Friday, July 2, 2010

10 Funny Observations of Costa Rica by Ben Wilinsky

A few weeks ago Lara asked me to post on her blog about my adventures abroad in Costa Rica. I could not decide what to talk about. I thought about reflecting on this creepy American girl who wrote me poetry on a bus, whom I am now Facebook friends with, but that seemed bland. Or possibly the two black eyes I obtained from the pressure of bungee jumping off a 300-foot-bridge, yet this seemed mild as well. So I compiled a list of all of the everyday things that make me laugh out loud (or lol if you prefer) on the bus in Costa Rica as I am studying abroad. These are my 10 observations of funny things in Costa Rica.

1. There are Jesus’ everywhere. He is either crying or about to cry or dying. Every bus has a Jesus on it. This is only funny because he is literally everywhere and he is always thoroughly upset.

2. All of the semi-trucks are owned buy Jews and have stars of David on them. The trucks have become a lovely contrast to the weeping Jesus’. Also, when I first asked about the Jews here in Costa Rica, I was bombarded with stereotypes. Like, “Oh the Jews, they keep to themselves”, or, “Oh the Jews, they’re all very rich.” These stereotypes are completely true. There is a very small Jewish community here. After meeting with them they keep basically to themselves and are all very wealthy. If not, they move back to where they are from, mostly Poland or the USA. For example: There is a kosher Burger King next to the synagogue where just the Jewish community eats…pretty cool and funny.

3. Everyone hates the United States but loves everything about the United States. The biggest concert of the year here was ACDC. There is a McDonalds on every corner and on every other corner is a Pizza Hut, Wendy’s, Burger King, even an Einstein’s Bagels! Fast food is considered pretty gourmet and there are usually waiters. Personally I do not like the fast food in Costa Rica; however, Pizza Hut is amazing here. All of the guys wear the Hollister 2002 collections like shirts that say, “Cali Surfing Champ ‘98” and American Eagle clothes. New York City is uncomfortably popular here. Note the two pictures below.

4. Jewish Women are the same everywhere; Costa Rica is not an exception. I will explain. I walked into the synagogue for the first time in Costa Rica (which was a 45 minute train ride followed by a bus and a cab, the Jews keep to themselves here. Seriously), the women who work for the synagogue could not figure out how to use the copy machine. Hmmm. After asking me the usual Jewish geography questions and after one of the women knew my friends from Israel, they then asked if I could help with the copy machine. After turning the copy machine on and explaining the idea of a paper jam, we had the monster up and running. I left this synagogue with three phone numbers of local girls my age that would “love to show me around”. Sounds like a typical day at the office with Betsy Wilinsky. Very funny.

5. Pricing is very funny here as well, for instance; a small jar of JIFF peanut butter is $10 or 5,000 colones, a six-hour bus ride across the country of four million people in an air-conditioned bus is $3 or about 1,500 colones. Very funny.

6. Costa Ricans find a way to infuse rice, beans (called gallo pinto) and bananas into literally every meal. Even Wendy’s and McDonald's have a rice and beans option on the menu…and yes it comes with fries and a frosty. This goes without saying I have lost a lot of weight.

7. Oddly enough, Costa Ricans love Jack Black. For four straight nights I could not escape Jack Black when I turned on the TV. Of course the movies are in Spanish and a man who sounds like the Hispanic version of Chris Tucker always dubs his voice. I have watched “School of Rock”, “Shallow Hal”, “Saving Silverman”, the one movie where Jack Black is oddly cast as an attractive guy paired with Katherine Heigl and “Nacho Libre”. They love him here.

8. It rains everyday here for at least two hours starting precisely at two o’clock. (this is actually not funny, its rather depressing).

9. Costa Ricans are very bad salesmen. I will be standing at the bus stop, in line, and Taxis will drive by honking their horns soliciting their services. Why the hell would I want a Taxi if I am standing at the bus stop? Also, if it’s raining and I’m walking down the street with an umbrella in my hand, street vendors selling umbrellas will thrust their wears toward me as if I needed two umbrellas. Dumb, not funny.

10. Lastly, Costa Ricans make out everywhere. This should be known as the “PDA country”. There are these large grass fields at my University and couples will just make out in the grass all day long. Movie theatres are pretty much make out rooms and it sucks sitting behind couples on the bus. The reason is because a majority of families are strict Catholics so the only place they can make out it seems is in public. Very ironic, very funny.

A small post script. I hate nail filing. Costa Ricans LOVE nail filing. They love it. I captured this woman in the act while waiting for a bus. I moved seats shortly after. Love you Lara and I hope you're having a great trip! See you in August!


  1. Thanks...informative, entertaining and free...thought I should cover some of the same categories you did.