I found a book on Costa Rica (by Nel Yomtov) from my favorite series (Enchantment of the World) and learned a few more interesting things!Indigenous population
: There's a site where as many as ten thousand people lived between 1000 BCE and 1500 CE with paved streets, bridges, and a large system of aqueducts.Walker
: He proposed the the US conquer Central America to create new slaveholding states and was backed by Cornelius Vanderbilt and a group of US slaveholders. "It was not until 1956 that the government started to recognize the right of the indigenous peoples to preserve their land, and set up reserves." But like many things, their laws are better than reality because they aren't well enforced due to lack of funding.Quakers
: The land now in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve was purchased by the Quakers for farming; then visiting biologists recommended that the forests be preserved and the Quakers created a nature preserve and bought additional land for it. Now it's an official national reserve. "Visitors can walk the many trails in the park--including some built in the treetops."Railroads
: Building them was dangerous; the locals didn't want those jobs so the builder brought in Chinese and Jamaican laborers and convicts from jails in New Orleans.Blacks
: They now make up 3% of the population and are mostly descendants of West Indians, mainly from Jamaica, who came to build the railroad.. ... For many decades, many Ticos did not consider black people true Costa Ricans. Blacks from the West Indies spoke English and were subjects of the British government. They were not Catholic, like most other Costa Ricans, and they had established their own churches and schools. Because of these differences, black Costa Ricans traditionally lived apart from white Costa Ricans."The 1949 Constitution
: It gave women and people of African descent the right to vote and abolished the army.Nobel peace prize
: They were fighting "Nicaraguans who supported Figureres's old rival," so a border country was continuing their civil war.No army
: "The constitution of 1949 disbanded Costa Rica's army and replaced it with the Civil Guard, which is responsible for maintaining law and order... [combining] the functions of an army, navy, air force, police force, and coast guard."Economy
: The democracy is great, but the economy struggles (25% live in poverty), though that's the lowest percentage among Central American countries.Fun facts
: "Every baseball used in Major League Baseball in the United States is made in Costa Rica." And Costa Ricans export a lot of other baseballs, too, each hand-made, but baseball is rarely played there.Economy
: Intel has a factory in San José. Medical (and dental) tourism are also big (because many procedures cost only 40% of what they cost in the US). Environment
: 80% of Costa Rica's forests have disappeared.Roads
: Only about 1/4 of the length of roads are paved. The best roads are in the Central Valley. "Mountain roads are often washed out by heavy rains or destroyed by earthquakes." There's also a Pan-American Highway "which runs from Alaska to the tip of South America, extends the length of the country, front the Nicaraguan border to Panama." Like in Mexico, "nearly every town and suburb features a centrally located square with a church or cathedral."Art
: There is a local style of art called costumbristas
that depict local customs and daily life. And there are local traditional folk dances, but Latin dances such as salsa and merengue are also popular and, on the Caribbean coast, to reggae and calypso. "Early Costa Rican plays often focused on humor and rural characters, but by the late nineteenth century, the works had become darker" focusing on the clash between traditional values and modernization. Indigenous musical instruments include the quijongo (made with a single string of hemp fiber and a thin wooden neck... attached to a hollowed-out gourd."Sports
: Outside the cities, coastal houses are built of wood on stilts; other houses with adobe and clay tile roofs.Education
: The equivalent of grades 1 - 9 are required as are school uniforms. Community service is required in high school and college. There are five public universities (none in San Jose!), and eighty private universities.Food
: indigenous (potatoes, corn, fruits, and turkey) and Spanish (pork, beef). Coffee and chocolate are also popular. There are three types of markets. Traditional markets have many vendors, offering produce, livestock (like chicken and pigs) cooked dishes (like tamales), and other goods (like leather goods, clothing, toys, and baskets). There are also pulperi/as, or general stores and malls.Spanish vocabulary
* Invierno and verano - not just winter and summer - "There are two basic seasons: invierno
, the wet season [May to November], and verano
, the dry season [December to April]."
* El pulpo - the octopus - "The United Fruit Company "had so much influence on the economy, government, and other aspects of society that it beame know as el pulpo
, the octopus."
* Ticos/Ticas - "The term probably comes from a colonial saying, 'We are all hermanticos.' In the Spanish language the word hermanticos means "little brothers." (SpanishDict says hermanito is the word for "little brother"; see more information below.
* Tiquismos - expressions used only by Ticos. "One tiquismo is !Pura vida!, ... [literally "pure life,"] often used to mean "great!" or "terrific!" in answer to the question "How's it going?"
* flaco/a (skinny) - Ticos call each other mean names affectionately such as flaco, gordo (fat), or maje (literally "sucker or "dummy," but they use it to mean "pal" or "good buddy").
* Pulpería - general store or grocery store (no relation to octopus that I can figure out)Differences in the Spanish language spoken in Costa Rica
* "They soften and slur the letter r
, which makes the r
sound nearly whistled.
* They use the suffixes -ico
instead of -ito
. Example: They shorten momento
, moment, to momentico
instead of momentito
. Funnier example: They shorten chico
, small, to chiquitico
instead of chiquito
.Blog(s) of the Day
- John Green's 100 Days
I've been enjoying the vlogbrothers, John and Hank Green, who make vlogs (video blogs) for each other (and us) once a week. They talk about important, fascinating topics and also silly topics.
I recently came across this "100 Days" channel where John talks about this year's resolution. In the intro, First Steps with Craig Benzine
, he explains: "My best friend Chris and I are going to spend 100 days doing whatever it takes to make lasting, meaningful, healthy changes in our lives. We're trying to have a healthy mid-life crisis."
They had a three-part plan: eating healthier, exercising regularly and trying many kinds of exercise, and meditation. The 100 days have passed and so there are a whole bunch of videos
out there showing how things went, mostly the different kinds of exercise they tried out, but also pictures of many of their meals (some recipes are available at the first link above) and some discussion of meditation.
They were told that once you do moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, there's very little additional benefit from doing more. Yet, most days of the week they did an hour of very intense exercise. They definitely ate better (and better than I do), and they tried meditation. At the end, they each had major improvement in their worst health measurement, triglycerides for Chris, and I forget what for John. Plus they were stronger and more flexible and fit. Bizarrely, the exercise made a huge positive impact on John's OCD. Inspiring!