Jade, Gold & God

Trip Start Jun 13, 2008
Trip End Dec 2008

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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Friday, July 25, 2008

 I get up early and it so cool in this city. The temp is always floating around the 70's F in the day and upper 50/60's F at night. No need for an A/C here. I decide on doing something touristy and learn the basic lay out of the downtown area.

 So decide to take the public city bus to Parque Central where the Museo de Oro  (Gold Museum ) is located. It sets me back .60 cents...LOL... &  $7.00 for el museo.
The Gold museum, in downtown San Jose, is very easily the country's best, and perhaps Central America, museum. It displays thousands of different examples of Pre-Colombian, ornate, gold artifacts. The pieces in the collection date from 500 BC to 1600 AD, when the new world was being supposedly discovered by Christopher Columbus an the artifacts range from simple round earrings to intricately worked representations of local animals and spirit Gods. They are superbly exhibited with great lighting and clear descriptions in english & spanish. The museum vividly illustrates and exemplifies the past and into the lives of those indigenous groups that lived in Costa Rica. The indigenous culture of costa Rica was not as advanced , densely populated or plagued by the wars of its Mayan, Incan and Aztec counterparts. Christopher Columbus himself is responsible for naming the country when in 1502, on his 4th voyage to the new world, he discovered Costa Rica. In a letter back to the crown he described his meeting local Indians that where adorned with numerous gold ornaments.  The use of gold objects ( especially, large bird images ) as symbols of authority has been confirmed by these artifacs, various archeological stone carvings along with descriptions from 16th century chronologists and contemporary indeginous accounts. I would highly recommend this place to anyone in the world.

I walked around the various Parks enroute to my next tourist stop.
 Museo de Jade. ( Jade Museum ). I walked in and the armed guard told me it was free today. I asked her why I was so special? She said the cashier did not show up to work today.  I finally get something free.
  Jade was the most precious of all materials in the eyes of the pre-Columbian peoples of Costa Rica, and throughout Ancient America. Jade and similar green stones were worked into a wide variety of tools and jewelery worn as emblems of social, economic and political power. One of the most common forms was the so-called axe god pendant, which was suspended from a cord around the neck. The name "Axe God" comes from the form of the pendant, which replicates the shape of the traditional stone chopping tool (or axe). Many represent human-like supernatural entities. It is also theorized that it represents a shaman who has transformed himself into a supernatural being. It was here I found the pre columbian period stone dildoes. See photos. Again, I would highly recommend it also if you are ever in San Jose.

 San Jose has it all. Casinos, Legal prostitution, night clubs, great restaurants and shopping. Its a bustling city that reminds of a latino version of New York City. It never sleeps, is full of people sharing side walks and scurrying to cross streets to avoid heavy traffic and tons of taxis. It reminded me of  the video game called Frogger when I was a kid. BTW- The pedestrians don't have the right of way here.

 I take various other random pictures of statues, The national theatre before it rains. Since, I am standing in front of Costa Ricas largest catholic church and I go in. I was born catholic, but have not been to a catholic church in years. I guess this was Gods way of inviting me back. I walk in, the service is just beginning. I sit quietly and enjoyed the formalities and ceremonial procession the Priest goes through before he begins the service. Since I really can't hear him or understand what he is saying, I sit and quietly thank the Lord for allowing me to reach this stage of my life and the place I am currently at.
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