Published: June 19th 2012June 19th 2012
¡Saludos! Streaming to you (not quite live) from Costa Rica! After spending a couple of weeks here, I’ve slowly begun to appreciate rice and beans. No, really, I’ve had 1,000 opportunities to practice Spanish and I’ve taken advantage of 998. We’ve met some great people, the host families are wonderful and we have visited several interesting places. Of particular interest to me was the National Museum in San José. As a student of both Spanish and History, I felt right at home during the visit. The pottery, stonework, carved figurines, and grave sites provide insight into the lives of the indigenous people. Evidence of pre-historic peoples is scattered all throughout the world, and the development of the indigenes in Costa Rica fits perfectly into the expected mold of human development. The pre-Colombian findings suggest these collections of hunters, gatherers, and farmers believed in life after death, appreciated intricate art, and valued survival and nature. There are even massive spheres that are most likely property markers suggesting individual or tribal land ownership.
The main question, however, remains: Why Costa Rica? What made it valuable to the Spanish? What became of the indigenes? Costa Rica is a young piece of land (relatively speaking)
and with so many active volcanoes, the land was fertile and perfect for farming. Nevertheless, it lacked the one thing the Spanish conquistadores desired: oro (gold). Disease and conquest affected the indigenes like all other groups in the “New World.” (see Guns Germs and Steel
by Jared Diamond for more info). Costa Rica would eventually be settled, but that’s where the written record begins.
All in all, the story of Costa Rica is still being told, and the Ticos have created their own world that runs on a different clock (aka Tico Time. Please don’t take that literally. Their clocks look just like ours.) There is something for everyone here, historians and casual tourists alike. But I digress. I could write all day about what I’ve seen and learned, but that might cost me more opportunities to see and learn.
Until next time, Vaya con Dios,
There are more photos below