San Jose: First Impressions

I walked off the plane beaming to be at it again. I find so much excitement and joy in exploring new countries, and I especially connect to Latin America where I can strike up a conversation with anyone I meet. Usually I am scrutinizingly cheap and gringo-esque in trying to barter for the cheapest taxi, I usually ask several and try to start a bidding war, and I never go with the first option anyways. Tonight, however, when Steven asked me if I wanted a taxi I let him and another guy determine my fate of where I was going and how much it would cost and I willingly climbed into the front seat. Steven lives near the airport and although he grew accustomed to the rumbling planes flying overhead since in his momma’s stomach, it’s hard to hear the TV sometimes when the whole house shakes. He’s glad to live so close, though, because being a taxi driver at the airport is easier when you live right next door. He is in the very first course of an English class and I helped him pronounce “How are you awled?” and we agreed that we are both pretty young. He in turn taught me the Ticueño word for “COOL!” It is tuanis, as in “he’s tuanis,” or “¡Qué tuanis!” Steven took me right to a hostel above the bus station, and we parted with him wishing me well and “pura vida.” This morning I was supposed to meet Shalynn in Quebrada Gonzalez where she is working in the jungle, but right before I boarded my flight from Houston yesterday her boss Deb called me and said there was a landslide on the road and that I’m now supposed to meet Shalynn in a town called La Fortuna. This morning I checked out what time the buses leave and wandered around. It’s not a very clean neighborhood, but I love the morning bustle. I walked through the market and reveled in the sights and smells. You can buy anything in these markets, from all sorts of fruits that you’ve never seen before, to meats, cheeses, pet food, to mobile phones and ipods. I settled for a morning blackberry-blueberry-pineapple shake, and filmed some of the fruit workers throwing pineapples around to get some shots to correspond with the pineapple plantations I will be demonizing in my film. Soon I hopped a bus for La Fortuna and didn’t get to see much of the capital. The little I saw brought me into the Latin mindset: Conversing in Spanish, friendly people, the marketplace, and crashing exhaustedly into a hostel are all signs to me that I’m on an adventure!

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