Last week in Language School

Santa Ana Travel Blog

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January 18

Occasionally we rode the city buses to get places. We were the only gringos on them. A polite gentleman tried to help us, but it took me quite a long time to communicate what I wanted to say. If you don't get the right accent, the word is not clear. So, I think we are beginning to establish the pattern we will follow for the rest of our trip which is to travel at ground level with occasional trips to the swanky level where everyone is a tourist.

Last night, we had about three hours of heart to heart with Jeanette about her family and her first husband and about the way the ticos still feel about the Spanish.

Today was our last day as students. It's amazing how much was packed into our heads in the last two weeks. I can actually speak, somewhat extemporaneously, in class now for 15 minutes solo! I have also started writing a cuento (tale) in Spanish that was inspired by our visit to the contemporary art museum with Stephen's teacher, Luis. There were many installations by Nicaraguan artists that were incredibly powerful. War has been a way of life for so many of these people and for so long. Every family in Nicaragua has lost a son or a father of a brother or a cousin. Luis is very simpatico and helped us see the art through the eyes of a Central American. He has worked with indigenous people in Guatemala and his girlfriend is from a Guatemalan refugee family that lives here in Costa Rica. He also knows a lot about pre-Columbian history and spirituality, which enriched our visit to the jade museum. All of our discussions were in Spanish, of course! I don't mean that the language just rolls off our tongues with fluidity; we still struggle to find the right tense, the agreement, etc. It's just that we are doing a hell of a lot better than we were two weeks ago!

Yesterday I tried to make a phone call on a public phone and didn't get through. Right after I lost my 10 colone coin and was cut off, the phone rang. I figured it was the operator, but it turned out to be a very fast-speaking woman who wanted me to get her husband who was selling fruit out of the red truck, parked near the church! I got as far as the red truck and the church, then chickened out and handed the phone to a native.

Today was, I hope, our last day visiting the city of San Jose. We went in to get our rental car and had a hell of a time getting to the big market at which Ruth and Ed (friends we will visit in Nosara) had asked us to buy some things. Between Stephen and me, we've been in a lot of cities in the world, from New York to Paris to the old Dubrovnik to Copenhagen to Amsterdam, Essen, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, Florence, Tokyo, even Pittsburgh, White Plains, or Zarragoza, but we can't think of one city we would less like to live in than San Jose, Costa Rica! Sorry, folks, the Costa Rican people are warm and friendly, but their capital city is another story, except for the museums, the Teatro Nacional, and the oasis of the Hotel Grano de Oro.

So we have gotten our standard shift Toyota Tercel con aero condicionado and we're ready to be on our way. We're heading for the aerial tramway that goes quietly through the treetops in one of the rainforests. We're going to try to hit a B&B near it tomorrow night so we can get the 6:00 a.m. ride the next day to be in the "canopy" the with all the early morning songbirds.
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Santa Ana
photo by: inka76