Thursday, April 16, 2009

San José Costa Rica- I’m SORRY

"Dear San José, I hope you can forgive me for my slanderous remarks."

I owe San José and everyone that lives IN and around the city a BIG apology, but especially expats who have chosen to relocate there of their own volition. Since I have been blogging, I’ve been known to use San José (when I say San José, I mean the city and the outlining areas, such as Escazu), as fodder for mine and my readers amusement, frequently associating it with a few of the nastier cities in the US, like Detroit for instance.

I'm so embarrassed I won’t even link to the posts where I BEAT up on San José and the expat community like they were my very own red-headed stepchildren- but I was frequently fond of reminding San José that it was NOT Costa Rica except maybe by default (like the red-headed stepchild) and spending more than 1 night there would probably be 1 night too many... and as for the expats who had chosen San José, well let’s just say I would seriously question their decision making skills… I’ll leave it at that.

If I could go door-to-door and offer my apologies, I would. I do have my issues, but not accepting responsibility for my own behavior is not one of them. So there it is, I’m sorry and I will do ALL I can to correct the problem, not only ‘now’, but in future posts pertaining to San José.

"Why the change of attitude, Mr. Costa Rica Travel Expert man?"

We just returned from spending 5 nights there for one. Imagine, 5 nights in San José, that’s like spending 5 nights in Detroit- why would you EVER do that on purpose... (that's an example of what I might have said in the past). It’s true we were working (I’ll be speaking for myself now, not D’Angelo), but I was NEVER bored. One activity after the other, one experience after the other, one party after the other (if you’re into that), AND we met some cool people along the way. Funny thing is, I’ve been to San José plenty of times, but just never took the time to OPEN up my eyes and appreciate what I was truly seeing. Before, they were always OPEN- and I WAS looking, just never quite seeing.

The obligatory National Theatre Picture- there's so much MORE to San José.

There ARE things to do in San José. The fact you think there ISN”T, is merely a CONDITIONED response from constantly reading and hearing such over generalizing drivel from the so called ‘travel experts’, such as myself, that 2 nights is plenty in San José. Yes, the city has all the regular stuff: malls and shopping areas, museums, under-rated restaurants (you REALLY can eat extremely good food in Costa Rica), movie theatres- again, all the typical stuff you’d expect of a big city. But what we did this time I would call more of an ‘immersion’ of San José- we people watched outside the National Theatre, participated in a protest about discrimination, talked to a local lady who was feeding the birds about the RECESSION, hung out at La Sabana Park and while there, got a lesson from the TICO’s on how to appreciate LIFE- flying kites, fishing, picnicking, playing pick-up soccer matches, boating, chilling with the family on a blanket, strolling around the park with friends etc. Not a PlayStation in sight.

Meanwhile, we walked, and walked some more around San José, enjoyed the architecture (there really are some beautiful buildings), found a really cool butterfly garden (future video/post), ate at a local Casino’s second floor restaurant overlooking the ‘shopping’ district... and the people we observed- priceless. We took in the nightlife which could compete with any big city anywhere….. HELLOOO… Club Vertigo, El Pueblo, and of course we’ve been known to hit up a gay bar or two, like La Avispa.

Think San José is too boring for you? Don’t think there’s anything to do? ‘Immersion’ doesn’t MOVE you? Well, I got news- Boring is a REFLECTION of yourself. San José isn’t boring- but YOU may BE. You’d be surprised what you can experience when you let yourself be taken by the moment(s).

I would appreciate that any email sent in response to this post does NOT mention the word CRIME- I’m over that… I’ve traveled many places in the world, and let me just say, you wear your Bermuda shorts pulled up to your nipples with the binoc’s around your neck and I’ll wear what I do…. but seriously, I don't want to hear your whining when your camera gets stolen. My original post about crime in Costa Rica as it pertains to tourism: Costa Rica Crime- it's YOUR Fault

That said, I am NOT advising spending your entire vacation in San José at the EXPENSE of the rest of the country- that’s just STUPID… especially if you’re only in Costa Rica for a short time. Furthermore, I’m not a big proponent of the ‘day trips’, with a few exceptions- INBio Park, Lankester Gardens, the Poas Volcano area, and a few others (consult your guide book). For example, some advertise our area (La Fortuna/Arenal) as a daytrip, NOT a good recommendation and makes for a LONG day, just stay here a few nights, we have plenty to do.

Go ahead, hit up the regular stuff in San José like the museums, markets, cafés and restaurants and day trips, but then try a little ‘immersion’- really explore San José without a FUCKIN TRAVEL BOOK nailed to your hands. I swear, travel books were meant to be a TOOL, not taken as the FUCKIN Bible for God sake…. yeah, I said ‘fuckin’, ‘Bible’ and ‘God’ in the same sentence… geez…. be the author of your own travel book, you'll probably find you're a better writer anyway. Try and speak Spanish with a Tico, spend the afternoon chillin’ at La Sabana or any of the the little parks located in the heart of San José, the list is endless. The TRUTH is, sometimes the BEST entertainment is in the observation of your surroundings and I think you’d be presently surprised at the gems hidden underneath the facade of San José, that is if you can remove the veil for a moment.

So San José, I extend my deepest apologies… and maybe, just maybe we can HELP spread the NEWS about this false notion of ‘getting out of San José as soon as possible', and expose it for the ‘conditioned response’ that it IS- perpetrated by faceless entities who wouldn't know ‘entertainment’ unless it came equipped with a PLUG and a SCREEN…….. controller’s optional.

This short clip is just a 'people watching' video. We are NOT making fun of the 2 guys playing the guitar by video taping them, we truly found them quite interesting.

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Tica Macha said...

"books were meant to be a TOOL, not taken as the FUCKIN Bible for God sake…. yeah, I said ‘fuckin’, ‘Bible’ and ‘God’ in the same sentence… geez…".
Forget San Jose, you'd better tell God you are sorry.

Unknown said...

I can say, 'fuckin', 'god', and 'bible' in the same sentence because none of those words carry any weight with me. If they do YOU, fine, but don't assume everyone believes as you do- I would be a perfect example of this. That said, if I see YOUR God one day, I will apologize.

melky said...

don't be sorry, BECAUSE san jose is UGLY, I was born there and moved to the US many years ago, I also travel for living and everytime I go to San Jose, Costa Rica I just want to get out of there... Now, don't confuse this comment, because the rest of Costa Rica is BEUTIFUL, really really beutiful it's nature, beaches, rainforest, villas, it's quiet amazing but the city of san Jose is just nasty, ugly. so before someone thinks is pretty, first go out and travel the world a few cities here and there and you will see the difference. even Lima, Peru is nice, Panama, panama, Buenos Aires Argentina.... and of course New york, san francisco, Cities in Canada, Europe.. but san jose is just so nasty that im even embarrass to take my wife and kids from here. that's why we only fly to guanacaste now, because I don't even want my kids to see how nasty san jose is.

Unknown said...

Well, compared to some of those cities, maybe...I'm just saying there are things to do there if you look for the positive aspects of San Jose and their are some nice sections of San Jose that are definitely NOT ugly..... but I see your point...and thanx for your comment and perspective.

Stacey said...

Hey Gang, glad to find this column. I shared it on Barrio Bird's facebook and Twitter. Nice you have a new lense with which to see San Jose! ~Stacey