While touring Heredia today, I noticed the Ticos are, as expected, very laid back people. It is Sunday so there was less traffic than expected. However, people were still out and about. There were people in el parque central, relaxing and sitting on benches beneath trees. At 10:50am, the church bells rang and families began to walk into the church. I expected more people in the park to wander over towards the church, but less did. This could be due to the remaining families following Tico time, where there is no rush. We also explored a different nearby park that had a church service taking place outside. On the outskirts of the crowd were two men standing behind portable carts that looked like they were selling a type of juice. I thought that was interesting and did not expect to see anything like it today.
We also walked through el Mercado central and saw the fruits, meats, and even the lottery stand. I expected the Ticos to stare and be visibly annoyed as a group of veintidós Americanos took a tour through a place that was so common for them. Aside from receiving a few stares from the Ticos, most likely for standing in the middle of the walkway, they were seemingly unbothered by our presence and most even smiled in our direction.
Although I could read the name of the church and majority of the names of the food offered in the market, my Spanish definitely needs improving. During survival Spanish, some of what I learned in high school began to come back and I hope by the end of this trip I can speak Spanish better than I could in high school. Speaking to my host family in Spanish rather than very poor Spanglish should help me to achieve this. My host family plays music through the house all day, and the station alternates between American hit songs and Spanish songs, which will also help improve my Spanish.
I expected the food to be amazing, but it is so much better than that. Words do not do justice to my host mom’s gallo pinto or Restaurante Leño y Carbon Parrillita’s lunch. The flavors are the farthest from bland and very unique relative to each other and anything I have ever tasted before. As a wannabe traveler who left the states for the first time yesterday, I can say with confidence Costa Rica has won me over on day 1 and I cannot wait to see what the next two weeks hold!