Monday, November 3, 2014

Costa Rica - Our First Look

The wide arcing descent of the plane treats us to an expansive view of the countryside below. Mud brown rivers rafted through a lush landscape of forest green. In the distance the faint outline of the shore of the ocean can be seen. There were small patches of farms, their fields forming orderly lines which contrast with the disorder of the natural vegetation.

Small towns gave way to more developed areas as we get closer to the capitol of San Jose. The plane nears the ground and neighborhoods of tin roof houses appear which seemed to surround the airport. There were green mountains nearby, others farther off.

An uneventful trip through immigration was followed by an equally uneventful trip through customs. Then we entered the pandemonium outside the airport. A mob of taxi drivers shouted and jostled for fares. Whistles blow, scores of people carry signs bearing the names of arriving passengers. It reminded me of the train boarding sequence in "Murder on the Orient Express". We somehow managed through the mayhem to locate the Caravan representative who directed us to  holding area to await the arrival of the rest of our group. We than sat, cooling our heels in the heat as singly and in groups our fellows of the next several days assembled. A roar arose from the taxi drivers as two, apparently spurious types, were led away by the police. The sky grew increasingly overcast, as it did every afternoon thereafter, cooling things down considerably.

The bus which was to take us to the hotel pulled up and we were driven through an area which might be most kindly referred to as industrial, to the hotel where we would be spending our first two nights. The portion of the city we could see from the windows of the hotel seemed dominated by nondescript poured concrete highrises. The one structure of note is a solid yet somehow playful and whimsical stadium. It's design seemed to be influenced by the work of Frank Ghery, architect of Los Angeles Symphony Hall and Chicago's Millennium Park bandshell. We later learn that it was a gift to the city from China. With this in mind my Christmas wish this year is to get on China's gift list.

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