Then they pulled out their photo albums and made me listen to their stories

A day in San Jose is only a miniscule slice of its full story.  But still, it tells us some things… what it wants to reveal to us, with a few surprises.

Everything looks better in the morning.   I snapped a picture of our hotel and it was so lovely, I couldn’t help but forgive it for its rude behaviour the night before.

Loved the contrast between this pink, historic escuela and the yellow, modern school bus outside its doors.

Police presence always seems more imposing in other countries, but I’m sure when tourists came to Barrie, Ontario and see our police in their shorts and bicycles doing the Lakeshore Drive circuit, they’re intimidated too.

Here’s an oxymoron: respectful graffiti.  Windows only? “Street Art” was prevalent, mostly on park benches and streets.  No Banksy sighting, though.

I was going to buy this, wear it all over the place this week, and annoy a whole lot of people.  Not a bad return for 2,500 colones, or $5 USD.

Costa Rica has a huge surf culture – even surfer missionaries! Here you can look the part whether you hang ten or not.

We were quick to discover San Jose’s obsession. Almost every other store (sometimes many in a row) was a shoe store.

When in Rome…

This is me practicing my Private Eye skills, by holding the camera at hip level and hoping for the best.  I was tired of asking ¿con permission? every time I wanted to take a picture.

Successful PI photo.  During our time in Costa Rica, we didn’t see much evidence of “religion” besides this store and a large Roman Catholic church at the city centre.  J-M’s books told him that RC is a holdover and is not widely practiced.  We saw a few country iglesias, keeping in mind that we drove A LOT, but no signage to determine which denomination they belonged to.  Oh, and we did spot a couple Jesus fish on cars.  Otherwise, religion did not seem to be central to every day life in Costa Rica, at least not from outward appearances.  We didn’t meet enough people to determine if it was important to them personally.

I did not take this to explain the sculpture of emaciated gremlins climbing the world to ride the dove, but to draw your attention to SCOTIABANK.  It’s all over the place here – surprising!

Love the movement in this picture, the little girl feeding the pigeons in the park with a mixture of terror and delight.  As for the dude in the back right corner, I didn’t notice him till I uploaded the photo.  The next picture I took revealed that he wasn’t break-dancing – unforch! – but bending down to tie his shoe.

Spot the tourist.

We found the indoor marketplace where we could buy traditional souvenirs, such as silk dresses and leather sandals. What the average Costa Rican never wears.

Big Village
owners and crunchy mamas, Karen and Leisha, would appreciate the inclusion of natural remedies sold at this healthcare stall.

Pet food stall.  How else would you feed ALL THOSE DOGS?

The problem with pictures – Sophia and Mallory asked me why I didn’t bring one of these cuties home for them??  Because. They are tacky.

Same with the piggy banks.  We saw these everywhere in San Jose.  I have to research what the attraction is (perhaps historical) because it didn’t come to me naturally.

Lottery booths are everywhere, in the shape of a fold-out table and usually an elderly person minding them.  This lady just woke up from a nap on her scratch cards just before I snapped her photo, PI style.

Here is a picture of the mix of pedestrian, car and bus traffic at the best marked intersection downtown.  Everywhere else, the simple rule is that vehicles take priority over pedestrians.  Walker beware!

They must ice donuts like this elsewhere, but I’d never seen them before and my low blood sugar goggles told me they looked so attractive!  J-M and I shared the brown and orange one on the bottom left, picking it for purely aesthetic reasons.  Even halved, it was a whole lot of sweet.

Eating the donut was a great excuse to sit down and take a break.  Looking out the window, I told J-M, “I absolutely LOVE observing human behaviour!”  To which he replied, “Some of us call that people watching.”

He also thought it was appropriate that I had a WiFi sign over my head that looked like a thought-bubble.  Profile Pic!

Don’t you just love this?  A full-sized woman honoured in the public square.  I have named her Gordita (the Costa Rican term for buxom beauties) because I couldn’t find anything that told me otherwise.

Looks like I got made in this PI photo.  At each block you would see native women like this, each in traditional dress, with a baby in their arm.  The cup is the receptacle for your pity.  Whether it’s contrived or not, this makes my heart hurt.

One regret we have is that we expressly came to San Jose to visit the National Theatre.  We decided to shop first, go to the NT afterward.  We got there at 5 p.m., just in time to miss the last tour.  The concierge, suggested we take pictures of the foyer and the grounds at least?  There’s our excuse to make a return trip.



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