Tag Archives: san jose

Costa Rica Part 2: No Signs Allowed!

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Costa Rica

Want to get the most out of a trip to Costa Rica? Then, I have one piece of vastly important advice for you…

Rent a car!

But wait, there’s more!

Actually, as with all unsolicited advice, there is a catch.

If you are going to follow my lead and rent a car to get around Costa Rica, (preferably one with 4 wheel drive) it is absolutely essential (in that, always put on clean underwear before you leave the house kind of way) to rent (or bring) a GPS!

Our initial reaction when the rental car salesman in San Jose, Costa Rica started urging us to also rent their Garmin GPS, was something like “Sure, gouge the tourist for more cash!” However, there was something in the earnestness of his insistence (and, the fact that Costa Ricans in general tend to be vastly straight forward about things) that made us finally relent and rent the GPS for $8 per day. It didn’t take long (about two blocks) to realize the complete and utter necessity of the gadget.

You see, the Costa Ricans, while a lovely people in general who really know how to host a traveler in their beautiful country, have a cultural abhorrence for street signage…anywere! Technically the streets all have names – the maps are loaded with them – but trying to find an actual street  sign anywhere in the towns and cities is like looking for a teenager without a phone in hand. Even Costa Ricans, when queried about this phenomena, expressed their own difficulties when travelling to a town they had never been to before.

Now, don’t get me wrong. You will get enough signage to get the general sense of your place in the world,

I think I know the way to San Jose...

I think I know the way to San Jose…

But,  other directions will look like this:

We must be almost there...

We must be almost there…

Or, come from locals (and even printed in online directions) in the form of relational positioning such as “six blocks from the Church”, or “around the corner from the store”, or “over there (points to some distant corner of the town)”. Of course, success with directions of this sort is dependent on knowledge of where the actual “church”, “store”, or “there” is located.

I think he knows where we need to go...but he's not talkin'

I think he knows where we need to go…but he’s not talkin’

By the time we had completed our first drive from San Jose to La Virgen, successfully winding our way around myriads of unmarked streets as the electronic voice told us just where to turn, we were ready to get down and kiss the proverbial feet of our precious rented GPS. (just in the figurative sense, of course – we did not want to look weird). The truth is, without the GPS we would probably still be driving in circles around the mountain towns of Costa Rica (which wouldn’t be so bad, aside from the bothersome reality of work, school and pets demanding to be fed).

About now I suppose you are asking yourself why the crazy Sweet Spot chick is encouraging you to risk driving around Costa Rica at all! Perhaps some perverted plan to send travelers randomly driving in circles around the wilds of Costa Rica?

For one reason, and one reason only – really, the only one that matters.

If you don’t get in a car and drive yourself around Costa Rica, you will miss seeing things like this:

Rio La Paz. Drive from San Jose to La Virgen

Rio La Paz. Drive from San Jose to La Virgen

Farmland - drive from San Jose to La Virgen

Mountain farm – drive from San Jose to La Virgen

Drive from La Virgen to La Fortuna

Drive from La Virgen to La Fortuna

Sheep farm between Jaco and Quepo

Sheep farm between Jaco and Quepo

Beach between Hermosa and Quepo

Beach between Hermosa and Quepo

 

Driving into La Fortuna

Driving into La Fortuna

Drive from Jaco to San Jose

Drive from Jaco to San Jose

The Defense rests.

For other posts on Costa Rica:

Costa Rica Part 1: Take a Picture, It Lasts Longer

Costa Rica Part 3: The Eco Adventures

For more Sweet Spot Travels: GO HERE

 

 

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Word-Up: Get a Yob!

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Yob: I did it!  I created a word.  At least I thought I had.  Until I discovered some slippery, sly English peops (I can say that because some of my best friends are English) had beat me to it.  However, when my son won at scrabble using “Yob”– which according to Merriam-Webster is b-o-y spelled backward (really?), and meaning: a young man who is rowdy, rude, noisy, and aggressive (I live with Yobs and didn’t even know it), and rhymes with Gob (Ha! Didn’t see that one coming did ya’) – I was forced to face the disappointment or lobby M-W for inclusion.

You see, for some time, Yob has been a Homonym of sorts in my household. Allow me to illustrate.

“Get a Yob”:  In this context, Yob is most effective in answer to the frequently asked question from minors in household: “Mom, can I have…(fill in blank with overpriced electronic of choice)”.  Used in this form, Yob means: If you want particular time sucking device, you will have to work, earn money, save, spend it all on desired item and realize you are flat broke…again.

Positive attributes of usage being, minors are proud purchasers of mind emptying electronics and my Botox emergency fund remains intact…oh, and they like, learned some kind of valuable life lesson or something.

“Not my Yob”: The usage of the word in this context is a clear indication that a “pass the buck” scenario from one adult to another is about to take place (from myself to hubs if you must know). At this crucial moment, husband is forced to revisit the possibility he failed to examine the fine print in the marriage contract explaining his Yob description included:  all things gross (puke clean up), all things that make you simultaneously sweaty & dirty (summer yard work), and all things smelly ( taking out all trash).

Sadly for him, the misplacement or loss of said document has relegated husband to taking wife’s word on the subject.

Do your Yob”:  The bellow of the word in this context is music to the ears of one occupant of the household…my dog. At moment of utterance, the word ringing in dog’s ears causes her thought process to go something like this…The Mom is cooking…dropping food on the floor…all over the floor…like always…I must away…to the kitchen…no time to waste…to clean the floor…I love my Yob,…no, I REALLY, REALLY love my Yob. (Which in this context means – That thing one does when not sleeping, eating or urinating on the tires of cars in the driveway…preferably you are a dog if you are using the word in this context).

Disclaimer:  For those of you getting the ole undies in a bundle over the use of this questionably politically correct pronunciation, please keep one thing in mind.  As a person from San Hose, who has endured a lifetime of “You really do know the way to San Hose, don’t you!” and “Are you from San HosA or San HosB?”– I think I have paid my dues and deserve to take a few liberties.  No Yoke.

Only a few words were maimed in the writing of this blog.

Word-Up: Poop

Word-Up: Opus Anyone?