Monday July 14th, 2008
The Central Valley
I haven't written in a while, but I did post a bunch of pics here and here. Since I last wrote, I've gone to San Mateo for ziplining through the rainforest, La Paz Waterfalls and Butterfly Garden, INBioparque in Santo Domingo, the Fiesta Casino in Alejuela, Santa Barbara, San Jose, San Lorenzo, volunteering in Fatima south of San Jose (there are 10 different Fatimas in Costa Rica, so it's important to specify exactly which one), fishing near Birri, soccer in Heredia, the cinema in Paseo de las Flores, and a bunch of talking to people in San Joaquin. We were going to go to Volcan Arenal this past weekend but decided against it since it's too expensive. Perhaps another time. My tican family thinks we gringos are crazy because we're always going somewhere on the weekends. The families here don't really go out that much. A day out is a big event. Oh, and the weirdest thing. At the grocery store (at least at Pali) they don't put your food in plastic bags. The bags are there at the checkout counter, but we assumed it was a bag-your-own groceries type of store. At first we didn't realize why the workers looked at us rudely when we took some plastic bags - later we found out they charge 2 colones (4 cents) per bag. Oops.

Probably the neatest thing I did since I last wrote was the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. It's a bit touristy, but truly beautiful. The gardens are located in a valley between Volcan Poas and Volcan Barva. We were going to go to Volcan Poas but it was already too cloudy by the time the Volcano opened to the public, so we just did the gardens. Oh, and Debbie warned me about the rain but I figured it would be similar to Florida, just a little worse. I underestimated the rain here; I have never seen rain like this before. It usually rains fairly hard for 1-3 hours every day and light rain for another 1-3 hours every day. It's crazy.

Richard, one of the other students at my school, is really cheap - even cheaper than me. He wears prescription sunglasses even at night, simply because he lost his regular prescription glasses and is too cheap to replace them. He also has a broken umbrella and wears the same clothes every day. It's very entertaining. We call him "codo", which is a slang term in Spanish for cheap. Even though he's cheap, I think he's quite well off - he owns a plane and doesn't seem to be concerned if he has a job or not. His priorities definitely are on other things besides money. Ricardo and Johnathon left today and Mike has replaced them. Mike went to school at Pura Vida in March for 3 days and has returned for 3 weeks.

My spanish is coming along pretty well. I'm fairly comfortable talking to strangers and asking basic questions. I still have trouble reading the newspaper, understanding conversations that I'm not actively participating in, and understanding the television. But I still have two more months. =)
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Tuesday July 15th, 2008

Tony Wilson says:

I think what you are doing is great! As well as educational and you can also learn to manage your pesos. Not to mention that you were able to find someone even cheaper than you! Whoa....what a feat that was! lol
Have a great time and bring me back a present! Adios Gringo!

Tuesday July 15th, 2008

Wade says:

Amazing, huh! I knew someone out there was cheaper than me...it just took time finding them. =)

Wednesday July 16th, 2008

Codo says:

Hola peludo. Yo no puedo buscar la tienda de lentes, porque esta muy obscuro aqui y yo no puedo encontar la puerta.