The other day my friend Karen and I investigated a protest in San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital city. There we got to talk to some folks who aren’t afraid to stand up for what they believe in!
Local Time: The local time here is 1 pm.
Time Zone: The time zone is central standard time, or CST.
How did I get around this week? This week I got around on the bus, in taxis, and on foot.
What was the most interesting place I visited this week? This week I visited San Jose
Other travel news:
You will never guess who came to Costa Rica last week. I’ll give you a hint. He lives in a big white house in Washington DC. President Obama came to the capital city, San Jose, last week to meet with Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla. What do the Costa Rican people think about President Obama’s visit? My friend Karen is a journalist, and we decided we had to go investigate!
We hopped on a bus and rode it to San Jose’s Central Park. It was cloudy and humid. The main street of the city was blocked off, and lines of police officers kept crowds of people from walking into it. Clusters of people gathered on the sidewalk, waiting for President Obama to drive by with his flock of security cars. We saw a large crowd waving red flags and carrying signs that said “Fuera, Obama!” which means, “Go away, Obama!” Karen and I asked some of the protesters why they were there. Some of the answers we got were really interesting. People said they wanted to see President Obama end wars, work to end pollution of the environment, and stop sending so many people to prison. One college student said she wanted the U.S. government to give more rights to people, and less rights to big companies.
Karen and I listened, and took some interviews. These people wanted President Obama and the U.S. government to make a lot of big changes. I was surprised that no one was angry at us at all, even though we told them we were from the United States! They smiled and shook our hands and happily answered our questions. “We are here because the U.S. government is not acting for the good of the people of the world…or even its own people!” one woman told me in Spanish. “It is acting only for the good of a few rich people. And when you see injustice, you have to speak up, loud!” she yelled, grinning. About ten shiny, silver cars drove by, but we didn’t know which one President Obama was in. It looked like it was going to rain, so after an hour we decided to head home to Heredia. We felt so happy to have gotten to be in the capital city for such an exciting event!
Weather Tally (enter the # of days for each weather type):
Partly cloudy: 7
What is the air temperature right now? The air temperature is about 75 degrees.
How was the weather this week? This week, it has rained every day! Rainy season is in full swing and I have gotten drenched a few times because I am too stubborn to buy an umbrella right before I leave! Usually the earlier part of the day is sunny and warm, and the rain comes for an hour or two in the afternoon.
What animals did I see this week? I haven’t left the city this week, so I have mostly seen pets, birds, and bugs. I saw a lot of our poodle, Princesa, who turned six this week. Flory and Daniela bought her a cake and dog biscuits and we sang the happy birthday song. Princesa even got to try a tiny piece of the cake. We didn’t get to try her dog biscuits. I was okay with that.
What was the coolest thing I saw in nature this week? The coolest thing I saw in nature this week was just in a park, but it was a huge knotty Guanacaste tree. The Guanacaste is Costa Rica’s national tree.
What languages are spoken here? Mainly Spanish is spoken in San Jose.
What type of money is used here? Costa Rican colones are used for money here.
How much does a bottle of water cost? A bottle of water costs about a dollar.
What was the best meal this week? The best meal I had this week was a vegetable soup cooked by Flory. It had potatoes and yucca, which is a starchy root that is common in Central American food. It also has carrots and a light green vegetable called chayote, that sort of tastes and feels like the insides of broccoli stems, if you have ever had those. And it has corn, but giant pieces of corn on the cob, two inches thick! Corn on the cob is called an elote, pronounced ay-LO-tay. All of the veggies are cut so big that you have to slice them in four pieces with your spoon as you eat them, and they’re cooked in salty beef or chicken broth. It was so delicious, or rica as they say here!
What music did I listen to this week? I listen to a lot of Catholic radio with Flory in the mornings, with cheerful rock and traditional Costa Rican music by people singing about their God.
What activity was the most fun this week? The most fun thing we did this week was to interview students at a protest in San Jose.
What did I read this week? I still don’t have any fiction, which I love, so this week I read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It was full of great advice about how to be a happier, more adventurous and loving person.
What games or sports did I play this week? This week I played foozeball with a couple of Tico’s friends at a restaurant. I lost.
Other news from this week:
On the bus ride home from San Jose, I thought a lot about what the protesters had said. They sure knew a lot more about President Obama than I knew about President Laura Chinchilla before I came here. I didn’t even know who the Costa Rican president was before I decided to study abroad! Maybe, I thought, Costa Ricans know more about the U.S. not just because they listen to our music and watch our TV shows. Maybe they have to know more, because the U.S. is so powerful that its actions really do affect people all over the world. I am glad we got to hear what the protesters had to say. I am also glad that they were so nice to us, and that they understood that people are not the same as their government!
In Latin America, regular people have carried signs and shouted in the streets for centuries to stand up for what they believe in. People in the United States have too!
What kind of changes do you want to see in the world? Is there anything so important to you that you have ever protested in the street? What are some other ways you have made changes happen?