Thursday August 21st, 2008
Ramblings from Costa Rica
Costa Rica won their match against El Salvador as part of qualifying for World Cup 2010 in South Africa (I watched the game last night). It's still two years away, but already a big topic in the news. Also, a popular topic is Maria Jose Castillo of Latin American Idol, who's made it to the final six contestants and is from Heredia. Not getting as much attention here, unfortunately, is the olympics. I love watching the olympics and wish there was better coverage, but I do hear about Michael Phelps and his phenomenal winnings. Since I had picked up swimming recently, I really wanted to watch the races in the olympics. Oh, well, I'm sure I can find them on the internet. And finally, the other item of interest is the economy. Inflation in this country was 11% in the last two months. Since I've been here, I've seen the colon to dollar exchange rate go from 470:1 to 550:1 and the prices go up in restaurants, bus fares, and the internet cafe.

I wanted to touch on the security problem here in Costa Rica. I'm not trying to say Costa Rica is bad, but everyone has problems, and this is one of theirs (their other problem is the condition of the roads). Society problems are interesting because of their complexity, but it's also interesting that everyone seems to understand the root cause. But first, let me explain. I'm constantly told to be careful when going out at night, and it's not just because I'm a foreigner. I thought this at first, but people tell me they, themselves, try not to leave the house at night and avoid San Jose as much as possible. Of course, this is coming from the people of San Joaquin, which is a pretty tranquil town. Nonetheless, the bars, and sometimes barbed wire fence, around the houses and buildings is an unpleasant scar on cities that could, otherwise, be much more visually appealing. There are some wonderful homes that could have great views of the surrounding mountains but instead you can only see the wall and barbed wire. It is really frustrating for me to see such a beautiful country have to do this. Everyone says that fifteen years ago things were different. The number one cause of the security problem and changes, according to the people around town, are the foreigners entering the country, namely the Nicaraguans. Now, there is probably some truth to this, but I find it hard to believe that the influx of these foreigners is the major cause, or for that matter even a somewhat significant cause. But it seems to be a consistent opinion. The other cause people bring up is the lax laws. This seems to be a logical reason until you realize that the law was the same fifteen years ago when theft wasn't a problem. Anyway, this is just something I like to think about. My initial feeling is that it seems to just be an evolution of the culture. As the country becomes more populous, richer and money becomes more important, the poorer people will go to extreme measures to obtain money. A similar societal question is why the murder rate is so high in America. Hmmm, I guess I didn't really have a point to this, just rambling. I'm sure there have been some well-investigated studies on this topic, which I should read. Someday.

Things I've noticed, learned, or became more aware of: The more I learn Spanish, the worse my English becomes. Rain in Florida does not compare to the rain in Costa Rica. You meet great friends quickly when placed in different situations. Verb conjugation is insane. Learning another language is actually a lot of fun. Becoming fluent in a language cannot be done in three months. The rest of the world doesn't like Bush. Living in a small town is wonderful. Living in another country is a great experience. It's a good feeling breaking your typical routine.
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Thursday August 21st, 2008

Dad says:

Hey, Bolt won the 100 and 200m sprints. He's six foot five and a sprinter, something to behold. A feat comparable to the swimming junket by Phelps.

Monday September 01st, 2008

Leslie says:

Wade---your pics are amazing! Makes me feel like I am there. Looking forward to hearing all about it in person.

Thursday September 11th, 2008

Ali Karrels says:

Glad your having a wonderful experience.

Thursday September 11th, 2008

Tony says:

Wade, when are you going to update this blog? And, when are you coming back to the United States?

Friday September 12th, 2008

Wade says:

I'll be back in the USA on Sep 28. And, Tony, just for you, I'll add some updates soon.

Wednesday October 08th, 2008

Tony says:

I'm glad to see that you have updated! By this time you should be back in the US of A! I would write this in Spainsh....but, you know how I hate a show-off!