11 out of the 16 of us arrived in San Jose this morning at 6:40am. Tired and full of excitement, stomachs empty, dreams in our heads. We were delighted to find that 11-passenger taxis exist in Costa Rica. What luck! In only a matter of time we all discovered the haphazard Costa Rican traffic. The silver lining of this is that it allowed us more time to gaze out of our taxi van towards some sweet mountains. Lush, greens of all shades, vegetation of all sizes, palm trees, pepper trees, tall grasses, short grasses.. New cars, old cars, mostly Mitsubishi and Suzuki, but cars nonetheless!
My greatest piece of advice to anyone visiting San Jose is "keep you head on a swivel." Vehicles will not stop for your sorry ass self crossing the street. Cars, trucks, bikes, bicycles, and pick-pockets alike don't give two sloths if you're in their way. So always be decisive, either go or don't go, but don't walk halfway into the street in pause… you will lose. Second piece of advice, get ice cream! Delicious, especially ron con pasas. Ice cream is a good way to chill with everyone. Lastly, explore! Get to know the city cuz because it's pretty small and maneuverable.
We have had our first official "class" today which consisted of packing advice, safety advice, and suggestions for dinner tonight. Tomorrow will will be heading off to go to La Selva Biology Station, which will be a 3+ hour journey and will be our first true introduction to the lowlands and neotropical wetforest that we will being getting to know for the next couple weeks.
Before we embark on our solo dinners before tomorrow's long day, a parting note about the currency and what it is doing to our minds: it's colorful, it's got animal pictures, it's indestructible, and the colones to dollar conversion rate is currently somewhere around 500:1. Many of us pulled our tens of thousands of colones from the airport ATM and spent upwards of 900 colones on ice cream Not too bad, eh?
-Sam Bagel Fogel (edited by Elise Hanson)