From time to time I post articles from guest writers. This article was written by the late Lair Davis to express his love for this wonderful country. After living here for 41 years I echo the author’s sentiments in that you can discover the state of being known as pura vida — the true source of Costa Rica’s wealth!
Costa Rica Love Song
I love you, Costa Rica, my home. Let me count the ways.
I love the fact that I have no mailbox, which means I receive no junk mail. I do have a post office box, however. There is never any junk mail in it, either.
I love my neighborhood bar, where they welcomed me effusively and let me run a tab the first time they ever laid eyes on me. Each time I go to that happy place, you would think I am their most regular customer. I’ve been there three times in the past year.
I love being able to make monthly payments on something the full cost of which is $25.
I love the iguana that lives in the drainage ditch up the block, and that he has become so fat because all the neighbors feed him constantly.
I love never having to think about tomatoes (or other fruits and vegetables) being out of season.
I love the jugglers who entertain you at street intersections in San José while you wait for the light to change.
I love the police — wow! Never thought I’d say that! Costa Rican police really aren’t law enforcers so much as peace-keepers and information-givers. They seem so much less full of themselves than police I’ve encountered elsewhere.
I love those wonderful massages given by the fully accredited physical therapist in my town. It costs $30-$45 for a 90-minute treatment.
I love that the buses will stop to pick up and drop off people anywhere along the road between towns.
I love it that there is a shop where they only repair umbrellas. It costs about a dollar to have one fixed — while you wait.
I love receiving a discount from just about every store and business in the country simply because I smile and say buenos días to everyone when I enter. I enjoy watching other gringos in the same stores seriously “get right down to business,” having not learned this little touch of Costa Rican social grace — and then watching them pay more everywhere every time. You think cultural differences do not matter? You feel that simple, basic courtesy doesn’t pay?
I love the continued tradition in this country of doctors, lawyers and other professionals making “house calls.”
I love watching a teenage boy holding hands with his mother while walking through the public park in the center of town in full view of all his friends.
I love never having seen a single child throw a fit in the grocery store. How have these children learned to behave so well in public places, I wonder.
I love knowing when the national soccer team scores without even watching the game. Everyone else is watching, though. With every goal, the whole community lets out a roar.
I love when I ask someone for directions and he or she completely stops what they are doing in order to escort me personally halfway across town, deliver me to the door, and proudly introduce me to the proprietor.
I love the politeness most teenagers display to people my age. Yesterday I watched a teenage boy leave his friends waiting while he went back across the street and assisted an elderly gentleman in making his way. No snide, smart-alecky remarks greeted the good Samaritan when he returned to his group of friends.
I love not knowing the weather forecast. Actually, I DO know the forecast. Everyone who lives in Costa Rica knows what the weather will be like today.
I love not having to decide what to wear today.
I love not being able to hear the televisions in so many places because of the sound of the rain falling on the tin roofs.
I love when the clouds suddenly roll in and hide that tremendous mountain across the valley, and then just as suddenly roll out again.
I love having sidewalks along country roads.
I love sunsets that take my breath away, and the necklaces of streetlights that sparkle at night up and down the mountains in the distance.
I love being awakened at dawn by the noisiest birds on the planet.
I love having a cup of java at the local coffee shop that is as good as any offered by Starbuck’s — at one-forththe price.
I love when a storekeeper informs me that I am the greatest living customer he has ever had the honor and privilege to humbly serve and that my presence in his establishment has surpassed any possible visit in the future by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England herself. (A slight exaggeration, I suppose but, hey, it worked — I’ll be back!)
I love the smiles on the faces of the taxi drivers as they go about their daily work. I love the fact that tipping taxi drivers is not customary. I love that so many taxistas insist that I take back the change from my fare, even when it amounts to less than a nickel.
I love that I am coming to understand the joy of “now.” Tomorrow will come — or not — but “now” is this moment’s pleasure. ¡Pura vida!