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"It is the journey which makes up your life."

Sunday, May 15, 2005


So, the semester officially ended yesterday. Finals were on friday, and then we hopped down to the Caribbean beach town of Puerto Viejo. It was my first time on the Caribbean... it was just beautiful, and I really liked the atmosphere... everyone completely relaxed. Lots of reggae music, rice and beans with coconut, and a whole lot of jewelry vendors and young bohemian-looking travelers, but not upscaled in the way gaudy way tourist towns can often be. I really liked it. We stayed in these condo style rooms south of town, where we had our own party on the second night instead of going out. So,after a last weekend on the beach, we hitched it back up to San Jose, where we stayed outside the city in the hotel next to the airport to avoid trouble with the transportation strike. A lot of taxi drivers and transportation workers are angry about gas prices and a company called Ritere that does annual vehicle checks... so they scheduled a strike for monday. Luckily, it turned out to bea march and some negotiating, and not road blocks around the entire capital. We had our goodbye dinner at the hotel by the airport and all stayed out by the pool together late for our last night together. It is sad to leave... I was really genuinely impressed with everyone on the program. It´s been a good time with them. We said our goodbyes yesterday morning as people left for their flights. Kelly, Melissa and I got a taxi down town for the morning. The two of them are also traveling for a little while after the program. They went to Corcovado yesterday, and we are planning on meeting back up in Panama City next week. San Jose seems different to me now. Still crowded, bustling, and noisy like any city. We were choking on exhaust the entire time. The driving doesn't terrify me as much as it used to, and having been in smaller towns I look at the same buildings in SJ that I thought were a little crooked or dingy and think that they are normal, and in general there are a lot of clean and upscale places there, at least by Costa Rican standards. We north-americans are pretty spoiled with our public spaces. Do you realize how rich you have to be to keep up all that landscaping? My plan for the day was to head down to the town of Golfito, where Cooper was staying at a station for the week, so I could see him before going to Panama. I got a bus with out too much trouble, and seven hours later, only interrupted by a lunch break in the mountains where they had hummingbird feeders outside the windows and surprised me with the best arroz con pollo Ive ever had, I stumbled blearily into the town next to Golfito. All I had was a phone number for the station, and no one picked up.. so I had a bit of a time actually finding where Cooper was. I payed my taxi driver double because he was so helpful. He gave me all kinds of suggestions and helped me ask people along the way if they knewwhere a group of gringo students was staying.. and eventually I found the U of Costa Rica building in town, and he was staying there. So here I am in Golfito. Its a pretty typical little town. Not so well touristed, With a collection of a few bars and sodas and supermarkets, a school, a couple hotels. It streches out along the east side of a big green bay... so it´s a port, though there´s only one dock as far as I can see. I met a guy from the US coast guard down here last night. Apparently the coastguard does anti-drug smuggling missions and picks up refugees along everyone´scoasts, not just ours. The guy told us a lot about debt slavery to coyotes and these ridicuous, overstuffed, breaking down boats that these people try to go to the states in. Pretty amazing and sad what people will do to get to our country. I have met a lot of people down here that want to go to the states. One of the janitors in Corcovado, taxi drivers, and some of our cooks...they make a decent living here, and they wouldn't have nearly as good a life if they moved, but they still want to come. I think it's because of the success stories. I met one guy on a bus who bragged to me about how he tricks immigration by saying he is buying cars and is just visiting, then he works as a gardener in New Jersey, makes a ton of money and brings it back here. Well, I should go pick up my laundry.


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12:03 AM


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