San Jose

February 26th, 2010

Day 39.  Today is officially the final day of our tour of Central America!  We checked out of our hotel and checked into a cheap and cheerful backpackers’ paradise, Hostel Pangea, then set off for a walk around town.

San Jose struck us as being quite American in many ways.  The roads and road-signs look American, there are many American chains here,  English is commonly spoken, and the US Dollar is freely accepted.  We stopped for a filling breakfast of Gallo Pinto, eggs and Costa Rican coffee at the newly opened Maple Cafe at Parque Morazan then listened to the San Jose Geriatric Society (it’s a real societyi!) play guitars in the bandstand.

Bandstand, Parque Morazan

We also noticed some differences between the US and Costa Rica, notably the choice of shop name and the bust size of their mannequins.

Dead good shop!

Shops displaying such mannequins are required to take out special insurance in case of car crashes and eye injuries

Tomorrow we were due to travel Peru to join another tour heading for Macchu Pichu, however the pass leading to Macchu Pichu has been closed for several weeks due to mudslides and won’t reopen until April.  We’ve therefore decided to change our itinereary and head for the city of Cartagena on the coast of Columbia to enroll in Spanish School for a while and to take a break from unpacking and packing our bags.  We’ve heard that Columbia is a lovely place to visit and Suzy lived in Cartagena for some time and recommended it with fond memories.

Safe also wants to confirm once and for all whether or not he looks vaguely Colombian.  Many years ago a guard refused him entry to the historic Mohammed Ali Mosque in Cairo on the cheap Egyptian rate and was asked to pay the foreigners rate.  (This was particularly amusing as Safe was clearly with his father and uncle whom the guard let through).  When the guard was challenged as to where Safe could be from, he paused for a moment then expertly said, “Colombia!”

Factoid: Safe also remembers that Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner started their adventures in Cartegena in the 1980′s film, Romancing the Stone, and that’s good enough reason for him to go there.

Factoid: Annie also remembers that Cartagena is the setting for Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, a far more cultured reason to go to Cartagena!

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