Walden World

The wacky and wonderful tales of Beth's and Catherine's global adventures. And all things Walden too.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Here and There - Revised

Strange is our trip. Last year we loved CR like a infatuted young man after his glance of a mature woman of his dreams. The CR I love is still here, but is being choked out by the many weeds in this garden of paradise.

The monkeys hang from trees looking at you watchfully but curious none the less. Ticos still pick you up in cars to ward off harm and so many small rivers flow like delights.

But now learning and seeing more about the rainforest and the course of massive constructions, I see that CR is being drained and washed away through the erosion of development. 70% of beachfront land is owned by foreigners; all hotels with the exception of two we have stayed in are owned by Europeons or Americans; the Ticos all work as maids and servants: They drive for you and clean for you but do not own their own inheritance.

Ex-pats fill the bars, hotels and properties complaining about the weather, the prices and the attitude they get from help. This is quickly turning to one of those 'countries' where fat, rich gringos suck the juice while Ticos get poorer and poorer.

We expressed these thoughts to a Rasta on the Caribbean, all the while our hotel room was being robbed. He was shocked anyone from the North America noticed these issues at all: that the gap between the rich and poor gapes greater each year; that Ticos lose their country to condos being sold to retired Americans, who can't afford much in their home state.

Here gringos sit in the rivers and pan and prospect for property.

Filling up the mountains around us, in Escazu, are newly rich Ticos but mostly ex-pats, comprising a tiny minority of the already small population. They have built huge upscale malls replete with private security and gates and drive SUVs bigger than I have ever seen, to the strips in order to have bad Italian and Peruvian food produced by the TGIF chains.

But still white faced Cappuchians came down from the trees and flashed nasty little fangs at a Canadian hippy who teased them with Pringles; and fish the colours of the stars in all galaxies on black light swam beside me in schools of hundreds; waterfalls from 10,000 feet high fall cascading down, seven in total, one after the other.

Finally I walked on Irazu: Neil Armstrong was there in the 1970s after the eruptions had stopped. He said it was like walking on the moon. There 11,000 feet above sea level, gasping for breath as the air was thin, I walked like the astronauts on a surface like our lunar sister and looked down thousands of feet into the mouth of the volcano: its' black, blasted, strayated sides counterpoint for the raging moss sea green lake in the heart of the crater. I was away from all that is normal or real. Have I been on another planet? Do such things like this exist?

And then, there is the ripped gortex tent on the sidewalk of a 'drivethru' suburb by the new Intel Plant, wherein some guy lives; and then the man they interviewed for his opinion today on the issue of the proposed US/Central American free trade pact, in the 'Tico Times', an ex-pat English language newspaper for Latin America.

A photo of a blind man squinting and then this description of the interviewee: "Rodrigues, 40, a beggar from Guanacaste in downtown San Jose who plays a broken guitar with soundless plastic strings. He is going to vote "No""


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