Toucans, Pocahontas and Other Things I Learned in Costa Rica

26 Things for my 26th Birthday.

  1. Apparently the nightlife in Costa Rica happens in a disco club off the beaten path (literally, a dirt road) in the outskirts of San Jose.  According to the Jordanian exchange students anyway.
  2. The best restaurants usually have no walls or windows.  And they come with amazing views, whether the city lights of three provinces by night or a young horse being trained on the slopes of a rainforest-covered mountain.
  3. I love the mist.  I used to find it slightly foreboding, but now I just find it beautiful and mysterious.  In Costa Rica, the mist never stays for long, but it’s always there, gently catching and releasing the mountains.
  4. If I ever am caught in a rainstorm, I can always a giant leaf that’s bigger than my house as shelter a.k.a. the Poor Man’s Umbrella.
  5. A beach town in Costa Rica can look a lot like a beach town in Australia.
  6. Pura Vida is the beautiful Costa Rican greeting and philosophy, quite simply meaning “pure life.”  Just ask the country that hasn’t felt the need to have an army since 1948.  Lovers, not fighters.
  7. Costa Rica is not an island.  Technically we learned this in Oz, but who’s counting.  Are you reading this, Walter?
  8. Even though toucans are widely acknowledged to be a national wildlife species indigenous to Costa Rica, apparently it’s rare to see one, even if you’ve visited Costa Rica every year for the past 17 years of your life.
  9. Costa Rica ridiculously improves one’s Spanish skills.  And by “one,” I mean Michelle.
  10. However, catching Michelle on video speaking Spanish is even rarer than spotting a toucan in Costa Rica.
  11. Rice and beans for breakfast is pretty standard fare, even at McDonalds.  “Pinto” was absolutely delicious and makes me feel better for being a Filipino girl who likes to eat fried rice for breakfast on occasion.
  12. How to keep a cigar lit.  Oh wait, nope.  Still bad at that.
  13. The hustle of San Jose does not compare to the beauty of the mountains and countryside.  Downtown is not my favorite place ever, but their market did remind me of the market in downtown Sydney.
  14. Dogs are way cooler in South America.  Cesar was right.
  15. Oh, and actually, Central America is technically part of North America.
  16. And Michelle and I will be petitioning all known governmental powers to have Central America be considered part of South America.  It just makes sense, doesn’t it?
  17. What a coffee plantation looks like.  And what it’s like to drink coffee at the edge of a coffee field.
  18. Ziplining during a sudden rainstorm in the rainforest canopy can be slightly scary.  Reason?  The brakes do not work due to the slickness of the cable.  Good thing I didn’t smash into the side of a tree like Toby Flenderson did.
  19. Trying to hum every John Williams movie score known to man can provide hours of entertainment.
  20. Costa Rica has bad drivers just like anywhere else.  Including ones that run red lights and smash into us in the middle of downtown.
  21. Also, I’m convinced the butterfly effect works.  If only Michelle and I hadn’t ordered McMuffins minutes earlier…. we might not have gotten to that intersection at the precise second a man ran the red light and smashed into our right front wheel.
  22. Disney movies are great no matter where you are in the world.  Even the poorly made sequels.
  23. Also, turns out, John Smith is a pansy.
  24. The swimming pools close after 10.  Lame.
  25. They don’t sell those crunchy french onions anywhere in CR.  So sadly, Costa Ricans do not know about the glory of green bean casserole for Thanksgiving dinner.  Or any other kind of dinner for that matter.
  26. It is entirely possible to smuggle Chick Fila out of the States into CR.  Amy Powers gets mad props.  We should remember this, should we ever return to Oz, Jeannie.

Pura Vida!!!


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