Thursday, April 14, 2005

Hola Amigo/as! Que Tal?

The title means Hello friends, what's happening? I'm sure you all know that but for the linquistically challenged I thought I would provide a translation.

Let me tell you a little bit about the Gin and Tonics here. They use so much fresh lemon juice that you think you are drinking a lemonade. MMmmm good...

Ok back to business, finding a place to live. So I spent a good couple of days walking around looking at neighborhoods. On the west end of town I only spent a half a day, but that was enough to know I don't want to live en El Suburbio de los Americanos. For those linquistically challenged that means the west side is for the gringos (kind of like Portland).

Clair, the lady who has been so kindly driving me around (when I'm not walking) took me over to her friend's house who is an architect. She's having a new addition built onto her mother's house. She's going to make it all out of bambo and mud. Needless to say the architect was really excited to do something interesting like this. I guess there was some big earthquake in Central America and the only building left standing was the ones made of bamboo and mud. I think Clair's doing it for the novelty, there isn't one straight line in the plans, all the walls are curvy. But that's OK, Clair doesn't have an art collection but her mother does. I spent an hour or so talking to her mother about Central American art.

Evette, Clair's mother said, in the end she can discern art types and the people who made them and where they came from. She said those geographic lines closely follow the political boundaries that currently exist. She is going to take me to two of her favorite museums and play tour guide for me. She doesn't collect artifacts anymore because she is opposed to collecting art and disturbing ancient places, which I totally agree with. She showed me the two she had and now I'm going to be on the look-out for fakes to add to my collection. Should be a lot cheaper! I'll post another blog to let you in on what Evette shows me at the museums.

But, back to business - apartamentos y casas. I think I've seen over 25 places. The thing that is hard here is that nobody posts 'for rent' (se aquilar) in the newspapers here. They just post a sign outside, you happen by it, and than you just have to call them. Except if you don't have a cell phone or a car you just take down notes and directions to the place. BUT there are no addresses to get directions too. There are no street signs and there aren't any numbers on the houses or buildings.

For instance the address to my aparthotel is 200 meters south of McDonalds in Sabana. Luckily there aren't that many McDonalds here and the one referenced isn't even open. But, regardless of how not-helpful these addresses are to foreigners its really easy to get around. All you do is flag down a taxi, of which there are tons, and tell them 'Quiero ir a La Iglesia Santa Theresita' or some other major known landmark close to where you are going, and then just point to exactly where you want to go. This will cost about as much as a bus fair across two zones in Portland about equal distance as well.

That is the church of St. Theresa. For those of you who know a little bit of Spanish will notice the 'ita' at the end of the word. The Ticos (Costa Ricans) throw this in for everything. For instance Vida the cat would be Vidaita or Vidatica. This really throws your Spanish off if you are beginning. I'm a little better than a beginner and it still throws me off.

I've been hanging out in Cafe Expressivo, mentioned in an earlier blog. Well there is a guy here that is a 'witch doctor'. I said, great maybe he can cure my lingering poison oak, yes lingering poison oak from about a month ago. He thought I was crazy when I started pointing at all these red blotches on my leg. He's not a 'witch doctor' but he does read tarrot cards. So he read my cards. It was really interesting. It pretty much came down to I'm a strong person, I have adventures, I will encounter challenges, I will get through them with somebody close, there will be dancing in the end, and I will be a better person. This is all in broken English/Spanish too. Also interesting, most of my cards had knives or swords in them. I thought that was pretty cool. I'm going to pay for the reading by burning him a bunch of music.

Well kids, you'd think I had nothing better to do, and really I don't. But nevertheless I must say chaio, because everybody else here says chaio and that is just so European cool.

Chaio y 'sta luego

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