After a year of Ubering into downtown San Jose only when necessary, I have begun to do some exploring of the capital. One reason is that my friends who just started their own travel agency have rented a small space near Paseo Colon, a major artery in town. I’ve been going there once or twice a week trying to get the Internet and phones working, which is no small challenge because they ordered a completely WiFi system with a Spanish company called MovieStar; all they have is a gateway, and there’s no router in which to plug in peripherals. I have tried an extender and a cloud router to no avail, so I have asked them to get a real-life, hard-wired router; I’m praying that they come through.
After a frustrating yet successful excursion to get registered for health insurance, I went in search of a Kolbi office (another Internet company), which, it turned out, had moved. When I finally got to them and waited for customer service, the muchacho informed me that they only offered 6MB in my area. This seemed bizarre to me, since I have 10 or 12 at home. Costa Rica is famous for offering WiFi throughout the country, except for deeper parts of the rain forests. It is, after all, a small country.
The upshot of all this is that I have done a lot of walking and found a surprising number of beautiful buildings. While Nicaragua is famous for its colonial architecture, CR is not. This country prides itself for its modernity and high level of education. Whereas it’s full of stunning locations, from majestic lakes to volcanos to cloudforests, it is not known for architecture. Imagine my delight when I found a post office (above) worthy of Madrid.
Shopping for office supplies has a high level of difficulty in that it requires “street” Spanish; I can speak it fine– understanding is more problematic, especially because it’s very fast and full of idioms. Not complaining, though; one reason for coming here was to exercise my aging brain by becoming fluent in another language. An interesting problem is that when I need the appropriate part of my brain to think in a different language, it defaults to French. El is Spanish for He. Elle (same pronunciation) is French for She. I say mais instead of pero for but and meme instead of mismo for same. And on and on. When I start getting puzzled looks, I realize that my francespañol has kicked in; all that I can do is smile and thank them– actually, I could just pretend to faint, but that would create a new set of problems.
So on I go, attempting to find my place in this brave new world. I’m hoping that this year will be when I become as acclimated as a gringo can be.
Write, call or visit. Pura Vida!