Thursday, April 11, 2013

A day in San Jose (que tuanis!)

A blooming Savannah Oak. Beautiful! (just like my daughter Savannah!) :)

I am in Costa Rica! These are pictures from our first day. I'm here with my friend and colleague Heidi, and we arrived via the same flight into San Jose Monday around noon, where we were greeted by Gustavo, the guide who would be showing us around for the next few days. First we drove to the El Presidente hotel, where we were staying. We got situated in our room and then walked around a little bit. The hotel is right on La Rue Fernandez Güell, or "Central Avenue" which is a pathway that people walk up and down on, lined by shops and restaurants. At 3pm, we met up with a guide from Chepe Cletas, a nonprofit organization that offers tours of San Jose to locals and tourists, and is attempting to change the perception of the city from the old attitude that it had crime and there was nothing to see, to the current reality, which is that it's a relatively safe city and it has a lot to offer visitors and locals alike. Chepe Cletas started out doing bicycle tours (Cletas is short for bicicletas). These photos are out of order, but these are some of the sights we saw!

The plaza here adjacent to the National Theater has a lot of pigeons. Underneath the plaza is the Gold Museum.

A pigeon on a colorful fountain on Central Avenue.

Outside of the National Theater.

A statue of a flautist outside the National Theater.

The inside is gorgeous! Marble floors, intricate ceilings and walls, and several statues representing the various arts.

Another photo of the inside of the theater.

This statue represents dialogue. I think that might be Plato's head... not sure.

This statue inside the theater represents poverty. It was controversial at the time it was built to include it in the opulent theater which served the elite. However, today there is not so much difference in Costa Rica between rich and poor as in the past.

This is an elementary school that is made out of metal, and called "The metal school."

This round structure is the Temple of Music inside Morazon Park. There were some locals dancing and hanging out there in the temple, which really isn't a temple, but rather just a place to hang out and perform.

Inside of the Music Temple at Morazon Park.

Heidi and I at Morazon Park.

We stopped at La Criollita cafe for a cup of good coffee.

This is me trying to play the animal flute thing that I bought from a street vendor outside the National Theater. Don't laugh!

Heidi and our guide for the city tour, Jose.

This is a side of the National Museum, which is across the street from the Parliamentary building. It was dusk and these phone pictures turned out kinda cool!

Another view of the National Museum.

Graffiti on the wall across from the Costa Rican Parliamentary building in the capital city of San Jose that says some of the lyrics from their national anthem "Vida siempre trabajo [paz]" which means something like "May peace and labor ever live." Above the peace are three fists that say Fotografia Lucha (fight photocopying) which I thought was appropriate as a writer!

The blue house is part of the Parliamentary building complex.

Democracy Plaza, across from the Parliament.

This is the entrance to the Center for Art and Culture. It used to be the National Liquor Factory!

Inside are some crane sculptures that I thought were cool.

These are part of the old distillery.

These are the giant calderas or ovens.

Jose and I in the National Park (there are several parks throughout the city!)

This is a sundial that they screwed up on, and so it only tells time half the day. Not only that, they made some major errors when building it, so that there's a correction table underneath it!

Heidi and I in National Park.

The top of the main statue complex in National Park. The women represent Central America's fight against William Walker who overthrew Nicaragua and tried to overthrow Costa Rica but they raised an army of farmers and overthrew them

At the end of the tour, Heidi and I went to dinner at El Patio and then walked a bit along the Central Avenue, where we happened along this very gordo woman statue! Her official name is El Chola and apparently it's good luck to rub her backside! We saw several people walk along and touch her and I went and looked it up, and sure enough that is apparently good luck! There ya go.

Another view.

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