Week Fourteen – Election Coverage

I’ll admit it; I’ve been putting off this week’s Ramblings.  See, usually when I sit down to write this, I look back through my journal and pick out a couple of the most interesting things we have done.  I think about what would be the most fun to read about.  So, uh, interesting things this past week…

It’s not that we haven’t been doing anything, it’s that very little of it would make good reading.  For instance, the kids were sick and then I was sick; not with anything serious, just a little cold/flu type thing; but you know how it goes: first Hannah got sick and was feeling miserable, but Ezra was fine, so she’s sick and I’m taking care of her and he’s bored to tears.  Then he’s sick and she’s bored.  Then I’m so run down that I start sneezing too.  Aidan doesn’t actually get sick, just lethargic and grumpy.  After a few days of being quarantined in our hotel room watching Discovery channel only emerging for bits of food and caffeine, we were all ready to snap.

On Sunday we were still all coughing, but needed to find food and wandered into the downtown.  Sunday was unique in Costa Rican history for two reasons: 1) it was election day, and CR has just elected by majority vote, their first female president; and 2) there is an old prohibition law that had been in effect for the last sixty years stating that no alcohol is allowed to be served on an election weekend that was just revoked, making this Sunday the first time there has been an election where people could also have a beer.  Now, some speculate that the law being revoked is directly responsible for the fact that a woman was just elected.  I personally think we have the Superbowl to thank – while the men were at home watching football the women were out voting.  Finally, football has proven useful!

Elections here are really different than in Canada or the States.  Sitting downtown we watched as trucks bearing banners for one candidate or another drove by, flags a-waving, horns a-honking, people spilling out and shouting – usually good naturedly, occasionally not – at the people spilling out of the trucks for the opposing parties. In the town square park, vendors were walking through selling ices, fresh squeezed orange juice and glow sticks.  People milled about in groups, drinking cans of beer (because hey, it’s legal now!), waiting to hear what the results would be.  Because San Isidro is the major centre in this part of the country, lots of people had bussed in to be a part of the event, so it was much more crowded than usual.  I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if citizens acted like this in Canada for an election.  They’d probably be arrested for the crime of public enthusiasm.

We spent some time last week looking for an apartment or house that we could rent.  This city is a good place to be based out of as it is easy to travel from here to all of the other places we want to go over the next little while, but it was getting to be very expensive staying in hotels and I had gotten to the point where I was really sick of eating in restaurants.  I know, I know, ‘poor baby!’ but there it is.  We finally found a little place that we thought would work for us: fully furnished, able to walk into town, neighbours with kids, etc.  They were planning to paint and clean it up and such since the last tenants had been rough.  I asked the landlady if it would be possible to move in on Tuesday, to which she replied, “All things are possible!”

Well, that’s a typical Costa Rican answer and I really should have known better, but, naively, we showed up Tuesday and, of course, it wasn’t ready for us.  I should explain the above sentence: people here are really sweet and it’s a cultural thing to give people the answer they want to hear, even if it is an exaggeration.  When she said, “All things are possible,” what that really means is, “well, if Paint-man and a team of construction-talented superheroes in capes show up immediately and work their butts off all weekend, yeah, it could be ready.”  So, we went to yet another hotel for the night, returning late Wednesday.  They just finished up the last couple things this morning, three days later.  The long and short of it is however, that we have an actual place to live for the time being.  And maybe, just maybe, that means that next week will be more interesting to read about.

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