Last Friday a group from Florida came to put on a “Festival de Salud” or Health Festival. We worked together to make it all happen, and overall I think it was a success. Many people came and brought their youngin’s too, which I and other students from OSU had the pleasure of entertaining for the duration of the festival. We had sack races, various games, coloring station, a clown who painted faces, and of course soccer games. I had a blast talking and playing with the kids, they truly speak a different type of Spanish and it’s a little easier to understand.
During the fair, we had an assignment to interview adults about the effects of tourism here. It was interesting to hear their responses; almost everybody thought the effects were completely positive and that there weren’t any disadvantages of tourism. It really does provide a significant amount of jobs and revenue for the area. I don’t think there is one person who is not affected by tourism in one way or another here. Even though the city is rural, many people have family or jobs in Santa Elena related to tourism. I hope that they were being honest and not giving the tourist what she wanted to hear.
The next day my family and I woke up at the ripe hour of 3:30am to head out to the beach to stay with family for the weekend. On the way we picked up other various family members; the van was plumb full when we set out on the rocky road. Slowly but surely everything started becoming sticky, not solely due to people packed like sardines, but also due to the fact (that I quickly learned) that the beach=constant sweat. I didn’t realize how lucky I was to have the wind in the mountains of Monteverde! None the less, we had a fun and family-filled weekend.
We watched the Costa Rica-Netherlands soccer game on Saturday, and celebrated afterwards despite the triple-overtime loss. We played at the beach until dusk, relaxing, playing in the surf, and building sand castles. One odd little pleasure I realized was that fingers don’t get pruney in the ocean! I know, I’m weird… but it was fabulous. Also, I saw one of the most breathtaking sunsets I’ve ever seen in my life. I am constantly reminded of the Lord’s handicraft in different ways, and the sunset was certainly no exception. We ate fish and rice and beans with fresh veggies the whole weekend, so tasty!
It was eye-opening how many people from the states live on the coasts of Costa Rica. They really are accustomed to having “loud, drunk tourists” around all the time, and I hope I altered their stereotype. I also got my first compliments on my Spanish-speaking this weekend! It took me by surprise, but then I realized how much my vocabulary has changed. The only down side is that I am unable to speak/spell in English, so I apologize for my numerous mistakes (but not really because it’s worth learning another language ;))
Love from the Jungle