Monday, January 28, 2008

Costa Rica: Weekends

by Donna L. Watkins

It finally seems that some of the Spanish is actually sticking. I've had two weeks of classes now and for the most part I've felt like there's a leak in my brain.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Rufous-collared Sparrow in Costa Rica
Maybe I forgot to load the software for the area that learns a new language? The more I learn the more I realize I do not know. However, I do find myself not only thinking in Spanish but actually forming sentences as I walk along.

My homework over the weekend was to do a written composition of what I did for the weekend. Writing is so much easier than speaking for me, but then that's the case in English also. My weekend was uneventful, so it was an easy assignment. Most of the students do weekend excursions since they have 3 days. Since I have plenty of rainforest and jungle time scheduled, I invest the time into studying. I like to study in the garden, but the birds play hide-n-seek with me and I'm easily distracted.

The Rufous-collared Sparrow is the most friendly since he forages on the ground, knowing he can fly into the brush if I move. I love hearing the different bird songs. Not only do the people speak a different language, the avian world here sounds different also.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Irazu Volcano From Homestay Window
The view from my window includes the nearby Irazu Volcano. This is the volcano that erupted in 1963 on the same day President John F. Kennedy arrived for a visit. Being on the second floor makes it easy to see above the buildings, but the glass window is covered with a bit of city smog.

On clear afternoons the sun shining on the mountain (volcano) looks very pretty. Reminds me of the views back home in Virginia near Monticello (Thomas Jefferson's home). As you can see there are home there. Very odd thought to live on the side of a volcano.

Every day is good weather here in the dry season. Mid-70's with a cool mountain breeze at all times. Some days are a bit cool in the morning, but it's a refreshing cool in mid-60's. I am very grateful to be warm and flexible in the months of January and February. I thought a lot about that as I walked up to the grocery for a melon on Saturday.

I do a lot of walking here since it's the first mode of transportation for people and it's more enjoyable than riding the buses, especially if you take some streets that don't have much exhaust. It doesn't matter where you are, pedestrians do not have the right of way. Sometimes it seems that the red taxis, which are everywhere in great numbers, are out to get you.

There is one thing I've learned. On the streets you will find some yellow hearts painted with a halo above them. Those are spots where pedestrians have been hit. Similar to our roadside crosses where somebody died in an auto accident. A great visual effect to remind you to not take any chances crossing streets.

View all Costa Rica photo albums.

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