Costa Rica kay ganda!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

So I went to San Jose, Costa Rica for work. Of course being the traveler that I am, I wanted to see the sights and experience the culture of San Jose. So I extended my business trip over the weekend so that I'll have time to wander around the city and maybe try a few adventure trips.

Costa Rican sunset.
Costa Rica is way far from here. If you're wondering, it's in Central America, in between Panama and Nicaragua. Where exactly? Here.

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Actually from the map it's exactly on the east of the Philippines! So how did I get there? By taking a 4-hr plane to Japan, 12-hr plane to Detroit, 2-hr plane to Atlanta and finally, a 4-hr plane to San Jose, Costa Rica. That's a total of 22 hours of sitting on the small airplane chair with cramped legs and an annoying seatmate. And that's not counting the layover time, the immigration hassle, the running around looking for my bags, re-checking them in, and all the running to the departure gates.

When I got to Costa Rica, I hailed a cab from the departure area (so that I wouldn't get scammed) and said my destination in fluent spanish! When we were on our way, the cab driver said, "Costa Rica is beautiful!" I was shocked on how proud they are of their country. Our cab drivers would've made money out of a foreigner, pointed out the trash and pollution or would've made fun of the stand-still traffic. But in Costa Rica, the people are sincerely proud of their country. I was shocked and amazed at them, at the same time feeling a little ashamed for us.

adrenaline rush!
Anyway, I stayed in a hotel by the highway for most of the trip and my office was also along the highway so for most of the week I only saw cars and road. Desperate to see the country, I booked a white-water rafting tour for the weekend. Apparently, haggling is not much of custom there since the tours are government-regulated. However since i am used to it, I was able to haggle a tour (which in the end I think was given to us basically "under the table") from $110 to $80. Savings!

Costa Rican culture is very similar to ours. I learned that they are a neutral country, much like Switzerland. They don't have a military. They are spanish-speaking so I'm guessing they were conquered by Spain as well. They do have rice in their food but they like beans too. Food is cheap whereas everything else is expensive. Being beside water, they also have they same souvenirs as ours except theirs is a lot costly. Souvenirs they have are beads, bracelets, etc.

All in all, i didn't get to experience much of the country. I did go downtown on a Sunday but still there wasn't anything worth mentioning.


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