Archive for December, 2008

Cambios del Año Nuevo

Things in the city of Heredia are changing without warning. Garbage is picked up in the daytime, instead of at night like it used to be, or sometimes it is left on the street until they get around to it. The other day I heard the garbage truck and realized we hadn’t put our trash on the curb. I ran out with two bags as the truck pulled away. I chased it to its next stop and threw the bags in, just like a garbageman. Ily, watching out the window, as well as  some of our neighbors, were mightily amused.

Those garbage guys are awesome. It actually looks like a cool job, chasing the truck, riding on the back sometimes, slinging the bags in. No one uses garbage cans here, just bags on the curb, and they pick up the garbage three times a week, so there’s not a whole week’s worth, all stinky and rotten like in California.

Ily says all the garbagemen are from Nicaragua, like most of the people who do physical work here, such as agriculture, construction, restaurant work, etc. I saw some graffiti on the bus that said all Nicas are thieves. I guess there’s a little tension with our Northern neighbors. Ily says Nicaraguan people are really strong and work really hard, and don’t cause any problems for Costa Ricans.

Another change with no warning was the location of bus stops. Bus stops are randomly scattered all over the city. That makes it difficult enough in the first place. If you want to go somewhere on the bus that you’ve never been, you have to find the place where that bus leaves from. You have to go around asking people, wandering around the city, asking bus drivers, until someone sends you to the right place.

Now they’ve moved all of them, seemingly at random. My bus to work leaves from one block over from its former location. There are no stops along its route anymore. I don’t know if this is permanent, or just a holiday aberration.

There used to be buses that would idle in front of our apartment starting at 5:30 AM, taking students to University of Costa Rica. Now the students are on Christmas break. Instead of the UCR bus, there is now a bus going to San José. At 5 AM, a guy starts standing on the corner calling loudly and frequently “San José por Saprissa!” while we are still trying to sleep. It’s like having a rooster.

Speaking of which, on Christmas Eve we went to visit Natacha and Elias in the boondocks of Santo Domingo. They have a tiny farm near a stream. Across the road is bigger farm with cows and goats where they make this awesome cheese.

We had dinner with Natacha and Elias and their two kids David and Irina, and spent the night. They have three roosters, which all began to take turns crowing right outside the bedroom window at about 3:30 AM.  Two of them had kind of weak voices, but the other one had a rich, throaty crow, like a classic farm rooster.

In the morning, after breakfast, I went with Elias and David for a bike ride up the hill. It was my first bike ride in almost a year, and my first ride in Costa Rica ever. I still remembered how to do it, and I wasn’t sore later. Amazing. I want to get a bike. I don’t have any place to keep it in our tiny apartment, unfortunately. I will just have to wait.


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