Monday, 4 November 2013


First day realisations after exploring San Jose.
1. The usual ignorant expectation of the average Brit abroad that says "everyone speaks English" doesn't really make life easy in Costa Rica.  Wish I'd brushed up on a bit of Spanish before we came because my most useful phrase at the moment is "no hablo español".
2. The combination of not speaking the native tongue and being vegetarian makes things even more confusing each time we eat, especially as not eating meat is quite an alien concept here.  Saying "soy vegetariano" really causes some puzzled looks as they try to work out why I am claiming to be a vegetable!  This abstract declaration does however seem to be more plausible to a Costa Rican than the inexplicable thought of someone not eating meat!
3. I have never drank coffee before.  Well I have, lots of times, but this is the best way to emphasise how delicious it tastes.  Maybe my high expectations made it taste that good but either I may as well give up drinking it at home, we will never reach this level again.

So anyway, I wouldn't say there's a lot to see and do in San Jose but I also think it doesn't really matter.  The easy going, laid back way of life here seems to appeal to my unstructured approach to meandering around the city.  The city as a whole seems very social, there's not the tense urgency you get in most big cities.  The streets are very much lived in rather than somewhere to inconveniently dash through.  A traditional Costa Rican rice, beans and fried banana for breakfast and then spent a good 10 hours wandering between parks, markets and cafes.  Had a nice moment in a tiny little local drinking hole we stumbled upon, it was the kind of place you think "is it wise to come in here?" as you walk through the door.  There's graffiti all over the walls and the seating is a bench made of upturned beer crates.  There's a few locals in there drinking beer and knocking back tequila, the tequila probably helps them to override the stench of fish wafting through from the markets next door.  I flex the full extent of my Spanish vocabulary by asking for "dos cerveza por favor" but then the barman won't take my money because the fella next to me at the bar has decided to pay for me in an act of random kindness.  I could see no motive or reason to do so except he was a nice fella and he just felt like it, he turned round and nodded to us, finished his drink and buggered off.

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