When I learned I would have to find my own place to live here in Santa Ana, I spent quite a bit of time on Craigslist trying to figure out what types of places were available. I quickly realized that it was too difficult to do this because, like the UAE, Costa Rica doesn’t use addresses. So it became very difficult to figure out if “Santa Ana” on an ad meant the center of town or simply in the “greater Santa Ana area”. What I did decide, though, were my requirements for my new place. Here they were/are in no particular order:
- Must have outdoor space for eating, working, relaxing, etc.
- Must have good natural light and cross-breezes
- Must have own washing machine (not shared)
- Must be within walking distance of the school and a grocery store
After looking at a few places that didn’t really suit me very well for a variety of reasons (one was literally just a large room with the shower and toilet on a outside patio) we visited a place just outside the school doors that in the end I decided to rent. I am currently sitting on my back patio enjoying the nice weather and distant mountain views while I write this. Here are some pics of the new place:
Friday was my first national holiday in Costa Rica and the start of a three-day weekend. Since the school was closed on Friday, they had a mini-celebration for the holiday on Tuesday. Friday was Mother’s Day and the school did an excellent job celebrating all the mothers who work there. They provided a special meal, gave roses to all the moms and even had a mariachi band come in and perform during lunch.
On Thursday the school again provided a celebration, this time to celebrate the coming school year. They took us all out to a traditional Costa Rican lunch of casado and cas. Casado is a dish composed of rice, beans, plantain, salad and your choice of meat. It is very, very good. It will probably become comfort food for me! Cas is a fruit, from the guava family, that they make into a pulpy drink. It has a unique taste that is between sour and bland, not bad, just different. Sorry I didn’t get any pictures, I was too busy chatting with my new coworkers.
Saturday some of the new teachers and one veteran (our guide) went into San José. This was a great opportunity to not only see the city, but also to learn how to ride the bus. We took the bus from the center of Santa Ana, to a large beautiful park in San José. On the edge of the park is the former airport (I assume that the park is in the spot of the former runway) which has been turned into an art museum for local and international artists.
We spent a few more hours exploring San José, particularly in the market and art/culture districts. It is a lovely area and I’m looking forward to going back. And, next time I’ll take more pictures.
Finally, today I attended the “Feria” (Farmer’s Market) in Santa Ana which is held every Sunday. For less than $20 USD, I got some great stuff for the week ahead. Plus I had two delicious Salvadorean pupusas for breakfast, which were my biggest expense of the day at $5.