Costa Rica: Journal Entry 3

Tuesday, July 22: Colónes

Underneath the city center, there is a different world to discover. In this darkness, I peer into a glass case. Tiny details, crafted hundreds of years ago, form creatures the size of your thumb; a bird, a lizard, a frog eating two snakes.

The Gold Museum is cold and full of shadows, a large cement building with its stairs leading to different floors under ground, not above. I wrap my teal scarf tighter around my shoulders as I move deeper into the building.

Walls full of disturbing paintings from a modern Costa Rican artist line the way into the exhibit hall. Their distorted images and harsh colors are the things from which nightmares are made. But inside the exhibit halls, it is a whole different world that is hard to image given the current air conditioner setting.

The displays are shiny and bright, glowing in the midst of the darkness. Primitive tools are displayed, the ones that turned parts of nature into art and trade. I'm convinced they transcend time. There are statues too, figures of men and women, but the women are the most striking. They have large, thick legs. It is because they were strong. They were held up. Before we took them down, that is. Before conquistadors turned the pages of history. Now, what remains is hanging on by a thread, a silent symphony that is hard to hear between the traffic noise and commercials for McDonald's. These fragments remain underground.
Later that evening, above the ground, we will wonder the streets of San Jose looking for a small shop so we can exchange our colónes for empandas y helado. The empandas are dry and disappointing, but we sit in front of the Holiday Inn to eat them anyway, watching bus after bus drive by.

For my sake, we find Pops, the ice cream place, and walk into the bright shop. Scoops of coco y dulce de leche fill my cup before we head back to the hostel, watching the city end its day by waiting for the bus.

 To be continued...