La Pura Vida: Day 1

July 6, 2008 at 9:30 pm (Uncategorized)

My flight arrived in San Jose at 5:25 a.m. It had been a long night, ridiculously uncomfortable as we all tried to contort ourselves into somewhat recognizable sleeping positions within the confines of stiff airplane seats. My thoughts drifted through the night, slipping in and out of a light doze. One moment, I’d see myself on the ramp at DIA with the last person to see me off, Francisco. Ironically, we’d met in Spanish class my junior year of high school, and now he handles bags at the airport. My last hour in the States was spent catching up, swapping stories and admiring pictures of his new baby girl. My mind would flow into the next thought, an image of myself in Costa Rica, perhaps learning to surf or strolling through the capitol. Suddenly, a jolt and my head rolls forward – the asshole behind me, I am sure of it, had to be throwing punches at the back of my seat.

Eventually, after a few cycles of the aforementioned process, the flight attendants snapped the lights on and passed out customs paperwork with nauseating cheeriness. We exited the plane and trotted through the most illogically-designed airport I’ve ever encountered. It had to have been 14 miles of fast food and duty-free shops before finally reaching customs round 1, followed by baggage claim, then customs round 2. I shamelessly followed the two girls that sat by me on the plane; their badass nose piercings and plans to backpack through the country “for a few months or whatever” seemed like authority enough to me.

Finally I made my way to Luis, the driver taking me to my residencia. We chatted en espanol the entire way back as I watched the waves of mist covering the town retreat back to the mountains. I’ve never seen such lushness – green everywhere. Eden. I tell Luis about my family, my college, my job as a lifeguard. He gets a kick out of the last one, “La salvavida, eh? Como Baywatch.” I explain that without an ocean, lifeguarding is much less Baywatch-esque. He prefers to chuckle at some awful image of Pamela Anderson’s body with my head stuck on it.

After getting 2 hours of sleep, I go on a tour of the city of San Jose. I repeatedly find myself at the back of the pack running to catch up after standing too long staring at a building or beautiful tree or sculpture. I take as many pictures as I can at high speed, hoping maybe the magic of a photo-editing program will be able to salvage the picturesque scenes I am trotting through.

The day is long. We finally take a bus out to a hacienda and are fed a heaping plateful of native cuisine, including arroz con frijoles, pollo, carne y tortillas, bananas fritas, and sticky sweet raspberry juice. We wandered the grounds for a bit, then had an orientation at the Univerisity, Veritas. I still hadn’t unpacked.

My roommate and I managed to order a pizza later in the evening – we enjoyed our accomplishment the way a caveman would have enjoyed felling a beast.

And finally, at the end of the day, as many in the residencia head out to the bars, she and I type away at our computers, preparing for the very important oral interview we face tomorrow.

La Vista del Centro:

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