I am in an Internet Cafe in Downtown Heredia. This is the city where we live and go to school. It's a medium sized city with the second largest University in Costa Rica. It's a suburb community of San Jose (the Capital) though it's not
what we consider a suburb. It's a real colorful city with small, busy, and crowded streets.
Classes are going great. Wendy and I are in the same class. Wendy understands a lot more than I do but she says I speak better than she does. We need each other. Let me say this,if I ever thought I would be fluent when I got back, I changed my mind. I'm at the point where now I know all I have to know ( and it's a lot)..
The boys are in the same class and they are doing great in this adventure. They are quite comfortable and know how to get around. We went to a market today and the boys went back to our house while Wendy and went further into the city to look for shoes (zapatos). It's also a small enough city that as we walk around we often run into people we know. The owner of the Pops Ice Cream Store waves at us when we walk by his store as we go in nearly every day for as Choco-pip ice cream cone (soft ice cream dipped in chocolate and peanuts).
The people her are friendly and quite patient with our attempts to speak Spanish. They correct us when we make mistakes (all the time). Wendy says we have a city full of teachers.
Tomorrow Andrew will be going white Water rafting in the east of the country. The rest of us will be "sitting that one out". Next week we will all be going to Manuel Antonio. It's a beach area and National preserve.
Bike riders (cyclistas) here are a brave and crazy group. Here, there are no rights for pedestrians, even though most people have no cars. You must really look out for yourself. The conditions for both pedestrians and cyclists is horrible. the sidewalks (aceras) are narrow as hell and the holes (huelcos) in the streets are monumental.
Don't get me wrong though, the city of Heredia is very easy to get around on foot. We live around 1 Kilometer from the school. We know this because the blocks in the central city (where we live and go to school) are exactly 100 Meters. Even though the city is laid out well, it's hard to find your way due to the fact that there are few street signs and NO ADDRESSES!!! When we needed to get home by taxi from the outskirts of town we needed to give the taxi driver what passes for an address:
500 Meters north of the Cantina Mulo (Mule Bar). The address stays the same even if the Cantina is torn down. Most people do not have mail boxes (buzones)and mail is delivered into their windows.
The public transportation here is awesome and I see no reason to have a car. Taxis are cheap and buses go everywhere (in the city and city-to-city) for real cheap (muy barrato). We went into the rain forest last weekend, over 70 KMs away and the fare was around $3 (1,000 Colones) for the round trip. The buses are clean and comfortable.
I love shopping here and it's fun to attempt to use some of my new (but very lacking) Spanish skills. Some things are cheap (bread, cookies, rice, and the basics). Some things are quite expensive (those things imported from the US (canned goods, cereals, etc.) Either way it's fun to go and lose yourself in the marketplace.
Chase has fallen in love with the dogs (perros) and the pigeons (palomas) in the Central Park. He and Wendy have bought dog food and cracked corn (maize) and go to the park and feed the dogs and pigeons when they get a chance.