Scouting things



Friday, May 16, 2014

Thoughts from Costa Rica (Que es un ferreteria?)

Speak softly and carry a big sword.

Hello reader!

About that follow up post on leadership?  I'll get to that sometime.  I am on my first legit vacation in Costa Rica.  I've been here twice before, but on serious mission trips with solo one day por hanging out.  Costa Rica is not actually the rich, beachy, palm tree resort that one would think.   The land is dominated by farms, rainforest, vegetation, and small, shack-like houses.  Larger houses and resorts periodically appear along the road, and there are a handful dense, packed cities.

As far as Spanish goes, I can speak it pretty well, and I have an idea of how to form sentences and think ect, but it is impossible to comprehend what people are saying to you.  :P  Most of the time, brief questions followed by confirmation or complex answers take place instead of the neat, clean cut conversations that one sees in a textbook.  A lot of things have happened on this trip, and I'll give you a brief layout of the events.

We started off in San Jose, el capital, and kicked it off with a 4-hour car drive to Guanacaste, one of the seven provinces in Costa Rica.  Our place was near several beaches on a coastal strech, and we went snorkeling about every day.  The food was great; fresh fruit, fish, and chicken are very cheap and...  bueno? We went to a relative's wedding, and then we drove down to Alajuela, which is near the capital.  From there, we decided the city wasn't the place to be, and made literal last minute reservations at a small hotel place, where I am writing this post. 

A few things I thought to bring up about our time here. I save best for last.
1. Arroz con pollo
Literally translated as "chicken with rice", this is actually a fried-rice style dish with chicken pieces and a great sauce-y taste.  This is my favorite standalone dish in Costa Rica.  Even better than the fancy wedding food and fish.   It is inexpensive and delicious.  Always good and filling. :)  I would think that its the signature dish from Costa Rica.  Other than fried platanos.  Those are good.

2. Soda
Contrary to first impressions, a soda is a small family owned restaurant that serves super local and cheap food.  When I say small, I mean small.  It's like your kitchen with extra tables. Depending on where you are, they have beans, rice, meats, and smoothies for a unbelievable price.  (5 people for $25 USD) Not bad.  Some places are super sketchy, but other places are very clean and nice.

3.  There are mosquito everywhere.  Even underwater.
On the beach, you must choose between sunburn and bug bites.  I chose bug bites.  Well, the snorkeling was great, but I had to choose between bug repellant and sunburn.  The bug bites weren't so bad at first, but the wedding reception and dancing which I did not participate in took place outdoors, and we were eaten alive by insects. 35 bug bites. Ack.  However, by moving around every few minutes, I managed to avoid the big, bad bites, and get the smaller, less itchy bites.

4. What is a ferreteria?
Ferreterias are awesome.  In concept at least. On the road, I would always be looking for them.  Why? 
The English word for ferreteria is a hardware store.   Why a hardware store?
 In rural countries, especially Costa Rica, there is a ton of overgrown vegetation and weeds, jungle, and large chunks of meat.
A ferreteria is where you can buy ...

wait for it...

 A machete.   ~toggle happyness~
 Here in Costa Rica, it's totally cool to walk down the street and wave to amigos with a machete.  Life here is pure.  Pura vida!!

You're probably wondering why I want/need a machete.
Well, this year, I joined the Venture Crew,which is like level 2 Boy Scouts with less rules and more blades and fire.  That's how I would sum it up.
"Anyone got some lighter fluid?"    "Let's see if I can use this knife to cut the chicken."    "Don't forget your Gerber."   "Will this burn?"    "Check out this cheese wire".    "What's your longest knife throw?"     
"Let's try to melt this aluminum ball around this sugarcane pole". 
(me) (I'm a hardcore scientist)
Anyways, night hikes and bathroom runs are super sketchy, and there is nothing like an 18" blade to ward off coyotes.  And cutting meat.  And coconuts. And brush. 

5.  Back to Costa Rica, every time I saw a ferreteria, my face would light up.  Like In-n-out, an Apple Store, a Macy's, or whatever you people like.
Machetes are legally farming tools.  So like a shovel I guess. Heh heh.  The middle of useful ness and knife ness. 18" is long enough to chop stuff, but short enough to avoid nicking myself or some nearby bloke. 

6.  POPs. 
It's an Ice cream store. Go there.

7.  The Kane Chronicles
This is another series by Rick Riordan, and it is pretty great.  I think.  Some ideas are repeated, but the storyline is new and fresh. 
Discount Artemis Fowl. *ding
Discount Percy Jackson.  *ding 

Karter is a jerk to everybody. *ding

You can't really do parkour here. Too many dang red ants and mosquitos.
The number of bugs here is too darn high!!!

OK.  That was a super long post.  I have a lot of stuff more that I would like to mention.  Did I just use that sentence?  I've spent too long on this. :P  I have to say, after 1.5 weeks of using colones(money), swimming, getting bug bites ,and hiking, I do wish to return home.  Is this what you call homesickness?  Well, I wouldn't mind a return to the regular life.   I do miss martial arts, church, parkour, and fast internet. DDD:< 

Catch you later!!

Life is fine!

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