Costa Rica: Journal Entry 1

Monday July 21- The rainy season
It was the rainy season in San Jose, which made the bright yellow of our hostel stand out even more against the spotted grey sky. I arrived to this new place after meeting my friends at the airport and simply trusting a man with a red car who only said "Lucas" to us as we came out of the SJO doors.

Crammed in the backseat of his cab (or personal car, I was never quite sure), between our luggage and my best friend, Jilly, I saw San Jose for the first time. Meanwhile, Lucas conversed with our driver in Spanish and I noticed how extremely large the billboards here look.

The more we edged our way into the heart of the city, the more I strained my neck to see. Behind the compact and dirty streets are the wide and the fresh green-blue colors of the mountains. We have arrived in Costa Rica.
There was a train that ran right next to the hostel.  Not in it's own separate area, but right down the middle of the street. There were no lights at the intersections that indicated that the train was coming. It just whistled and whistled. (Although I am not sure you could call it whistling since that word sounds fairly lighthearted and lovely and that was the exact opposite of this train).

All the drivers knew about the train and would wait until the thundering machine has rolled by. After all, how could you miss it? It was a mystery to me really. Where was this train going? Where did it begin? Sometimes a freight train engine would be the one hurling it down the street. Other times it was lead by a regular metro train engine. Sometimes was is full, but often it looked empty.

Whenever I step outside of the U.S., I am always amazed at traffic laws, or what seems to be lack thereof in my new setting. Seat belts are optional… well, sometimes. A lot of honking will get you where you need to go.  Motorcyclists can do whatever the hell they want and seem to live to tell about it.

Someone shouted "Tortuga!," honked and sped past the turtle driver as I watched from the balcony of the hostel.  It felt as if there is a storm coming in but now I can't remembered if it rained or now. That is how the city lingers in my mind currently. Caught in the grey area, right before the rain comes.
Hostel Shakti is near the city center so we roamed the busy sidewalks, getting acquainted with this new place, new culture. There were a handful of flower tiendas lined up all in a row right in front of a bus stop where a line, at least 20 people deep, waited. The different arrangements were pops of colors sitting on the uneven sidewalk. I would've thought some of them were fake except for the sweet smell that lifted off them as we past. This was my focal point in the city, when I knew we are almost back to the hostel.

We were also close to "China town" or whatever the Costa Rica version of that was.  There giant red, "chinese architecture styled" posts near where we stayed, complete with a handful of Asian restaurants.

It's weird. I never think about the international influence until I am in a new place seeing the unexpected,  like random signs in English (Happy Mango), Costa Rican Asian sushi options, and too many American fast food restaurants in the heart of San Jose. There was a sign for Walmart on a city bus. We ate Italian for supper. A random man on the street told me he "liked my style" in broken English.

After supper we arrived back "home" at the hostel. It gets dark here early so it felt later then it actually was as we finally walked down the street to the building, the yellow paint like a beacon in the dark. Across the street, in an upstairs wind I caught a glimpse of a group of woman twirling than jumping. A dance class maybe, as the moved together to an unheard rhythm.

To be continued...