Franklin Chang-Díaz(!!)

I had trouble coming up with a snappy title for this post. Normally when that happens, it's because I can't think of a good title, but this time, I kept thinking of all kinds of great titles! Among the titles I rejected: -Franklin Chang-Díaz: A Real American Hero -Battlestar GalacTICO! -"Rocket Man": Franklin Chang-Díaz -Costa Rica's One-Man Space Program -Costa Rican(s) In Space! -Franklin Chang-Díaz: A Real Spacey Guy -Franklin Chang-Díaz: The John Elway of the Costa Rican Space Program -Franklin Read more [...]

Come On Feel The Ruido: If You Give A Man A Microphone…

Costa Rica is sometimes a loud country. In fact, a lot of Latin America can get pretty loud, and that's one of the first things you notice as an outsider. When I lived in Colorado I grew up in one of those neighborhoods where all the streets have Spanish names, for no explicable reason. Our house was close to a street called "Ruidosa." I didn't know any Spanish at the time, so I was surprised later to discover that "Ruidosa" means "noisy." I was surprised because it was one of the quietest places Read more [...]

Juan Santamaría: The Man, The Airport, The Legend

As I mentioned in my last post, last week was Easter break (called semana santa in Costa Rica), so we had the whole week free. That was pretty excellent, but it turns out that today is also a holiday: Juan Santamaría Day. The only downside is that it's not necessarily a free day at work for everyone, and we do have classes where I work because it's a private language school. Nevertheless, who was Juan Santamaría, and why is he considered Costa Rica's "national hero"? I'll admit that I didn't Read more [...]

La Presidente

Laura Chinchilla, the President of Costa Rica. She's actually surprisingly short in person. So much so that I invented a song called "Tiny President," to the tune of Elton John's "Tiny Dancer." I really wish I'd not done that. Update: After talking to Lucy, I feel like a fool for missing the most obvious and excellent caption for this picture: "Ich bin ein Berlíner." I had originally planned to write a general post about life in Costa Rica, but then this last Friday something unusual happened: Read more [...]

Costa Rica Isn’t Puerto Rico!? (Plus Four Other Useful Tips)

If you're planning a trip to Costa Rica, or even if you're just curious about the country, there are a few things that you should know before you come here. Here's a crash course in the top five important things to know about Costa Rica that came to my mind as I wrote this: 1. Costa Rica is not Puerto Rico. This is a controversial point, but no matter how much you try to insist on this issue, you'll notice that the normally easygoing Costa Ricans won't budge on this matter. With this fact also Read more [...]