*All pics, with the exception of the above, were taken within 15 minutes of each other on the same day.
Ummm, I've lived in the center of La Fortuna Costa Rica overlooking the park for nearly 3 1/2 years. I've had every Costa Rican beer from Imperial, Bavaria Dark (my FavE), wine, as well as MANY bottles of Cacique in the park, not only by myself, but with friends, family, fellow couchsurfers, random Ticos and any other folks who had nothing better to do than HANG-OUT with me and catch a BUZZ while viewing the happenings of the park and/or the Arenal Volcano. I've enjoyed beer(s) while sitting not 5ft. from where police were standing. I've never seen anyone bothered for drinking in the park except our friend ABOVE- 'drunk locals' pissing themselves and 'tourism' DO NOT mix well.
The park is exceptionally well taken care of and is the proud centerpiece of La Fortuna. During the daytime and early evening hours pretty much EVERYONE enjoys the park and at just about any given time you can see locals and tourists alike enjoying a cerveza or two with no thought of being questioned by the police... and at night, well at night, it's not really sketchy, but there's a LOT more ACTIVITY if you know what I mean. The 'Tourist Police' do frequent the park and the actual 'police police' will shake-down the guys selling pot from time to time, but mostly they're more of a decoration than an actual presence to be feared (which is a GOOD thing). But sometimes, I won't see them for daayyyys and other times, they're EVERYWHERE. That said, the La Fortuna Park is exceptionally SAFE both day and night and very few BAD things EVER happen there.
So, this new gringo moves into town and has been hanging out with us, says he's thinking about living in Costa Rica. Seems pretty cool, nice enough.
He told us he was in the park yesterday afternoon drinking a beer and the police approached him and said their was no drinking in the park. He said the police were NICE, didn't ask to see his passport, didn't harass him in anyway- he explained like it was his parents telling him he couldn't drink in the house. Our new friend tossed his beer and didn't think anything of it.
Me...I'm thinking WTF? I have NEVER, EVER seen someone told by the police they couldn't drink in the park. Hell, even underage drinking goes on.... NOT all the time, mostly during local festivals and parades (and there's LOTS of festivals and parades in La Fortuna), but it does go on, I'm just saying the park and BEER go together rather nicely......peas and carrots.
This post isn't about the 'rights and wrongs' of public drinking, it's merely to point out yet another example of the 'randomness' of LAW enforcement in Costa Rica.
In my mind, there's one HUGE problem with random, willy-nilly, 'we might do something and we might NOT', style of LAW enforcement, which DICTATES- statistically speaking, it would PAY to be a CROOK... or at the least a law breaker of sorts.... and unfortunately many know this, from really bad folks to people who do their dirty work with the stroke of a pen since the odds are pretty good they'll probably get away with whatever unsavory activity they're attempting at the time.
So, that's the problem... crime, petty and/or otherwise is pretty much WORTH the RISK and double especially when many workers here make about a buck fifty an hour and while others make millions, they're fairly confident the powers that be in Costa Rica will NOT have the resources to mount any kind of REAL offensive against them- Here's a story that's a good EXAMPLE of this.
Me, I don't want much, I just want to drink in the park when I'm so inclined... and I want shark-finning and long-line fishing to STOP and turtle egg poaching, OH, and building code violations to be enforced and it would be nice if they could actually prosecute and put AWAY the really BAADDDD people who do violent crimes but manage to be out in short order for no apparent reason.... did I mention I want to DRINK in the park?
*Just noticed, my face looks like Arnold in his 'Terminator' days......I said just the face...hehe.
HOPE 2010 brings YOU all you WANT and MORE....HAPPY NEW YEAR!
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