One doesn’t have to travel the long distance to Guanacaste or the Caribbean in order find fun activities to do. Weekends in and around the Central Valley are anything but boring. And there is the added plus of still being able to get some work done on the weekends. I love being able to travel a little bit without having to entirely sacrifice my school studies.
On March 25 a bunch of the IFSA students got together for a “Tex-Mex” night. Apparently some the students were having tex-mex food withdrawals and so they decided to have a fiesta and make a bunch of tex-mex food. Teresita Camacho, one of our IFSA-Butler directors, was gracious enough to open up her home for us. Nearly all of us from the group were able to go, which was an unusual treat considering all of our different schedules. And so a team of taxis stuffed with students made the long drive up to Teresita’s home. A couple of the girls had gone earlier and had been busy in the kitchen cooking both dinner and desert. Most of the evening was enjoyed on the back patio by the garden. During the week several students were going to be celebrating their birthdays, so after dinner there were the obligatory birthday cards, songs, well wishes, and pictures. Shortly thereafter we called a bunch of taxis again, so that we could make our way back down to Heredia.
The next day (March 26) was the official opening of the new National Stadium. In a token of friendship with Costa Rica, China donated and built a National Stadium in San Jose. As part of the ceremony, there were fireworks, dances, singing and other performances my both Chinese and Costa Ricans, followed by a soccer match between the national Chinese and Costa Rican teams. My tica family had a mini-barbeque with some of the extended family and enjoyed the festivities and the game from the kitchen TV. Although I would have like the Costa Rica team to win, it seemed fit that a soccer match of such an occasion should end in a tie.
The following weekend (April 1), six of us girls from the program donned our best dresses and went out to dinner and then went to the National Theatre in San Jose. It is always fun to have an excuse to dress up a little bit. Dinner was delicious and a bit extravagant, but suited the occasion. The “Teatro Nacional” is a beautiful building near downtown San Jose and has a long and rich history. There are usually concerts or plays every weekend of varying style or genre. We enjoyed a concert by the Costa Rican National Symphonic Orchestra along with a guest violinist from Germany and a guest conductor from India. The program boasted pieces by Beethoven and Moray and were beautifully performed, so much that, some of us struggled not to nod off. After a hard week of classes and such relaxing music I suppose we can hardly be blamed.
Saturday (April 2) a group of six of us went to the Irazú Volcano for the day. Located near Cartago, Irazú is about a two hour bus ride from San Jose. It stands at roughly 3,500 meters and is one of the tallest peaks in Costa Rica. “Volcan Irazú” contains a large crater with a teal-colored pool of water at the bottom. From a “mirador” or lookout point at the top of the ridge overlooking the crater, one can see the “Valle Central” or Central Valley as well as the numerous valleys on the other side with “Volcan Turrialba” smoking not too far away. It was here at the mirador that we decided to plop down on the rocks and dirt (outside of the fencing I might add) and enjoy a late lunch with the clouds creeping over the valley view below us.
“Boring weekends” in the Central Valley? I think not!