Oh! Cool Air!

Trip Start Feb 03, 2006
Trip End Jun 20, 2006

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Where I stayed

Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Sunday, February 19, 2006

We hopped a bus to San Jose yesterday. Actually, we had to take a bus back to the dreaded Puerto Limon first, then catch a bus to San Jose. It seems like Costa Rica has a less user-friendly bus system than Mexico, or even Panama.

We are staying at the Hostel Pangea. It is like a secure mini-city in here. To get in, you have to buzz the door and show them your ID bracelet (actually just one of those cheap stick-on concert bracelets). Then they buzz you in, and if its evening, a security guard checks you over and then can buzz you through a second steel door. While we appreciate all the security, it makes us wonder what is going on in San Jose after dark. As I said, this hostel is a mini-city of travellers--it has its own bar, restaurant, pool, TV room, a pool table, free unlimited computer usage, and a free 10-minute call to the US every evening (although the phone seems to be down tonight). It was especially nice for both of us to be able to talk to our parents, although Jacque´s call last night was cut off, and Andrew´s had spotty coverage.

It wouldn´t be that difficult to stay here and never actually see San Jose.

We spent the day wandering around San Jose. It is not a beautiful city, but we have found it fun to be in ANY city after more than a few days in small, gringo-centric coastal towns. San Jose definitely has its tourist-oriented aspects (namely a lot of "souvenir" shops selling plastic and tee shirts that say "Costa Rica" and "Pura Vida"). However, it is easy to actually go to places that aren´t just oriented toward travellers. We had lunch at an excellent cafe, where the "plate of the day" included a root veg and shoepeg corn soup, a cabbage salad, a sort of fried rice with ham and palm hearts, a glass of some sort of fruity drink, jello, and coffee, all for under $2.50 each.

We also visited the butterfly gardens. It was expensive, but really cool. We got to see quite a few varieties of butterflies up close. The morphos really are amazing. Their blue wings are otherworldly. The best part, though, was the display of cocoons. There were two butterflies in the process of emerging from the cocoons and drying their wings--pretty amazing, really.

It seems that Josephinos, as the people of San Jose are called, are quite concerned with impotence. We saw a large billboard and another large window display for Levitra, and the farmacia we went to had a large stock of viagra behind the counter. Also, there were a large number of herbs at the central mercado that were labeled impotencia. Interesting.
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