We took a tour of San Jose yesterday – after seeing Rome, Florence, Prague, Barcelona, not much measures up. But we did get a sense of the place. The building above is a National Museum, very modest in terms of grandeur, as are the presidential home and congressional buildings. The art museums were sparsely furnished. We spent a long time underground looking at Columbian artifacts, not my thing, but I did note that sun worship was prevalent, as in Europe, and that certain images, such as a sun eagle, were a match for the Egyptian God Horus.
One of our tour companions wants to move here, is ready for a life change, and is finding it difficult, many hoops. Despite having universal health care here, people from other countries have to buy in, so she would end up paying $700 a month, cheap by American standards. Local authorities want her to invest, but she would not be able to work here. In addition, she needs to put $60,000 in the bank and withdraw $2,500 a month to live on, and do that regularly while renewing her visa while avoiding the tag “perpetual tourist.” All very difficult.
Costa Rica has no army, has not since 1949. People wonder why they have never been invaded in that time, and the answer is seen all around in MacDonalds, Taco Bell, KFC and other American companies. They have. But they have not resisted American corporate power, and so the US military has had no need to take off the gloves. If you live like a serf, you can live in peace. Got that Nicaragua? Venezuela? None of this going your own way nonsense.
There is no poverty in the extreme, no beggars, and no extreme wealth either. Faces on the streets are mostly serious, as if needing to be somewhere quickly. Very few smiles, and those mostly in younger people. It is a large city, somewhat dirty, with bars over windows and razor wire everywhere. It is not unlike Lima, but far far more inviting and healthy than Dehli or Kathmandu, based on our brief experiences.