Costa Rica First Impressions

The first thing that surprised me about Costa Rica was how prosperous San Jose appeared to be. Of course there are the occasional views of the ubiquitous tin favelas so typical of Latin America but the ones I saw here were hidden under the shade of lush palm trees, looking much smaller and gentler places than I previously witnessed in Brazil.

Our guide accompanying us from the airport to the hotel spoke good English and was full of knowledge. I would have loved to have a chat with him over a glass of wine just to find out more how Costa Ricans see themselves, their history and the world. He came across as a proud citizen of a young country that knows where its strength lays.

The hotel looked like one of those harsh buildings designed by a young ambitious architect overdoing his studies on brutalism. Mr Goldfinger, I’m still vaguely haunted by the exhibition of your masterworks! And the Mediterranean inspired pink outside walls just added to that drama..

But the minute you drive up to the entrance you forget about the ugliness of the brutalist heritage. The internal design of the lobby echoes the courtyard of a traditional Spanish inn. A bit dated in places, battered by time but managed to keep its charm.

I’m not sure whether other people might ever feel the uncontrollable urge to indulge in inhaling the excitement of an unexplored new world when they arrive at a new destination first. I could have gone back to sleep this morning if I wanted to but it didn’t seem right at the time. I suspect I suffer from FMO. So there I was, dressing up quietly, no make up, and sneaked out of the hotel room quietly. To my surprise the lobby was pretty busy and the air was filled with the aromas of the breakfast in the making. Quickly moved across the hall and took a left turn into the unknown.

I stepped out of the hotel into the garden and I came to an instant halt. I was utterly stunned. I faced an assault on my senses. A remarkable feast for the eyes and the ears, I’ve never seen plants with such an abundance of colours. And everything was mega size: a plant I have at home in a small pot being groomed for years but still looking like a lost battle, here has grown into an oversized giant out of Jurassic Park! The first thing you notice is that the air was filled with the warble of colourful birds. So different from the soft tone of our birds’ chatters. These voices were laud, utterly fierce, boosting with forceful energy. This cacophony made a tremendous impact visually and hearingly. A cavalcade of overwhelming impulses.. If this tiny piece of a wonder garden just an oasis in the city? How the real rainforest must be like? Whooooow!

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