Two Border Crossings and San Jose, Costa Rica

I was thinking that I’d be in San Juan for a while, but I realized I wasn’t really accomplishing anything there. Not practicing Spanish, not evolving in any way… so I left. I wanted to get to Panama, so I took an 8-hour bus to San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica.

I lined up at immigration at the border to get my passport stamped. All around the inside of the office were signs saying that I needed to show an outbound ticket from Costa Rica. I didn’t have one of course, because how do I know when I want to leave? Anyway, it was my turn and the lady asked me for my outbound ticket. Oops. I told her I wanted to shop around for the best price in San Jose. She gave me a 90-day stamp and I was on my way. Nice.

San Jose is like any other large western city. There are a lot of really cool art installations around the city, as well as museums and art galleries. I’ve been hearing that Costa Rica is so expensive, and when I saw a Pizza Hut, I figured that I could find some cheap food there. However, when I walked in, it was set up like a gourmet restaurant, and my meal ended up costing $6. What?!?

I had so much trouble understanding the Spanish in Costa Rica. At an art gallery I visited, someone had to translate for me what another guy was telling me about an exhibition that was going on later that night. I was a little embarrassed because my Spanish is definitely good enough to catch that!

After two nights, I was ready to head to Panama. At that border crossing, the guys who were supposed to check my bags decided to grill me instead about my status as a single woman. They then informed me that they’re both unmarried as well. A 16-year-old kid who was helping me navigate immigration told me I was beautiful in English and asked for my Facebook. Then on the bus to David, there were two Indian guys riding with me, and one guy informed me that he has a friend in Tampa working near Busch Gardens who is single and tall. Welcome to Panama!

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