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Costa Rica- Barbara Petrie took a Spanish course in Costa Ricahome. She was also teaching English, here are some of her experiences of living there. This is her Costa Rica diary (Blog.)

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Costa Rica lies between the Caribbean and Pacific oceans. Tortuguero is on the Caribbean side and
Flamingo is on the Pacific. Each side is to reflect the influences from each side. I was taken directly to my home stay which is great. There is Jovita and her three daughters, Marisol 17, Ileana 23 and Laura 27. It is an apartment with 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. The shower usually is cold. There are not heaters or air conditioners because THE WEATHER IS PERFECT!! I am in San Joaquin del Flores near San Jose.
Costa Rica reminds me so much of Hawaii. They grow sugar cane, pineapple, mangoes, papaya, hearts of palm, bananas and macadamia nuts. Now I know what happened to Hawaii. It also has Hibiscus, Bouganvilla, ginger. The island is incredibly beautiful. They have trees everywhere which they call the canopy. I took a walking tour of Heredia which is the local province. There are 7 provinces and many volcanoes.

Monday night I went dancing for two hours. I was totally drenched and thinking of Janet. We did salsa, regaeton and local Costa Rican dances. Laura, one\ of the daughters was the teacher. It was great..
Tuesday I went to school, hours from 8 to 12 and we have a break at 10 for fruit, coffee and chatting.
Then I went on a tour to San Jose. We visited the Opera House and museum. I hope to go to an opera this week. Tuesday night was Costa Rican dancing but I wanted to relax.
Wednesday we went to the Mariposarios. Costa Rica has lots of butterflies and exports them to zoos and museums. It was beautiful and interesting.
Thursday we went to Vulcan Poas and Sarchi. The volcano was beautiful. Totally cloudy and then
cleared for 5 minutes. Sarchi is an artist town. They have the biggest cart in the world. We watched
men making beautiful cedar boxes, chess sets, tables from wood all by hand.
Friday I went to Sarapiqui which is a lake and we went on a boat trip. We saw iguana, monkies, guayman and
toucans.
Saturday I had to wake up at 5 to go to Tortuguero which is the reason I wanted to come to Costa Rica. We took a bus for 3 hours which was beautiful and interesting. We drove through banana plantations and stopped at Del Monte. I cannot tell you how it was to be in a third world country and see first hand how hard these people work and where and how they live. Then a boat for 1 ½ hours through the rain forest.
Words cannot describe how beautiful it was and clean!!!! It is a national park which lies between the
Caribbean ocean and a river. It was an eco resort and totally beautiful. We got there about 3 and took a
tour of the city. It was interesting because there are no roads only planes or boats. There are 800
people who live there who work at the 10 hotels and there are tourist shops. To my surprise there were
many young Americans, Germans, Belgium’s, Spaniards, Danes. I met some new friends from San Jose and we had Pina Coladas. At 8 we were taken by boat to a beach to watch the giant turtles lay eggs. The beach was beautiful, the water is about 90 degrees but we couldn’t swim and the sky was illumines cent. We were there for 2 hours and it was amazing. We watched her lay the eggs, cover them, she threw sand all over me and then we walked her back to the ocean. What an experience, almost like motherhood. The weigh about 250 pounds, live to be around 100 and do not bear eggs until they are 35 years old. We got up Sunday and took a boat trip in the rain forest and it was raining!!! We again saw iguana, monkeys, toucans, herons. We then packed up and returned home. What an incredibly great experience and beautiful place!!!

Tonight is dancing. Yesterday we went to the mall, Paseo del Flores. It
was very fun. The food court had KFC, McDonalds, Quiznos, Subway, Tcby and others with a lot of fancy desserts.
My friends wanted to get Kite Runner for their Mama Tica (the mother we stay with) but they didn't have it. I wasn't surprised since going to the book stores in Korea. I did see Thorn Birds if that gives you an indication of their books. I purchased two cookbooks for my Mama Tica. The younger daughter loves Italian food so I bought an Italian recipe book and and Asian. They were very excited. Dia De Las Madres is the 15th, a celebration for mothers so I told them Jovita could pick out the recipe she wanted and they would cook for her. She thought that was a great idea.
Today was the Fiesta de San Lorenzo. We got up at 5 a.m. and walked a few blocks. It was totally awesome. A trombone, trumpet were playing great music and there were three large costumes with huge masks dancing. The music was great and we were dancing up and down the streets. At the end was a large pinata. What a great experience. I was back in time for breakfast and to start school at 8.
I will be leaving Saturday for Flaming (beach town) but first going to Volcan Arenal. I understand the
hotel is on the volcano and at night you sit out and watch the eruption.

Costa Rica is quite European, I think. The women are very stylish and wear a lot of makeup. The daughters do not do any chores at home. At breakfast this morning, Ileana jumped up and said she would be late for work but left her dishes on the table. As far as I can see the mother is like the
maid, totally responsible for cleaning the house, washing the clothes and cooking 3 meals a day for
everyone and also working. Music and dancing is a big part of their lives. Everyone here dances and loves music, especially women. My family has the greatest selection of DVDs. Last night they watched Capote and have The Hours. I think there are more women in Costa Rica than men
which also makes it hard on women.
Tomorrow is my last day in San Joaquin de Flores. I am off to the beach and a B&B. No more meals prepared and laundry done. I will miss my family very much. They have been great to me. Today is my last day at San Joaquin del Flores. Last night I went to the bank and paid my exit tax and
bought more clothes. Then went to a cafe and bought strawberry cheesecake.

My next stop is Flamingo which per the map has a lot of beaches near it. I heard there is a lot of hotels and Americans. It should be a huge culture adjustment. I will be staying in a B&B which has
buses to and from school! They wash your clothes once a week and clean your room everyday. I will miss living with my family.
The school is very efficient with all the transfers and I am beginning to feel more comfortable. Since the school is out of the way for tours we are dropped off at different locations to wait for the tour bus and it is weird but has worked out well.

I am staying in a hotel with two pools pretty much in the centre of nowhere. I have met a family and
hopefully we may take a taxi tonight to go out or I have will have to eat at the restaurant at the hotel
and it is expensive ($6). They do have a bar so I can have a margarita. I would recommend anyone to visit or work in Costa Rica.

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