For those of who are still undecided about living in Costa Rica, the next time you’re in San Jose, spend a few hours walking through the park on a busy Sunday afternoon between 1-3pm and think of it as intensive, crash course that will show you how the Ticos behave during their free time with their loved ones.
It’s the same as most public parks in that there are hundreds of families on the grass with picnics and their kids racing around laughing and playing.
What will be different is watching the Ticos with cars enter the park trying to find a parking space, which can be a mind expanding, Zen like “learning experience” all by itself.
You’ll discover how inventive the Tico can be as he proudly manages to park his little, red 15 year old Hyundai Excel in a place where most Americans wouldn’t dare go with their expensive 4X4.
Men with large carts on wheels – including my friend Ignacio – are selling granizados, potato chips, sodas and baseball caps..
What will also be different is that you’ll also see people cooking meat and chicken on skewers to sell over hot coals nestled inside an old car wheel which has been welded into a BBQ the likes of which I certainly never saw living New York City when I used to run around Central Park.
What’s even more peligroso (dangerous) is the people cooking on a wood fire (a la leña) which they have made with sticks and branches picked up off the ground in the park and nobody – police officers included – seems to mind. Starting a fire like this in a park in any “first world” country would get you arrested in minutes.
You’ll see a cheerful woman who always wears the same wide rimmed hat selling colourful, plastic inflatable toys, there are a few old Ticos selling their beautiful hand made kites so you can see kids of all ages dashing about trying to get them off the ground.
People will be fishing by the lake, little kids will be feeding bread or corn to the ducks, there are miniature pony rides to enjoy and some frustrated father will be trying to pull their family’s soaking wet dog out of the water without getting too messy…
And of course there are dozens of different soccer games going on with people on the sidelines screaming for their sons, brothers and husbands.
AARP ranks this town in Costa Rica as one of
On the new rollerblading rink and the racetrack, there are dozens of bicycles, roller-bladers, skaters, runners, joggers and walkers plus the occasional mini-motorcycle who all tend to go around the track counter clockwise – some with their dogs running after them – and there’s always a few who don’t seem to recognize the danger of travelling fast in the opposite direction however, amidst all this complete and happy chaos, I can’t recall ever seeing an accident.
It’s bloody amazing really, but all of this quite naturally shows you how Costa Rica is free, happy and frequently, totally chaotic!
When I leave Costa Rica to visit family in the UK, what is glaringly obvious (like being smashed in the face with a sledge hammer) is that in the UK – where we have more surveillance cameras watching our citizens than China does – it’s certainly a very clean and extremely orderly country but, the people are totally monitored and borderline neurotic!
Living in Costa Rica is definitely not for everyone but I much prefer to live in a free, happy and chaotic place than in a police state any day of the week.
This article comes to us courtesy of Scott Oliver, Welovecostarica.com.