Thursday, May 24, 2012

The First Afternoon

I said good-bye to Columbus at 9 A.M., one hour after I arrived at the airport. The attendant at the counter was surprised that I had arrived “so late,” but there wasn’t much security and I was only a little hurried because my mom had to pass me a few hundred dollars outside of the TSA checkpoint. Houston had signs in English and Spanish, and lots of signs encouraging people to volunteer, which was an interesting and welcoming difference.

My immigration form, shortly before I lost it…

I arrived at 2:30 P.M. en San Jose, Costa Rica. I experienced many things for the first time: seeing signs in Spanish first, then English:

Exchanging money for pretty colones:

And going through Customs and the immigration checkpoint:

It wasn’t my first time overtipping someone, though it my first time doing it with such nice-looking money :P

We arrived by van at the hotel on Avenue of Paradise and I met my hostess, Olga Marta Vega Chinchilla, there. We took her husband’s car—an old Toyota Corolla—through a lot of traffic, which was atypical for the area. There were a lot of newer cars on the road, though, so I think it’s personal choice that dictates the difference in vehicles. Olga has four children (two daughters and two sons), and two grandchildren, Sofia (Sofi) and Aaron. Sophie’s mom is named Vivian, so I will forever be introduced as “the other Vivian,” such as when my hostess said multiple times today, “I have another Vivian here!” But I shall strike out on my own and be a unique Vivian!

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