San Jose, Costa Rica: Don’t Miss Sharing a Different Culture

“Al, I found a flight to Vietnam for only Five Hundred Forty Nine, round trip,” Laura said. “It will be a great add-on.”

We were in San Diego, California. Some how I couldn’t see Vietnam being a quick little add-on to our visit to Southern California. Knowing her passion to travel, and armed with the knowledge of her convenient excuse to find a way to get from one place not so exotic to another place very exotic, I treaded with caution. After all, the flight seemed cheap, but it was the time involved that had me on the defense.

“How many hours is the flight?” I asked with the full knowledge of my next answer.

“Fifteen hours to Hong Kong and then another 4 give or take,” she responded with the certainty that this was a done deal.

“I can’t do it,” I said and kept quiet for the next response.

After a minute had passed and still no response from Laura, I wondered. Had I used that stay silent tactic one too many times and she’s wise to it, giving me the same treatment in return?

As the silence wore on, I started to wonder who would break first. I couldn’t believe it.  I broke silence first, the pain was agonizing. I still felt confident that I had her.

“Hey, why don’t we stay closer,” I said. “What about San Jose?”

I’m thinking, great, we’ll go up the California coast, visit San Fran., and maybe jump up to Napa. With all those alternatives, I thought that this is a lock.

“Sounds great,” she said, “I’ll look into it.”

Some how, San Jose, California is spelled Costa Rica.

San Jose, Costa Rica, the once bustling Central American city where U.S. President’s, albeit from the nineteen sixties,  visited, was where we ended up. My California dreaming was over.

Arrival into San Jose leaves one, well, a little under whelmed, to say it mildly. It’s a place that has seen better days, and claims now to be on a resurgence. After an interview with one local, I became a believer. Great things are happening to San Jose.

Good or bad, I’m not sure, but just fifteen or so years ago Costa Rica was the place to which many Americans flocked. Inexpensive retirement homes was the draw. As usual with us Americans, the flock became a roar. Why can’t we ever do things slowly?  Prices quickly boomed. Then the economic crash came and housing prices have still yet to recover fully in much of Central America.  But I’m certain as we American’s do, like the proverbial bull in the shop of fine china, our insatiable appetite, I’m not talking food here, will rule. The uncontrollable desire, the fear that we may miss out on something will be in control, sending housing prices over the top again, and finally setting up the cycle to repeat itself. When are we going to learn?

Prices in restaurants at some of the tourist destinations are inflated and the quality of food is deflated. We found two restaurants worthy of praises for food quality and price.

When you think Costa Rica, one thinks volcanos, rain forests, beaches, and jungles. We get into those areas in part two of our Costa Rica Podcasts.

If you’re seeking a place in the jungle and don’t like to get your hair wet, if you know what I’m saying, we grabbed a five-star, worthy of praises.  It’s a great family resort set in the jungle.

Listen in for those stories and more on this episode and the next of Stories Faces Places. We’ve split Costa Rica into two episodes. This one is San Jose. The next one will be the Arenal Volcano area.

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