CR – April 3, 2011 Final Posting

This will be the close out posting for the Costa Rica 2011 blog pages. There are many small details of our trip that I didn’t write about and so, over time, Ginger and I will continue grooming the Costa Rica 2011 pages. First on the agenda is to clean up all of my typos, grammatical errors, etc. However, we won’t be adding any more new pages to the Costa Rica 2011 category of our blog. Now that I can use my home PC, I’ll definitely add more pictures, so check back once and a while.

Also, the way blogs work, in order to read about our trip to Costa Rica in chronological order, you have to click on the calendar to the left of the screen to get to the first posting for this trip. The first CR post was made on March 12, 2011.

Blogging was a great way to journal about our adventure and at the same time, share our experiences with our friends as well as provide for us a way to relive the fun times of Costa Rica through the words and pictures offered through the blogging media.

If ever you need help starting your own blog, I’d be glad to offer my advice and share my experience.

Thanks for taking the time to read the blog.

Note: This blog is hosted on WordPress and is completely free. Send me a note.

April 3, 2011 at 5:29 pm Leave a comment

CR – April 2, 2001 Day 22

Day 22

Today is travel day…

We’re up early, showered, eaten breakfast and now are just relaxing before heading to the airport. Our flight leaves at 2:35pm from San Jose to Charlotte so we’re going to try to make it to the airport three hours before departure so we can get through the check-in process quickly (Customs) and without stress. In Charlotte we’ll have a two hour layover (Time to get some dinner) and then we’ll make the final leg to Connecticut. We’ll arrive in Connecticut at 12:00 am so we’re staying overnight at the airport because our puppy (Brewster) is staying with auntie Val in Bloomfield.

Even though both Ginger and I were exhausted last night, we had a good time partying at the Castilian Country Club with Sonya, Orlando, Carlos, Noemi, and other friends. Jessica (Sonya and Orlando’s daughter) and her husband also joined us.

The live band was very, very good. Once they heard we were from Connecticut, they even played a Hustle tune for us. It was way too cool!

Our taxi driver to airport was a tico named Willie. Willie was very talkative and friendly guy. He pointed out several local attraction along the way. Traffic was heavy but the conversations (All in Spanish) we had with Willie made the trip an enjoyable last cultural experience. As it turned out, because Willie is a Salsero, he knew several people from the Intercutural School. He knows Marcello, the director of the school and Enrique, the school dance instructor. Go figure. Again, you never know who your going to meet.

We made it safely to the airport

I’m glad we’d read about $26.00 per person departure tax that Costa Rica charges people at the airport. There were  more than a few annoyed passengers. Interestingly, all of the security guards at the airport carry firearms. We didn’t see any with notches on their pistol handle so that was good. :-)  We sailed through Customs without any problems.

Ginger had a intuitive feeling that we were going to see someone we knew from the school at the airport. Mind you, The airport is HUGE! There he was, sitting at our gate, flying on the same flight was Bill. A student we’d met at the school.  Pretty weird!!!

Bill is an expatriate from Louisville and was heading back to the states for a few weeks. Apparently, US citizens that want to become Costa Rican citizens have to return to the US every 90 days until their citizenship papers clear all of the legal Costa Rican requirements. Bill has been living in Costa Rica since October 2010.

BTW-I’m adding to the blog at the airport from my iPhone. The airport has free wifi.

We’re really sad to be leaving Costa Rica but it’s time to go home now. Now that we have friends and “Family” here, we look forward to visiting Costa Rica again soon.

Adios Costa Rica.  Pura Vida!

The flight from San Jose to Charlotte was really easy. We actually arrived early.

Now for the last leg, Hartford.

Touch down!  We landed in Hartford.  We’re exhausted. I’ll make my final Costa Rica 2011 post tomorrow.  Now for some sleep.

April 2, 2011 at 10:45 am Leave a comment

CR – April 1, 2011 Day 21 (Updated)

Day 21

We’ve decided to stay in Costa Rica. Sell everything for the best price you can get. Keep a little money for yourself and send us the rest.

April fools!!!!

It was a long day for me because I decided to walk with Ginger to school since I needed to be with her for the Salsa demonstration at 10:30.

Ginger successfully completed her spanish studies at the intermediate level and graduated as one of the top two students in her class (Okay, so there were only 3 students in the class, a minor point. You got a problem with this????)🙂 All of her hard work and yes, obsession with studying paid off because the effort moved her up another level in spanish. I didn’t test for another level because my brain is smaller than hers and couldn’t handle anymore information. Just kidding but it’s not far from the truth. By the time the end of my class rolled around today, I was mentally fried, I mean can you say, “Crispy Critter in Espanol?” That was me.

Both of us are satisfied and proud of our accomplishment these past three weeks. Anyway, as I’ve insinuated before, the real practice for us begins now. We need to keep up our speaking skills and continue to learn more about all of the different verb tenses and such.

At 10:30 am, classed halted so that the school could hold a brief graduation ceremony. Including the two of us. Approximately 6 other students received certificates. There was a large group of high school students (maybe twenty five) along with all of the professors watching the ceremonies. Even the workmen painting the building stopped painting to watch the activities.

My instructor Samuel, presented Akira from Japan and me with our certificates and asked us to say a few words. Both Akira and I did great. We used notes but hey…real men can use notes too! Ginger was up next and she shocked the crowd when she announced that she had a few words to say and then unraveled notes that rolled to the floor. It was pretty funny. She didn’t tell me she was going to do this so I, too was caught by surprise.

At the end of the speeches, it was time for our sala show. We danced to the song, Brujeria. The crowd was shocked because very few people knew we could dance. Also, this was the first time anyone was asked to perform something at the graduation.
They really screamed when both of us went into a double split and the workmen had to come over and help us up. 🙂

Tonight we go with Sonia and Orlando to the club, Castillia for dancing. We have promised to dance with many of their friends who now know us from two previous dances. We’re all packed for our trip home tomorrow morning, so we are ready to cut loose after three weeks of studying!

Traveling tomorrow

Chow

April 1, 2011 at 9:55 am Leave a comment

CR – March 31, 2011 Day 20

Day 20

It’s hard to believe it but Ginger and I only have two days left here in Costa Rica. Tomorrow is our last day of classes and then we head home to Connecticut on Saturday.

We got a notice last week from the school letting us know that because of a big influx of new students and a prior scheduling commitment, some class schedules will have to change times on Friday. Normally, both Ginger and I have classes in the morning. Unfortunately, my class got changed to the afternoon for Friday. This is a bummer because, graduation ceremony is always held at 10:30 a.m. on Fridays. Which means I’ll still have to get to the school by 10:30 so that I can participate in the ceremony and also do our salsa demonstration. I then have to stay at school for my class at 1:00 in order to compete my classes and take my final exam. Oh well…it’s all good.

Tonight we visited Carlos and Noamey (her name is pronounced NO-AMEY). Carlos is one of Sonya’s cousins and he and his wife Noamey live in a little suburb outside of San Jose. Noamey is from Venezuela. They have a beautiful home that overlooks the valley. We spent the evening snacking on cheese and crackers and sipping cool beverages while chatting in spanish. Then Sonya, Ginger and I headed back to Heredia.

We’ve already begun the packing process so tonight we’ll study a bit for tomorrows exams and rehearse our speeches for the graduation ceremony. On Friday night, our last night in Costa Rica, we’re going to the Castilian Country Club to dance one more time.

Gotta study so short post tonight.

G’night

March 31, 2011 at 10:06 pm 1 comment

CR – March 30, 2011 Day 19

Day 19

On our way to school today we had to laugh again at the pedestrian walk lights in Costa Rica. The man depicted on the little sign that normally shows a walking person in the US is running like heck. The warning is definitely accurate because we’ve imitated this guy many times. However, we’ve observed an interesting phenomenon about crossing the street in Costa Rica. If a woman is by herself or if the woman is particularly attractive, cars will actually stop to let her cross. Pair that same woman with a man and forget about it, all bets are off and you both had better get knees and elbows pumping.

Today at school, in both our classes, the professors are spending the majority of class time engaging us in games and conversational spanish. I’m finding the conversational practice very helpful. The only downside today, (In fact the whole week) is that there is a lot of touch up painting going on around the building so the fumes get to you at times. In addition, some of the schools’ facilities aren’t available.

I’ve talked a lot about the food in Costa Rica but haven’t mentioned much about the wonderland of drinks here.

In addition to the normal americanized beverages (Coke, Sprite, etc.) there are numerous other typical drinks as well. On our trip we’ve tasted various juices from fruits that we’d never heard of before: Cas, Tamarinda, Gauanabana, and Chan to name a few. Chan is one of the most unusual drinks I have ever seen. It looks like a glass filled with fish eggs. However, it turns out that Chan is very good and is thought to be a good drink to ease stomach ailments. The little ingredients in the drink that look like fish eggs are actually the seeds of the plant. Another new experience for me was the drinking of beer with ice cubes in the glass. Who would have thunk it? It’s actually not bad. I guess this is a throwback custom from a time when refrigerators weren’t plentiful or efficient.

Today for a treat we had an ice cream sandwich named “Trits” OMG. I’m not kidding, the taste of Trits is indescribable. It’s not like anything you’ve had that is purchased outside of a gourmet ice cream shop. It comes in a little plastic tub similar to “I can’t believe it’s butter.” Thats where the similarity ends. Inside the container you discover the amazingly fresh tasting ice cream sandwich. Trits fly off the shelves so usually there are only one or two in the ice cream freezer at the store. Luckily, there were two left today. We bought one and Ginger cut it into quarters and we shared the delicacy with our friends.

After school today, we decided to head home directly so that we could start to do some pre-trip packing because have plans to go out Thursday night. We also have to think about giving a brief speech at our graduation ceremony on Friday and to also to prepare to perform an impromptu salsa routine. It should be fun.

That’s all from the Costa Rican front for today.

C-u soon…

March 30, 2011 at 8:55 pm Leave a comment

CR – March 29, 2011 Day 18 (Updated)

Day 18

(Updated)

As we get closer to the end of our time here in Costa Rica, I’m finding less and less to write about that is much different than the last two weeks. Therefore, my remaining posts regarding our trip will be the standard report on the daily happenings but also a little more about our general observations on travel, language acquisition and the whole idea of the “Immersion Experience.”

Today was a good day for me in class. The concepts are starting to click and I’m a lot more confident speaking in spanish than I was before coming to Costa Rica. No verbal snafus to report today. Everyday I’m impressed with how well Ginger can carry on conversations in Spanish. At breakfast today, she said the morning prayer in spanish. Our mama tica taught us this prayer last week. Now the pressure is really on.

We took a Salsa class after school today and then headed over to meet Sadie. Sadie is a manicurist and Ginger had an appointment to get a Pedicure. She invited me to get one too but…. We’ll, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for getting in touch with my feminine side and all that but this seems a bit too close to the feminine side for my comfort. I know, I know, REAL MEN can get pedicures too but…hey, what can I say.

While Ginger pampered herself, I went back to a local music store to check out and listen to some Tipical Latino music. On the way to the music store, I stopped in at a little sporting shop and bought a cheap backpack. One of the regrets I have on this trip was in not packing a small backpack for daily use here in costa Rica. I did bring a nice shoulder bag with on the trip but it just wasn’t what I needed. By the way, in case you don’t know, I’m a “Bag Man.” I love bags and gadgets. All kinds of bags and all kinds of gadgets. One might say that I love to tinker with gadgets and I seem to be on an endless quest to find the perfect MAN BAG. More about this in another post. This new bag will be given away when I return home. As I said, it’s functional but cheap. At the sports store, I was able to converse with the shop owner and her son in spanish and make my purchase without any problems. This felt really good.

From the sports shop, I headed over to the music shop and bought two CD’s. One of the CD’s is Tipico Latino and the other is Electronico music. While I’m not a fan of Electronico music per se, this genre of music offers me an opportunity to practice my DJ mixing skills. For those of you that don’t know, I have a DJ business and DJ as a hobby in my spare time. Check out my webpage at DanceAbassador-com. I put in (-com) at the end of the address rather than (.com) because WordPress strips out links from my posts. I’m still not sure why this happens. Anyway, I had a great time chatting with the two guys that worked in the store.

I then headed over to pick Ginger up and we walked home in a hurry because it looked like it was going to rain.

We once again, tonight we went dancing at Tipico Latino and had a great time. On the way to the club, the taxi driver drove like he was nuts. Literally, he was driving 60 miles an hour through the city. He went through stop signs and at one point zoomed by a police car. We didn’t say anything because we thought, hey, this must be normal in Costa Rica.

When we told our mama tica about the taxi experience, boy was she upset. She said that this was a serious problem with some taxi drivers in CR and that she was going to lodge a complaint. She told us that if that ever happens to us again, tell the driver to stop immediately then get out of the car and refuse to pay. Okay….

Later that evening as we were leaving the club, we headed outside to catch a taxi home. Parked outside of the club was a plain white car with no taxi lights, taxi numbers or other legit markers on it. “He said you if you need a taxi, I can give you a ride.” I said thanks but no thanks (I was really thinking Uuh..a..I don’t think so). When we declined he looked pretty annoyed. The lady bouncer at the front door tried to convince us it was okay to go with him. Yes that’s right a HUGE lady bouncer. At that point, we just ignored them both and finally flagged down a real RED taxi. We’d been forewarned to only take the red taxi’s in Costa Rica and to never, ever get into an unknown, unmarked car under any circumstance. Were glad we listened.

We made it home safely.

Chow!

March 29, 2011 at 9:15 pm Leave a comment

CR – March 28, 2011 Day 17

When we got to school today, there were a ton of new students starting classes. Both Ginger and I had one new student each added to our classes for a total of three students including us, in each of our classes. Ginger has a new teacher and so far likes her a lot. I have the same teacher that I started with. My new classmate is from Arizona and Ginger’s is from Montreal.

We decided to head home early today so that we wouldn’t feel so rushed to get homework done before dinner. I’m happy that now I can comfortably identify when to use “Por or Para.” In spanish, both words mean “for” but each has different uses in spanish. YIKES!

My verb conjugation is still Cro-Magnon but I’m making steady progress. Today, Ginger introduce me to her new classmate. At one point in the conversation I was thinking in my head to ask her, “How long will you be in Costa Rica.” Instead to my horror what came out in spanish was “How much do you cost?”

….SH@#$T !

Fortunately, she is very nice lady and as a red faced Ginger tried to deftly intercept my linguistic blunder, she said she understood what I was trying to ask. Whew! I didn’t get slapped or thrown out of the school for propositioning another student. Get it…how much do you cost? I guess you had to be there. I rarely spoke for the rest of the day. Just kidding.

The hard part now is figuring out how to tap into my vocabulary database when speaking. As I mentioned in an earlier post, both Ginger and I have a fairly extensive spanish vocabulary and score well on tests. Now it’s the conversational spanish that will be our next challenge.

That’s all for tonight.

March 28, 2011 at 5:15 pm 2 comments

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