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bungee jumping!!

So I went bungee jumping this past weekend!

Here is the video of my jump: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoh8I4kS3Ss&feature=plcp

There is really not much to say because it is just so amazing on its own, but it was UNBELIEVABLE.

 

Well I have now celebrated my second independence day of the year – September 15 was Costa Rican Independence Day!  On September 15, 1921 Spain was defeated in the Mexican War for Independence.  At this point Guatemala declared independence for all of Central America – none of the Central American countries actually fought Spain for independence.  There was a brief internal struggle in Costa Rica over where the capital should be, Cartago or San José, but aside from that it was a peaceful independence.

It was interesting to see how they celebrated the day here.  The Parque Central and a lot of buildings around Heredia were decorated with Costa Rican flags and other patriotic decorations.  On Friday during the school day, my 7-year-old host brother’s class went door-to-door in pairs to talk about Independence Day.  They just stated basic facts, but who can resist cute 7-year-olds at the door?  Saturday morning there was a huge parade through Heredia.  It consisted of every single grade school, middle school, and high school in the city.  I’m not exaggerating – every school has spent weeks preparing a marching band, baton twirlers, etc. and before each band in the parade was a banner with the name of the school.  The parade lasted 3 hours.  Also, in Parque Central at nights all week there have been various celebrations, dances, music, etc.  Costa Ricans sure know how to celebrate!  One thing missing from their celebrations was fireworks – they said that sometimes there are fireworks, but it isn’t a tradition like it is in the US.  To me, the night didn’t feel complete without a fireworks show :(

Adorable little girl in traditional Costa Rican attire.

The stilt figures

Kids marching with heavy-looking flags…

My host sister Nicole in the parade!

Then last Sunday Heredia the soccer team played in Heredia!  So of course I went.  I kind of feel like it is a Latin American rite of passage to go to a soccer game.  It was tied, 1-1, near the end of the game, and the other team was doing that stalling thing where they pretend to be hurt every time they get near another player to run the clock out.  So the Heredia goalie did a goal kick, I guess before the ref blew the whistle.  So the ref comes over and gives him a yellow card.  The goalie must have said something, because almost immediately the ref changed it to a red card.  Of course at this point the entire crowd is furious, throwing food and garbage and spitting through the fence (they can’t throw coins, because they confiscate all the coins on the way in).  Heredia subs in a new goalie, and play continues…for like 30 more seconds until the game ended.  The whole way home my family ranted about how awful the ref was for that call.  Personally I didn’t think it was that big of a deal – would Heredia really have scored in those 30 seconds anyway?  I was more upset that it ended as a tie.

Go Heredia!!! The crowd looks calm now, but don’t let them fool you — they get angry fast.

me, my host sister Sofia, and my host brother Daniel before the game

Also, I realized I forgot to tell y’all about Sarchí!  First some background info: Costa Rica is known for its oxcarts.  They were traditionally used to transport coffee from the fields to the ports – because of the mountains and the abundant rain, the roads were often muddy and dangerous.  The oxcarts were designed to make the voyage safer – the wheels don’t have spokes, so mud can’t get caught, and they were built strong enough to withstand bad weather.  Anyway, today the oxcarts are a cultural sign of the country.  They are known for their unique paint designs, and are hand-painted.  We visited Sarchí as a class a few weeks back.  Sarchí is the town where they still make and hand-paint oxcarts of every shape and size.  It is also the home of the world’s largest oxcart.

 

The largest carreta (oxcart) in the world!

Close-up of the wheel of the carreta – it’s all hand-painted.

One of the artists hard at work painting a wheel.

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