Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Day 4 - FLL>SJO

Date: 4/7/12
Start: Ft. Lauderdale Airport , FL
End: Tibás, Costa Rica

Word of the day: Pura Vida - Pura Vida literally means Pura = pure and vida = life, but "Pure life" in Spanish would be "Vida pura" instead, so the real meaning is closer to "plenty of life", "full of life", "this is living!", "going great", "real living", "Awesome!" or "cool!". It can be used both as a greeting or a farewell, universally known in Costa Rica and it has been used by many Costa Ricans (and expatriates) since 1956. 

Turtle Fact:  Turtles do not actually prefer to lay their eggs during a full moon. They know they are vulnerable on land so they don't want it to be too bright out. Quarter to half, on a clear night is just about perfect for them to do their business. 

What a good night's sleep that was! I wake up at 7:00 am and prepare for the airport. On the way we stop at McD's for a last minute breakfast stop - I am always looking for a burger on the breakfast menu, but it never is there.

We arrive at the airport, say our goodbyes and I head back to the good ol' ticket counter. I go through the same song and dance and ask what the loads looks like. It was already overbooked by 3, there was 2 seats not functional and there was 3 other non-revenue passengers that all were in front of me (in seniority). That means that 9 people would have to miss their flight in order for me to get on. I head to the gate a sit and wait in anticipation.

It’s boarding time. Zone 1 lines up and enters the plan... then 2, 3 and 4. Like a sad puppy I stand off centered to the Gate agent and wait for a response. "Would you like to get on the plane, sir". "Yes MAM!" Before you know it I was sitting on a plane with a HUGE smile on my face!

I arrive in Costa Rica around 11:30am (PST) and head to the baggage claim. At this point in time, I realized I did not double check with the ticket or gate agent in regards to my bags. I was semi freaking out. But then realized that I have a days worth of clothes in my carry on bag (thanks Mom for teaching me that a long time ago) and that there was daily flight to CR, which my bags could come in on the next day. All is good. As I walk up to the baggage carousel I see these wonderful bright Orange and Yellow bags going for a free ride clockwise on a black leather belt. (FUN FACT: In Ft. Lauderdale airport, when the bags arrive and first start appearing on the carousel, it's like winning at a slot machine. All these colorful lights go off and music is played similar to that you would find during a happy birthday song at a Hibatchi Grill)

I head to the Taxi Cab stand, where uniformed employes await people like me. After trying to saying "Tibas", I show him the the address, he chuckles and goes "TIVAS". Off we go. We arrive to the Widecast office 25mins (c70,000 = $30) later. The office is located a couple blocks down from the city center (park). (FUN FACT - Most every small town in centered around their church. In front of their church is usually a park, where monuments and other community activities occur. Essentially this will always be a staple landmark in any town you visit)

I arrive to this house/office all colored in green (verde). On the front gate there I is a sign with a turtle on it – I knew I had to be at the right place. As I was getting my bags out of the car and paying the driver, Suvi (Widecast Coordinator) greeted me at the gate. HOLA! I drop my bags off inside, freshen up and head out for a walk with Suvi. She gives me a penny tour of the city as we walk to the nearest telephone shop to inquire about a sim card for my phone/computer. After stopping at a couple smaller establishments with no luck, we decided it was best to get this piece of technology from a larger store in a bigger city (more variety).

After heading back to the office, Suvi introduces me to Cristina (another Widecast coordinator) and takes off to enjoy some “holiday” (vacation) for a couple weeks before she heads back to Switzerland (Backstory: Suvi came to CR about a year ago with a volunteer organization where they place you on various and different programs for a certain amount of time. She found herself working with Pretoma doing a little bit of everything. At this point in time Suvi has been my main point of contact answering the five million questions I have been throwing at her for the past 2 months. Unfortunately this was one of her last days working for the program).

I grab some lunch a couple blocks away. Knowing the basic (pork, beef, beans, rice, etc) I was able to order and enjoy my first meal. While eating I see this petite girl walk by with a large hiking backpack heads towards the direction of the office (BACKTRACK – There was to be a new person joining me to the Osa Peninsula – Paula. She will be doing much of the same work I will be doing, but for Widecast and for only a month.) Thinking that this was Paula, I was timid of jumping out of the restaurant, and greeting her. But then thought it wasn’t the best idea as I have only been in the country for less than 2 hours, and would hate to be seen as ‘cat calling” a random stranger. As it turns out it… it was her.

After lunch I headed back to the office, where the rest of the day we all caught up on life. Our room (two bunk beds, plastered with turtle posters and mismatched bedding) would be shared by Paula and myself and is usually reserved for volunteers (like us) who are in the middle of their journey to their project site.
Later that night (8pm), Paula and I head out to find some food for dinner. We stumble upon a presentable restaurant. Little did we know it had ½ priced drinks and Karaoke. We decided to celebrate our nations birthday (and our arrival to CR) with a drink and some good AMERICAN music. Coincidentally our server and DJ because instantly fond of their new American patrons. I had them decide the songs. Ironically they have choosen: Metallica – Enter Sandman & Billy Joel - Piano Man (both of which I excel at). Paula ended up going with  Alanis Morissette - Ironic . Needless to say everyone loved our singing and we represented AMERICA proudly!

We walk back to the office and prepare for bed. Sleep.

  • A quick way to convert Colones to Dollars is to double the Colones (c500 x 2 = c1000) and move the decimal place over 3 (c1000 = $2). At least that works for me.
  • Customs was very easy to go through
  • In Spanish all B's sound like V's and vice-versa.

Food:  ChiFrijo – A mixture of pork, rice, beans, salsa and topped off with some avocado.

Something I don't want to admit: I actually started to sing my go to song “Hooked on a feeling” by BJ Thomas, but after the first 5 secs I realized it was a WAY different version than what I was used to. I had him cut the song, and told him to just play anything American. What a disgrace, everyone was excited to REDEMPTION

Days of Rain: 1/1

Janet's House

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