Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Life in Costa Rica

Day 4 in Costa Rica.  No cellphone and limited internet access.  I am in a small town in Costa Rica called Turrialba about an hour and a half bus ride away from the capital city and my port of embarkation San Jose. 

The weather in San Jose is sunny with a mild hotness to it which is almost never a problem because of a soft omnipresent breeze.  Turrialba is high up enough in the mountains that you always see low hanging clouds in the horizon.  The air is cool and fresh and all around there is nice relaxing green.  The people of Costa Rica are a laid back people with a sunny disposition.  Most books I've read about Costa Rica point to a mostly egalitarian social structure and hence a lesser amount of economic disparity compared to it's central and south american neighbors.  Crime occurs but not at the rate of say, a Sao Paulo or Mexico City and it certainly feels that way.  No one seems to live an extravagent life, but everyone seems decently well off and "tourist beggers" - pandemic in most developing countries - are pretty much nonexistent.  But then again, I haven't been to too many places in Costa Rica.

I live with a host mother and father which the American students refer to as their "'Rican parents" as will I.  Their names are Carlos and Anna.  They wake me up at 7 am for a simple central american breakfast including cereals, eggs, pineapple and possibly the best coffee I've ever had in my life.  They speak no english whatsoever and hence are a blessing for someone like me who is looking to learn spanish.  I go to class for 8 hours a day by two cute Costa Rican 23 year olds who are mostly patient and are willing to go on interesting tangents about a number of topics.

Yesterday we had a discussion about how the citizens of the U.S.A. like to refer to one another as "Americans".  Personally, the two Costa Ricans considered themselves "American" as well as any of their friends who lived in South American.  They felt that the fact that we used the term "American" as a national identifier rather than a locational descriptor was a sign of U.S.A. arrogance.  I felt it had more to do with U.S.A laziness.  Shit man, we can be bothered to say the whole damn thing every time.

After 12:30 we pretty much have time to ourselves unless there is a planned activity.  The other day we went river rafting on a class 3 rapid.  Tomorrow we have a cooking class at a restaurant which would be taught in Spanish.  Considering that the other students are middle aged or children its mostly pedestrian activities but I haven't gotten too bored thus far.  Actually I can't complain. 

I get home around 7:30pm dead tired from using Spanish all day long.  I say hi to Carlos, and play with the super-cute dog they have Pusco and the two birds.  I go to sleep and do it all again the next day.  More updates to come...

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