, but smiling all the way. Luckily J was around to fill me in on the references and insiders that I would never get. J, who stunned me out with a passion, for even the tiniest and most obscure creatures, that I’ve rarely seen before. Not a beetle or plant in the garden where she couldn’t come up with a fascinating fact and not an insect in the world that she wouldn’t learn to admire. And at last who would remain a mystery throughout my stay as she wandered barefoot in fields of dirt, sorting out stones with patient hands, planting new trees in quiet grace. She would appear and disappear in the rhythm of the butterflies, beaming at them as bright as their wings every time they'd flatter by, because she was blessed with the same gift of living life at her own pace.

 
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I knew I would thrive within the solitude of the cloud forests and that I would rejoice at the ever-present strolling of bugs, birds and mammals but I didn’t expect to be overwhelmed so quickly by the curiosity, wisdom and strength of four striking animal lovers with all their riddles and laughters. And if one of you four happens to read this, I want you to know: 

Although neither my words nor pictures can do you justice, I hope you realize how much I've cherished these brief days between sunsets and rain. When you made me share dreams and embarrassing through-up stories, when you amazed me with your knowledge without making me feel stupid as you made science communication the coolest thing ever. When I knocked on your door you opened your worlds and views and let me glance at your zeals and sorrows, not for long of course, but long enough to leave me mesmerized and inspired by the wonders of nature, and the girls of the Butterfly Garden. 

 
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