Monday, April 21, 2014

Going from Prague to San Jose

Costa Rica
Going from Prague to San Jose (in Costa Rica, not Cali) was a huge difference and I am definitely experiencing culture shock this time around. I’ll just list off a couple changes that took me back a little…
1. You cannot flush toilet paper. If you’re thinking what I thought at first the answer is: No. Not even when you poop. Luckily for me, my homestay allows us to flush it down but everywhere else, it’s a no go.
2. Apparently if you’re white and blonde that means people should start yelling to you on the streets. Which is unnerving basically because I can’t fully understand what they are saying (not sure if I want to know) and I was warned now to acknowledge them at all because if you do it could encourage them to follow you… you mean I can’t tell them to back off? Ugh, but I am SOO good at that…
3. Overly friendly and helpful store clerks. Harley and I walked into a store today and three workers came up to us… and they did not leave. Over friendliness gets a little awkward when my responds are limited to “bien”, “no gracias”, and of course “uhhh”
4. It’s not safe to walk around if it’s dark. People don’t really want to hurt you, they just want money or expensive things and if that means putting a gun up to your head, well, maybe you shouldn’t walk around at night. Of course people get mugged in any big city… but it’s so common here that it has already happened to four study abroad students this semester (it’s only the second week by the way).
Now at this point you are probably thinking, holy crap, Costa Rica?! Really?! But, isn’t it paradise? So far I have only seen Monta Verde and let me tell you… Paradise. It is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. The mountains were breathtaking. It was Hawai’i on crack. I could defiantly live there and herd cows or something (so many cows!).

We went to a waterfall and ziplining. I went on ten different ziplines, I’m pretty sure some were a mile long… It was AMAZING! I also decided since I was there, and it didn’t cost any extra, I should do the Tarzan Swing. It was basically bungee jumping but instead of head first it was feet first, which I greatly appreciated. I felt safe walking around at night there and everyone was very sweet, but San Jose is a large city so naturally crime rates are much higher here. But even around the edges of the city you can see beautiful green mountains.

It is definitely taking some getting used to such a different culture than from the U.S and Europe, from huge portion sizes to different safety measures, but I plan to make the best of it!

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