Another week in paradise

This week was relatively uneventful. Costa Rica’s new president was sworn in; we’re really happy that the smart liberal won and not the religious right-winger who won the primary round. I think I mentioned that the previous president announced a few months ago that Costa Rica would comply with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ mandate to legalize same-sex marriage. The right-wing candidate vowed to pull out of the deal. (Sound familiar?) Now, it’s just a matter of time before everything gets legislated and implemented. Presidents from all over central and south America attended.

In my ongoing attempts to understand the healthcare system, I went on a mission to explore dental care. On the CAJA (government healthcare) website, there is a selection called Odontologia. However, I can’t figure out how to schedule an appointment and if there is a cost. Also, what type of dental care is offered? I ultimately called a private dentist and paid cash; it was less than half of what I paid in the States with dental insurance. The office was state-of-the-art, with a flat-screen TV embedded in the ceiling. All utensils were new and in their original packages. The only problems were that I understood nothing of what the masked hygienist said. And, as she diligently applied herself to the task at hand, she rarely stopped to vacuum the water out of my mouth. Not wanting to make a fuss, I tolerated the copious amount of fluid until I was certain I was drowning; that’s when I reached up and pushed her hands away so I could swallow. It hadn’t occurred to me that Costa Ricans had no gag-response.

Since moving here, I’ve been able to watch the CBS Evening News every night. I do get CNN as well, but it appears that they have stopped reporting news from around the world and chosen to show hours and hours of people discussing the foolishness and scandals coming out of the White House. Every casual comment is labeled Breaking News and worthy of six talking heads nattering endlessly with the same talking points from the previous hour. But, I was sad to discover that around the beginning of May, CBS had disappeared from my TV menu. Another tradition from my former life bites the dust. Now I’ll have to watch just the local news, which is, to say the least, somewhat provincial. The big stories are about roads washing out and the occasional crime and/or arrest. The problem is that whoever supplies the video portion records only about 10 seconds, and the segment repeats and loops throughout what is often a five-minute narrative. The largest segment of each program is Sports, which here means soccer (futbol). To say that Costa Ricans are obsessed with soccer is an understatement. Whenever there’s a match (partido) on TV, if I’m out walking, I hear screams of Puta! Puta! coming out of every house in the neighborhood. Since “puta” means “whore,” here I’m assuming that, unless there’s an element of the game of which I’m unaware, it’s simply what fans yell at athletes. This has made me wonder what the American equivalent might be.

Well, I’m off on an errand. My cleaning lady used a solvent on my desk chair which peeled off the faux-leather surface. Every time I sit at my desk, I’m covered in little black flakes. Weird, but true. So, time for a new chair.

Ah, the glamorous life of an ex-pat.