Wowâ€¦Que dia! We started out fairly late today, around 10a. We wanted to focus on the city....to explore every nook and cranny....to discover its treasures and best kept secrets....ALL ON FOOT! Together with a handy-dandy Fodorâ€™s Costa Rica 2009 guidebook, we clocked in miles and miles and miles and miles and miles of sightseeing. No joke....no taxi....no bus....just good ol' Flintsone foot power.
Our route took us as far south as Museo Nacional, as far west as Mercado Central, and as far east as Parque Nacional.
The city and itâ€™s sights are surprisingly â€śwalkable.â€ť Each block seems shorter than I know it to be compared to home, though narrow and congested, which is why we found ourselves nearly passing a sight or two. But the biggest reason why we walked on for miles on end was simply because not all the streets are labeled.
City of San Jose
Although we did notice that the odd-numbered calles/avenidas are found on the eastern side of city, and the even-numbered ones are found on the western side of the city....the theory worked most of the time. But oneâ€™s spider senses and vigilant eyes are still the number one tools for navigation. And Darwin is turning out to be a good Tom Tom or Garmin, whichever yaâ€™ll out there prefer. And look both ways, then look again, before crossing the street; most streets are one-way streets, so most cars yield instead of making a complete stop for pedestrians.
We noticed that there isnâ€™t a whole lot of tourists around town, well, not conspicuously, anyway. The diversity is surprisingly low, unless we just didnâ€™t wonder far enough. And knowing basic Spanish is REALLY helpful and much appreciated by the locals, so try to know more than just the phrase, â€śdonde esta es la biblioteca,â€ť which will get you next to nowhere fast.
Iâ€™ve learned that carrying a photo ID is a must if you use a credit card, but using cash is better. However, its been a challenge to adjust to the conversion values since youâ€™re dealing with hundreds of Colones to the Dollar. We have also been challenged on the tipping custom here....to give or not give, that is still the question. And wear sunblock even though its overcast out, because Darwin fried without even knowing it.
Mostly all of the sights are shrouded with construction, masking the greenery; also there are no water on the city fountains....maybe the city is also experiencing drought. But I am disheartened by the lack of luster and grandeur from the cityâ€™s historic buildings....they seem to fade into the background, instead of structures representing or exuding pride.
Correos de Costa Rica
You can still feel and imagine the importance and care placed on those buildings during those plantation days, to which have now fallen to the ravages of time and commerce, but are just waiting and bursting to be restored and rediscovered. At least some preservation have been spent for those century-old houses turned hotels.
Tip: Good dinner at an pseudo-Pan-Asian restaurant is Tin Jo, located around Barrio La Soledad.
To add on to my fear of flying, this recent Air France tragedy is not helping....AAAACCKKK!