“¿habla englés?

4 12 2009

Welcome to Costa Rica.  The gringos are here, and their costs have followed. But where did it all begin?

Cristopher Colombus named Costa Rica, after seeing gifts of gold and silver  unparalleled.  No one since saw anything of the sort, and “The Rich Coast” seemed destined to be a backwater for all time.  (then again, he never was very good at navigating, anyway…)  A Central American Greenland, if you will.   It was mostly overlooked by the United Fruit Company’s dominion over practically every other Central American country in the 20th century.   Without the lobbying power of the banana corporations, there was less of a need for US Marines to assassinate the president on a regular basis.  (see Nicaragua, et al)  I certainly don’t mean to disparage the marines, of course.  They were very good at what they did.

Fast forward a bit, and Costa Rica’s lack of plantation agriculture has left the most remnant wilderness of any Central American nation.  The green gold begot tourism and a building boom which still continues, unabated.  Tourism has allowed Costa Rica to be far and away the most expensive country we’ve visited so far.

The most untouched, the most Western, the most expensive, the most touristy, the most developed.  There are so many extremes on this trip.  Costa Rica is just one more to add to the list.

The ‘pura vida’ attitude of the Ticos seems directly opposite their current place as leaders in tourism and computer chip production.  It is a beautiful way of thinking and living which charms completely.  Yet you have to wonder, how long can that attitude survive the relentless swarms of foreign tourists?

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