To an outsider, the “research” center, set amid a relatively desolate and remote area, looks like a place for people to launder money; I thought I landed at this secret cave-like high-tech center, which is lodged in a mountain. In the meantime, inside and outside the facility, natives wield machetes and lassos in some form or another.
The “research” center has a windmill, heliport, and cafeteria. From the road, one can see more than a handful of freestanding buildings of different architectural styles in various states of maintenance and occupancy.
Flora are also in various states of upkeep. Some natural areas are fully manicured. For example, towards the mid-day, five sprinklers are turned on. In contrast, other areas are entirely un-watered, untamed, and wild.
There are gates, and stone walls where all the above mentioned are to shepherd or attract animals and make it easy to study them.
Let me elaborate on the built facilities, the flora, some of the fauna, and the natives present who are not tourists.
On March 11, 2020, when I visited the “research” center, the man at the front desk greeted me and said I could take lunch up at the cafeteria that sits upon a hill. I get up there, and I feel like I am in version 2.0 of heaven.
When one walks onto the site and uphill towards the cafeteria, there a few small maintenance buildings, either with lots of electrical lines that come out of it or some other mechanical equipment, whether in active use or not.
The cafeteria service counters and its deserted dining hall, except for the one lady working behind the counter, look spacious and could comfortably seat at least 100 people. Another area in the same building reveals either an office or a library. Outside the cafeteria is an area of ten patio tables and chairs. I saw one lone man sit near a special table with a trellis covered with bougainvillea vines. From this entire patio area, there is a panoramic view of the lake beyond.
During my visit, this area was pleasantly breezy. And with so many palm trees around, the breezes appeared more evident because the many palm fronds would rustle. The nearby water sprinklers were on full blast at 10 am, as I saw five to six men, practically all of them with water boots on, while a few of them watered the lawn and plants by hand.
There is also a medium-sized windmill on site. It is not a small windmill, nor is it so large that one of the wings can sound like the start of a helicopter or airplane. The center also has a large industrial-sized chicken coop.
Also, you can see rocks of all sizes and rock walls in various states of upkeep when it comes to landscaping, or in particular “hardscaping,” or hard surfaces in the outdoors. For example, some rocks separate from each other and become a rock pile instead of a wall.
The material that cannot hold the big rocks together can, in other places, hold flat stone panels and small pebbles in place. Some docks have lost their steps and railings, and concrete walkways have divots in them. Whenever the concrete or rocks are missing, what’s leftover is an air gap, a small cave of sorts.
However, overall, the locals and tourists do not seem to say anything about the condition of anything that is built. After all, there are animals and other creatures large and small to watch.
Regardless, from the road, here are some various styles of buildings at the center:
One building looks like a cozy two-story single-family house that could be an outpost along the United States-Mexican border. With a tiled roof, the house has a slight yellow tinge. It is not clear if the color is a paint color, or if the house is just dirty. The house looks vacant, and the landscape around it looks unkempt or wild.
Another building is an unusually designed complex, with small rooms that open to the road. The place could almost be used as an office or storage. On top of the rooms is a large uninterrupted terrace or patio, likely with panoramic views of the lakefront. Behind the terrace is a massive conference facility where a bank of doors opens onto the terrace.
Then there is a long one-story building, dominated by a variegated light beige and ochre tiled roof that resembles a rambling ranch home while blue-colored potted plants stretch along its entire length.
Another building, set back 200 feet from the street, resembles what one would think is a mansion in the colonial tropics. The front is completely gated by a stone wall, a chain-link fence, and shrubbery. In case if one breaks through the gate, one still must contend with the bush. So, you know there is a house there, but you cannot see it.
A huge shade tree provides shade to the entire front entry and drop-off area. And here is the anomaly for the region: this front area has a verdant carpet of green lawn.
The last impressive building, as seen from the road, is the crème de la crème. This two-story modern building has a second floor, composed of floor to ceiling glass. What is not glass is painted a stark modern white. There is no indoor first floor, just columns—the building sort of hovers over the landscape.
The slightly pitched roof dramatically overhangs the building– characteristic of modern architecture.
Here is the clincher–reminiscent of a James Bond movie. The all-glass second floor, is surrounded by a lush lawn and equally spaced trees to provide shade.
Let us now talk about the people present at the center regardless if it is open or closed to tourists and some animals that traverse the facilities as there are always birds that fly from one tree to another.
As there are multiple entrances into the “research” center, several times a day, a young man and woman ride on a bicycle or motorcycle and pass through a short gate that one can easily climb over. In the afternoons, I see a local man tinker with the plumbing sprinkler system, while a horse grazes the lawn grass.
Once a week or two, I see three pre-school age boys, and a teenage girl who watches the boys, exit the premises, go through the gates and swim in the lake that fronts the “research” center. Sometimes, a small dog sneaks through the posts of the gates. Larger dogs that do not fit through the gates, jump over the short stone wall.
When I walked along the main road and passed another entrance, one man from the center said “hi” to me.
Not counting tourists at the center, here is a summary of the people present right before it closed, and during the time it was closed due to COVID-19: three men at the reception; six men with water boots near the cafeteria; one lady at foodservice in the cafeteria; one man by himself who consistently tinkers with the sprinkler; three young boys; a young man and a young woman on a two-wheeled vehicle. Add the number of those people up, and we have at least 16 to 20 people on the premises, whether there are tourists present or not.
Anyway, I live 200 feet from the James Bond-like “research” center. I learn a lot and enjoy seeing what they do at that center, as everything, the built facilities, the plants and trees that are placed there, and even the natives that work or live there, are present for a reason. That reason is to manage and attract animals for research purposes, or at least that is what is advertised because maybe the “research” center is there also for nefarious and occult purposes.
Talking about nefarious purposes, if you are squeamish, you better skip over to Chapter 7: What A Cow Would Do That a Sane Person Would Not Do. If you are not squeamish, see Chapter 6: The Lone Pigs.
- This Side of the Hemisphere: Easy Access to Wildlife
- Saved by a Tin Bag
- Revenge of the Jungle Ants
- The Bird from Heaven
- The “Research” Center
- What A Cow Would Do That a Sane Person Would Not Do
- What Stands Around A Lot and Is Ready to Strike?
- Wild Horses that Try to Mind Their Own Business
- Birds Take Turns to Pick Up Food
- The Dizzying Calls of This “Concert” Bird
- The Birds That Keep Their Distance