Friday, January 25, 2008

San Jose, Costa Rica

I arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica this morning after a redeye flight from Denver last night, and after Rebekka and I watched the numbing play "9 parts of Desire", where Karen Anderson played nine different Iraqi women, at the Curiosity Theatre.

I couldn't check into the hotel until this afternoon, so I took a taxi downtown to the Mercado Central, then walked around. San Jose is packed with people on the streets and crazy drivers trying to mow them down. The mercado was alive and thriving, with leather belts, backpacks, pottery, spices, all kinds of meats and fish, beans, a dozen or more small eateries, bakeries, etc.

From there I meandered down Avenue Central and found the collection of Museo del Oro and other Museums. I knew about the obscure (to Americans) southerner William Walker who came down to Central America before the Civil War attempting to bring the Central American states under the Confederate orbit. I didn't know that Costa Rica considers this the most important struggle of their history. William Walker made several attempts at taking over Central America before meeting his executors in 1860 at age 36.

I consulted Footprint Costa Rica for a vegetarian-friendly restaurant, settling on Tin Jo, where I enjoyed a fine glass of Zinfandel along with Thai vegetarian green curry. I hopped into a cab with a very friendly driver who helped me with my fractured attempts at Spanish for the return to the hotel Best Western Irazu.

Day after tomorrow I'll be heading out for the NW province of Guancate for the six-day stage race: The Coastal Challenge.
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