Costa Rica Trip 2012
- Thanksgiving in Costa Rica! Nov 16, 2012
Thanksgiving time!!! Since we do not have any family within twenty hours of flight, the tradition for the Roys is to go to South America! It is Costa Rica this year. I am hoping that Sharmila will like Costa Rica so much more than Chile from last year that she will change her mind from settling down in Zapaillar in Chile to some place in Costa Rica. That way it will be much easier for me to visit her when she settles down 🙂 Especially for Thanksgiving 🙂 🙂
- Fun Begins Nov 16, 2012
- First Spanish Lesson! Nov 17, 2012
First Spanish lesson: Imagine this: Sharmila has all soaped up her face in front the bathroom sink, already running late for our volcano trip, quickly opens an eye a wee bit, locates the tap marked “C” and opens it is full blast to get a cold wash. In a few seconds, she lets out a scream!! A few commotion-filled minutes later, the two Texas born daughters explained to her that “C” stands for “caliente” (hot) not “cold”. That would be the one marked “F”. Later, over laughs, I asked her if she learnt her first Spanish lesson. She promptly replied “Si” !! 🙂
- Elephant Ears! Nov 17, 2012
- “Narkel Naru” Nov 17, 2012
- Life Cycle of a Coffee Bean Nov 17, 2012
From coffee plantation to coffee cherries to coffee beans to Sharmila’s cup… — at La Casa Del Cafe.
- Volcan Irazu Nov 18, 2012
- Lunch with a view Nov 18, 2012
Sitting down for lunch at Sanchiri. Behind is a sheer drop of 4000 feet into Rio Reventazon. In fact you can see the river in the distance… — at Sanchiri.
- Sunday night date Nov 18, 2012
Sunday evening. Like every Sunday evening, it is a date night with Sharmila. With a few twists… Instead of our usual Milton’s, it is a sports bar at Alajuela in Costa Rica. Instead of Meiomi Pinot Noir, it is a Costa Rican sugarcane based local drink Guaro. Instead of Alexis, Nate, Austin et. al. at the bar, it is Estaban, Andrea and all. One thing still remains the same. We are watching NFL!!! — with Sharmila Roy at Bar El Almendro.
- Costa Rican politics Nov 19, 2012
Talking to the locals here during the day trips, I learnt some fascinating things about Costa Rican politics. Some of the ideas, I would contend, are more advanced than many developed and developing countries.
1. Costa Ricans are obsessed with avoiding corruption in politics. If you are elected president, after one term, you have to wait out two terms before you can be president again.
2. If youare a congressman who wishes to stand for re-election, you have to resign from the house at least one year before reelection!!
3. Outside of the three usual bodies – Executive, Legislative and Judiciary, there is a fourth body – Electoral Tribunal who takes over all law and order (e.g. Police is moved under this body) two months before election till one month after election to maintain fairness.
Some other tidbits:
1. The president appoints 2 vice presidents. Nobody has been able to tell me why.
2. Costa Rica disbanded the Army (Navy and Airforce also) half a century back to focus on diverting the money to economic development!!!
For a country of 4.3 million where over 1 million are immigrants, it appears they have made impressive progress.
- What was that again? Nov 19, 2012
- Crocodiles!! Nov 19, 2012
The art of not falling off a cliff: if it helped us from getting eaten by a volcano yesterday, it certainly helped us from getting eaten by these crocodiles today!! — at Río Tarcoles.
- Beautiful Drive Nov 19, 2012
- Room with a view Nov 19, 2012
The prospect of no more driving anywhere, chicken fingers, soda and Netflix – just what the doctors ordered. The kids feel fine suddenly. With this view outside the room, I am not going anywhere else either 🙂 — at Los Suenos Resort – Costa Rica
- It is always worth doing it twice… Nov 19, 2012
- Am I in Burdwan district? Nov 19, 2012
- Sunset Nov 19, 2012
- Costa Rica education system Nov 20, 2012
Both the girls are down with stomach virus. That was a great opportunity to meet a lot of locals – while running or just making friends with the resort staff. Today I was focused on learning about the education system. Again, fascinating….
There are 50 universities! For a country of 4.3 million, that sounds like a lot. However, most of my questions were around K-12.
1. Education is mandatory forevery child. The country today has seven schools with one student and one teacher!!! If any family is way out in remote areas, the govt will open a temporary school. Even if with one teacher. Talk about “No child left behind”. Got an interesting perspective from such a teacher. She explained her life not just as a teacher – but for those 8 hours she also has to be the classmate – since the child has nobody else to play with! Wow!!
2. To not differentiate between rich and poor, uniforms are mandatory. Private or public school.
3. Usually, there are two shifts. (My mom in India use to work in shifts in school, now I remember). I saw quite a few kids trudging along the road after first shift yesterday.
4. Everybody has to learn two foreign languages. Nobody knows why French is one of them for the first three high school years. Everybody agreed it is of no use!! New language introduced in syllabus – Mandarin Chinese!!
5. There are more teachers than policemen!!
6. Saw a few of the schools on the trip. Definitely nowhere close to the facilities that the US schools enjoy – but I give them full points for trying with limited money that they have.
7. While there is a fixed school calendar – in high school, you can earn your in-year credits faster by studying hard. Then you get some time off (shorter year) that you can use to learn new things or go for vocational training. (Cannot stay at home though!!! )
Rahul Guha, it seems the literacy rate is between 95-97%.
- 5K run Nov 20, 2012
- Macaws Nov 20, 2012
- Iguana! Nov 20, 2012
- Wet bar! Nov 20, 2012
- Casado… Nov 20, 2012
- Herradura or Zapaillar? Nov 21, 2012
Yesss!!! Sharmila likes Herradura area as much as Zapaillar in Chile and is willing to consider settling down here instead of Zapaillar. As she pointed out, it is only 4 hours of flight instead of 9 to Atlanta.
Next few years Thanksgiving will be in Guatemala followed by Jamaica, Miami and then Valdosta, Georgia. If you get the drift, by 2018 I will have her convinced to just stay put in Atlanta 🙂
- Longest highway ever… Nov 21, 2012
- Rainforest… Nov 21, 2012
It is called a rainforest for a reason… — at The Springs Resort and Spa, Costa Rica.
- Natural Hot Springs!! Nov 21, 2012
The girls wasted no time in getting into the natural springs… The 18 spas get heated by a vein of the Arenal volcano running just under us… — at The Springs Resort and Spa, Costa Rica.
- Room with a view… Nov 22, 2012
Room with a view… — at The Springs Resort and Spa, Costa Rica.
- Horseriding Nov 22, 2012
Girls ready to trot away…. — at Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica.
- Breakfast companion Nov 22, 2012
- Ziplining… Nov 22, 2012
In the Skytram. Sharmila Roy is harnessed up to hang on to the zip line. I was there to make sure she did not weasel out 🙂
- Thanksgiving… Nov 22, 2012
Thanksgiving evening: Sharmila Roy and myself sitting by ourselves with champagne facing the imposing visage of the Arenal volcano in the dark night and catching up on our life… When visiting our traditional family involves a trip to the doctor for a malaria shot, invariably “family” takes a larger meaning in life. And for the last twenty years “family” has mostly meant the friends that we made in our journey thru multiple countries, states, cities, jobs….To all those friends, we say Thanks!!! Thanks for making the journey so enjoyable that we have seldom cared about the destination!!!
- Hasta La Vista… Nov 23, 2012
Hasta la vista, Costa! Pura Vida!!
Or as we say at home – Yibbidee, Yibbidee, Yibbidee. Th-th-th-that’s all folks 🙂 — at San Jose International Airport, Costa Rica.
- Behind the waterfall… Nov 24, 2012
- Gallo Pinto! Nov 24, 2012
Nov 23, 2012
Had traditional Costa Rican breakfast today – Gallo Pinto! It is basically a lot of rice and beans cooked together. Had with fried plantains, potato dish and stir fry vegetables. Rough translation of Gallo Pinto is “Indian lunch” 🙂 I was ready to go back to sleep after eating breakfast!! This also explains why Costa Rica is always adjudged the happiest country in the world 🙂
- Costa Rica vacation memories Nov 27, 2012