Thursday, May 13, 2010

"I live 200m south of the big church, 50m east of McDonalds!"

So, you may be wondering why we haven't sent you our address yet? Or even bothered to send a postcard? Well that's because addresses in Costa Rica are a little confusing. Street signs do not exist, which can get a little confusing when you do not name a road. Addresses are as follows: "200m south from the big cathedral and 400m east of McDonalds, next to the black electricity box". Seriously! It can get a little frustrating to say the least. My language school was '100m south and 50m east of the old fig tree..." By 'old' they mean "no longer there", which is equally frustrating! Lord only knows what happens when they move McDonalds! Either all hell will break loose or the address will be modified to "400m east of where McD's used to be..." I shouldn't laugh because this is highly possible..!

However, there is hope at the end of the tunnel! Apparently we have to get a PO Box from the post office, which we can't do until we find out our new "physical address" ie "300m up the hill by the bar with the blue sign". Oh, and we need to find the post office too - it's not like we can just look up the address online! So bear with us!

Stef x

Road Rage in Costa Rica!

Driving in Costa Rica is pretty hilarious, and also pretty hair-raising! Not that I have even got behind the wheel myself yet, but just sitting in the back of the truck is enough! Drivers go where they want when they want and are not particularly bothered about whether they have right of way or not! In fact, it is entirely possible that they do not know what right of way is! There are people wandering down the middle of the road in the dark (seemingly it's safer than walking at the side of the road), dogs running across, goats wandering around in the more rural areas and I have been informed that someone once had to move a cow to get home one night! Brilliant.

And if you think you know potholes - you ain't seen nothin' yet! There are HUGE gaping holes in the road and drivers swerve around them at 100km an hour throwing passengers up against the window without even the blink of an eye. Fully confident English drivers in my car are sitting covering their eyes as we swerve another roadsign which they just place in the middle of the road with no lights in the middle of the light. If you see it too late, you hit it!

Now you have to bare in mind however that I have not yet seen one argument and maybe road rage was the wrong title for this blog entry because actually they are all quite calm, just going about their business in their conked-out pick-up truck. So I'm not actually that concerned about driving because as long as you are relatively aggressive yourself (hesitation will get you nowhere at what they like to call junctions!), you should have no problem! Plus the public transport doesn't appear to be as developed as one may like. I miss the tube already! For those of you that know me, you will find it amusing that I have to get 3 buses to my TEFL course - I don't do buses EVER, because I like to be on transportation that cannot veer off course at any given moment! So, I have at times considered driving, but then again, cars are ridiculously expensive here, I have never driven on the other side of the road, nor have I ever driven anything bigger than a Punto and a Jeep seems to be the elected mode of transport around these parts... the list goes on!

So for now, I think i'll stick to the buses (which by the way are converted American schoolbuses - some are even still bright yellow!)

Stef x

Monday, May 10, 2010

Galiza Suites and Mini Golf champion!!

I thought I'd just show you all where we have been staying. We move into our house on Saturday with a few of the guys from the company, but until then we are stuck here. It's a hard life, isn't it?

We're staying in Galiza Suites. It's a nice little aparthotel in San Jose near to lots of restaurants and bars and an amazing mini-golf course. I actually LOVE that place! We played twice last night and I first beat Mark 45-50 (par is 44) and then I beat all of the boys, including the handicapped golfers with a score of 48. And obviously being poker players, they all had to put a little cash on the game so I walked away with a nice little $200 profit! Brilliant.

Another thing that I keep forgetting to mention is that you can leave comments under these blogs to respond to our blogs - You don't have to sign up to Google to do it either if you don't want to. It would be nice to read a few messages from you all!

Stef x

Saturday, May 8, 2010

My First Impression...

San Jose, Costa Rica

Hello all!

This is my first update from Costa Rica! I arrived late last night after travelling for almost 24hrs with broken suitcases - I do not recommend this by the way, because dragging suitcases without wheels is a workout that you just do not need when you've been up for twenty hours and stuck on a plane for eight!

The flight was pretty good, all things considered. From Heathrow to Newark, I had three seats to myself, so I could stretch out and watch movies quite comfortably. I then had a connecting flight from Newark to San Jose so had just enough time to make it through security, recheck my bag and grab a drink before boarding a slightly more crowded flight for five hours! Luckily I did at least sleep for most of this flight, once I'd had my complementary burrito (things were looking up!) and watched the hideousness that is Did You Hear About The Morgans? with Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant. I do love Hugh Grant, but she is Carrie Bradshaw and that is it I'm afraid. She is cursed with the same problem the FRIENDS cast have - that show will always be better!

Anyway, I've been here for a few days now and the jet lag is starting to wear off. I'm not as hardcore as Mark and fell asleep in the casino on my first (and second...) night! Haha. And I was pretty damned tired at the poker tournament that everybody played in last night too! The people here are so lovely - locals and the Poker Farm group. We've had some lovely meals out and I really feel like part of the group, so it seems to be a pretty easy life to settle into. PLUS, we are moving into the most AMAZING house that you have ever seen! It's like something out of Cribs on MTV and we're all really ecstatic. Floor to ceiling windows and views over the whole city, it's pretty incredible. Obviously, there'll be more photos to follow when we finally get to move in, though that may be a couple of weeks yet.

I start my course on the 24th May (on the other side of town :s), so I've still got a couple of weeks to explore first. I'm spending my time in the office with the others, either working on my blogging/websites etc or helping out with a few things, and hitting the gym a few times a week. The weather is still pretty good so I'm enjoying the sun at the moment. There is sun every day but it's the start of the rainy season and we are due some heavy downpours this week. Rain like you've never seen it before - it falls so hard and so fast that you're grateful to not be in it, because I'm sure that it must hurt! I've been on the hotel balcony when it hits and the workmen outside just carry on as normal - very odd! Having said that, it clears up just as quickly as it starts so you can be back out sunbathing before you know it! Not that I've done much of that yet - I fully intend on starting tomorrow though!

Anyway, that's my first little update - next time I'll give you the lowdown on the hotel apartments that we are staying in. And my camera needs a memory card before I can do much with it, so photos will follow once I've done that too!

Hope you're all well,

Love Stef x x