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11 March 2010

Over the Mountains, Through the Woods, and into San José

2:30 PM. Wednesday, March 10. Peace Corps Office, San José.

We just arrived in San José after an 8-hour journey. The bus ride wasn't bad; I drank some ginger ale to keep my stomach settled after our big lunch atop the cerro. (A good tip!) We each got a good amount of sleep on the bus ride. The day began early in Agua Buena; I groggily turned off my 5:40 cell phone alarm and soon got out of bed to get ready. It was a cloudy and humid morning. We got our stuff together, walked to the bus stop (Christina said hi to some neighbors that she knew), and it was soon good-bye Agua Buena!

The bus stopped in Perez, then went into the mountains. We ate at a cafeteria/restaurant perched high in the mountains about 1.5 hours south of San José. There were huge sweeping windows providing an expansive view, with hummingbird feeders hanging just outside that attracted about a dozen hummingbirds. Spectacular.

It was hot in San José when we arrived. We took a taxi from the bus station where we were dropped off to the Coca-Cola bus station, then grabbed a bus from there to the Peace Corps office, where we are now.

I met Bethany, Megan, Dom, Georgina, John, David, and Jenn, and the receptionist Olga. They're preparing for a big women's conference that they're putting on tomorrow. The internet wireless was down, but the desktops had connectivitiy so I was able to check/confirm my walking tour around downtown San Jose tomorrow.


6:15 PM. Escazu.

We spent our first hours in San José at the Peace Corps office. Christina and I grabbed a second lunch at a nearby restaurant, Picante, which is an upscale analogue to Chipotle - fresh, clean, organic (and priced like it). I had a burrito and tried their spiciest sauce, which was yellow but had a bite that took a few moments before kicking in. Good food nonetheless.

San José is a chaotic city. There are no pedestrian crossings, traffic just goes when it goes (and you gotta get out of the way). The buses come frequently but are bumpy on the ride and can get crowded. They are just converted old school buses - definitely not as comfortable as the coaches that I'd been riding on for the past few days. There are no bus schedules, and no central transit agency as far as I can tell. However, I do like that the bus driver has a large collection of coins and quickly gives out change to each passenger who gets on.


7:30 PM.

Anna-Maria and her boyfriend Luis have gone out to the groceries. Christina just got out of the shower. We're already tired and seem ready to go to bed because we've got yet another early morning tomorrow (almost every morning so far has been an early one). We're watching a TV show on Food Network with Bobby Flay about the cuisine of Ireland. I caught the world news in German on DW-TV. This apartment was a bit of a walk to get to, especially all the way from the park. The park is kinda like San José's Hyde Park - a big expanse of green space in the middle of the city. There is definitely a lot to do here, compared with the smaller cities in the rest of the country. Apparently Costa Rica has only about 4 million people (less than LA).

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