Day 2/180: The Crime City – Living Life In Costa Rica
November 10, 2019
I arrived on Costa Rican ground at 5am in the morning. The first thing I noticed when I got outside was a burnt smell in the air (volcanoes?). The second thing was the sunrise. The colours were subtle, but it was gorgeous nonetheless. I ignored the 10 taxi drivers offering me a trip to the city centre (I wasn’t about to ruin my plans to live as low budget as possible) and found the local bus. It was in pretty poor state.
The road from the airport to the city centre always vagualy scares me. It’s like you’re continually greeted by the ugliest part of any country. There’s tons of traffic, ugly buildings, industrial sights and, of course, the typical multinationals (I have yet to find a place where there’s no McDonalds) that are ruining our health and planet (sorry, I had to).
Because so many people told me I should avoid San José, we’d decided to take the bus straight to another (and presumably safer) place near the coast. The minute we arrived in the capital, I realized this was a good call. This may be one of few things people didn’t exaggerate about. The longer I spent there, the more I felt like I was in some sort of crime city. Also, I was lost the minute I got off the bus (this happens when millenials have no immediate wifi access).
What instantly surprised me was how many people were around at 6am in the morning. Seriously, it was busier than the high street in Antwerp on a sunny day. After some time I noticed that 90% of the people outside were (angry looking?) men, which is when I started to feel slightly uncomfortable. Luckily, an extremely kind woman pointed us in the right direction and even ordered and PAYED for an uber. She told us that we shouldn’t walk there because it was a very sketchy neighbourhood (her words: danger!). Help?
Long story short, I survived and an hour later I was safely inside of a fancy bus (at least compared to the vehicle I was in before). The way there was another 4 hours, but surprisingly, I wasn’t sleepy at all. Maybe because the airco was cold as ice.
I was shocked by the houses on the way there. Although houses is a generous term, they were more like cabins or shacks. I felt ashamed, almost, to realize one of those would fit in our house at least 3 times. The same recurring thought entered my mind again: privileged middle class white girl going on some eat pray love adventure to “find herself”. Oh well. Fear of embarrasment or being a gigantic cliché wasn’t going to stop me anymore. It’s not like the millions of economy students that are going for the big bucks in huge companies are helping anyone, but no one asks them any questions. Besides, isn’t not using your privilige even more offensive? You’re not doing anyone any favours by leading a life that doesn’t excite you. If you have a chance at freedom, freakin’ take it!
Okay, rant over.
After 20 hours of travelling and running on as good as no sleep, I finally arrived at my Airbnb in Cahuita. I’d be here for a total of 4 days and I’d booked a slightly more expensive (still cheap though) place to get over my first jetlag (aw). I didn’t take a minute of it for granted. The room was even nicer than I thought, there was an amazing hammock outside and the vibes were chill. Lots of fellow backpackers, hosts that were overly friendly and a lovely kitchen and patio area. Wait, am I writing an ad?
Anyway, to my past self: enjoy these feeble moments of luxury while you can, love, because you’ve got a big storm coming.Liked this article? Please share!