Trip Start May 07, 2012
5Trip End May 19, 2012
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Where I stayed
Hotel Casa Conde
We decided to explore outside of our hotel yesterday. It's a whole different world. A little scary...but don't worry we were in a group of people and one of them is currently employed as a security guard. The housing seemed rough and we saw mounted police.
Today, we walked a lot! We toured San Jose on foot. We first got to see three of the five cathedrals in San Jose which are oriented throughout the city in a shape of a cross. All the altars in the church face east and this is used as a guide for the locals to determine where they are. Interestingly, the churches are also in the shape of a cross. The churches were beautiful! Next, we visited the National Theater. Costa Rica was influenced greatly by European trade for coffee and the Costa Ricans wanted to experience this for themselves and so they built an elaborate theater with a floor that raised. Very impressive technology for the time period, I would say. Interestingly, there were hidden rooms where those who were not able to go into public for certain reasons, possibly related to death of a spouse, could experience whatever the theater was offering since it was not an everyday occurrence. Those who sat in these hidden rooms couldn't even see the performance. They could only see the the crowd and this was a source of information of who came to see the show and what people were wearing. The majority of the theater was made out of marble but the area is very earthquake prone and so much of the architecture is now simulated marble which is made of cement and eggs which were ironed to look like marble. There is a famous painting on the ceiling that is all wrong. They show coffee on the coast, the bananas carried upside down, and the women were dressed as Italians. This is sort of a joke to the Costa Ricans as it does not correctly depict Costa Rica. Elliot was very impressed with the flooring (now this coming from the guy who is obsessed with all the razor wire...he's a criminal justice major...and there is a lot of it as well as bars over the windows...also their seems to be a lot of security guards). The flooring had multiple types of wood and was angle in nice patterns. It had to have taken forever!
After some more walking, went to the market which was like a warehouse with lots of little vendors inside. You could purchase anything from souvenirs to herbs, to raw meat. It was here that we had lunch. The lemonade was awesome!!! It was sort of frozen. I'm not sure what we ordered but it was good! This was the first time that we really experienced someone who couldn't speak English. Here at the hotel, the majority of the staff we can communicate in English.
Finally, we explored the gold museum. The gold here was first taken by the spanish and then later stolen from graves. It is no longer allowed to have gold in your homes. The process by which gold figures are created was interesting. Beeswax and clay are used to develop molds for the gold.
We walked a little more before we finally caught the bus and rode home. We passed a man-hole spewing black water (sewage). Lovely.
This evening we went up the mountain to a restaurant to eat. It was awesome to see the Central Valley all lit up at night! We enjoyed an authentic Costa Rican meal with black beans, rice, chicken, beef, fried plantains, coconut balls, fried yucca balls, along with much more. After dinner, we enjoyed a nice folk show. We even got pulled into the show to dance along! :)
All in all, it's been a long two days but we have enjoyed every minute of it. Next chance, we get to post we will. Ciao!