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An Uninspiring day in San Jose, Costa Rica

May 8, 2012

To me, my hotel is beautiful. It isn’t a 5-star resort but it has character. I have a fluffy king-sized bed and a huge en-suite bathroom. There are 10ft ceilings, dark hardwood doors, and attractive tile. A common room downstairs has sun beaming down on two tables surrounded by tropical plants. Not bad for less than $50/night. The only thing this place seems to be missing is the social atmosphere of travelers in the common areas.

I’m hard-pressed to find anyone at the hotel to keep me company while I wander around San Jose so I leisurely eat my breakfast in the sun and head out alone. After some time I come across a park and spot a lone fellow traveler with reddish-blond hair carrying around his full-sized backpack. I introduce myself inquiring if he in fact speaks English. He does – he’s German. I invite myself to spend the day with him wandering around San Jose. He somewhat reluctantly agrees. He seems tired from his endless search for cheap and decent accommodations.  In a different circumstance I probably would have went along my way but he’s the first obvious traveler I’ve seen all day – and San Jose has been anything but exciting thus far. I walk him back to the backpackers hostel across from my hotel and he wearily gives up his search.

We pick a direction and head back out into the city. I find out that my new friend is a Software Engineer and that he’s even less excited about art galleries and museums than I am – which is a shame since it turns out the rest of the other “highlights” in the city centre are government buildings. There are a few small parks scattered around the city and make our way to every one.  The most entertaining of the parks has a centre dome with what I have determined is the unofficial training ground of busker wannabes. We stand in the dome for a long time waiting out the rain and watch the spectacle. There are three jugglers who are trying to master their craft – I dodge a baton or two. Two unicyclists fall over frequently. An aspiring magician shows us trick and I know exactly how he did it. When we lose interest in the buskers we brave the rain and continue our journey.

I impress my friend with my broken Spanish as I translate for him at shops. A Canadian assisting a European with a language – impossible! Apparently I continue to retain some Spanish from my days living in Mexico as a teenager. I can barely form complete sentences as the words don’t come automatically but I understand most of transaction-type conversations. Hopefully being in Central America for another 3 weeks will jog my memory even more! But for the time being I can’t wait to get out of San Jose!

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