So on Friday, we had planned to go to the cultural square in San Jose and visit some museums, but it happened to be at the same time Costa Rica played Italy. The night before, my host…brother-in-law explained that they set up a huge flat screen t.v. in the square and thousands people come from miles to watch the game. Unfortunately, ISA thought this environment might be potentially dangerous for a group of young, foreign students, so our trip had to be postponed. Instead, some of us went to the university to view the match. The amphitheater was packed with rambunctious students donning their Costa Rican colors, and it was quite the experience. I’ve never really followed soccer, but it turns out that their team isn’t usually the greatest, which is why everyone went absolutely crazy when they beat Italy.
I thought the scene at the university was a spectacle, but afterwards some of us went downtown. We walked along the main road, and every single car that passed us had people honking or hanging out the windows yelling and waving their flags. When we finally arrived, I stopped in Carlos’ shoe store to say hello, and he explained that this is only the second time in history that Costa Rica has made it to the second round. As we got closer to the square in Heredia, the masses of people got thicker and everyone continued to shout, chant, blow horns and cheer; it was really like one big party. The streets around the square were completely blocked off and the people filled the roads, dancing to the music coming from one of the bars. Its really hard to fully describe the scene, but just imagine what Chicago might be like if the Cubs ever won a World Series, and multiply it by five. I’m not sure if the day was technically considered a national holiday, but I don’t know how anyone could have been at work, as they all seemed to be celebrating in the streets. It was really awesome to see such national pride!
On Saturday, we went to the feria; basically, farmers from all over the country come to Heredia every Saturday morning to sell their products. There was an entire street blocked off, and the booths went for probably at least a mile. There was every type of produce you could imagine, and many I had never heard of. Many vendors had similar items, so the patrons took advantage of the free market and bargained until they were absolutely sure they had gotten the best deal. Afterwards, we continued exploring downtown Heredia and visited any of the shops we had previously missed. In the evening, Frances and I accompanied our family to church. It was a very small, tight-knit congregation and an interesting experience. Overall, the weekend was a great opportunity to experience the local culture.
Today was mostly spent working on (or avoiding) homework, but we did go out to watch the USA game in the afternoon. We had been winning 2-1 until the very last like 30 seconds when Portugal scored a final goal! Apparently, they will have to play each other again to determine who moves to the next round. I’m really excited for the next Costa Rica game on Tuesday,and I’m kind of hoping we get out of class early to watch it!