Sunday, July 18, 2010

San Jose & Bungee Jumping

Finally here!
After 48 hours of consciousness which was filled with jaguar steps, fireworks, crack o’ dawn flights, and airplane eggs (with mystery gravy!) I’ve finally made it to San Jose, Costa Rica! Taxis, green, humidity, and smog everywhere !!!!
However, my arrival was put into serious question when a stern woman at customs didn’t believe I was a student… I pulled out my ISU student ID (with my interpretation of zoolander’s ‘magnum’) and dismissed all of her doubts.

Once I hopped into a taxi, Christian (el conductor), abrputly refreshed my memory of traffic in Central America (pure insanity). He did manage to get me to Hostel Galileo in one piece though! The hostel is an interesting combination of color, people, and stories. Bianca, an aussi from Melbourne, decided it was time for the ‘australian sabbatical’ which consists of a trip through all of the Americas and Europe. While in Mexico she was lucky enough to experience a car accident which included crooked cops and a 6 hour wait to get to the hospital!

Another aussie, Carrie, had been working here at the ye old hostel for a few months and decided it was time to return to her sabbatical and hit the road for L.A. Before leaving she enlightened our perceptions via the introduction of the aussie burger. It goes a lil something like this…

bun top
caramelized onions
beef patty
cooked beetroot (“beeroot”)
bun bottom

10 layers add up to one superb burger

As for the city itself… San Jose is, to put it simply, congested.

This is simultaneously good, bad, and everywhere else in between. After pounding the streets for 3 days (30+ miles of walking like I know where I’m going) I’ve only managed to see a portion of the city. The portion I have seen has been quite interesting to say the least. On any of the main avenues it’s possible to find everything from $2 dvds (right now the selection consists of toy story 3, eclipse, and the karate kid? –haha, yeah they spell it with ?) & ‘designer clothes’ (Hollister, aeropostale, and random knockoffs strait out of the sweat shop!) to buffalo testicles and turtle eggs (yup, cops don’t care).

There are some really cool things such as the main market (it opens at 3am and has a plethora of papaya, pineapple, and any other fruit/vegetables which annihilate anything back in the states) bus system (it’s cheap, smelly, and goes anywhere –including Nicaragua and Panama) as well as the graffiti/art. The graffiti might actually be one of my favorite parts of the city…

I spent most of my time meandering through the different suburbs in search of graffiti –which was and always is a good idea – and I even managed to stumble upon a couple of guys in the process of tagging a wall.

I asked them about it and they said it’s only illegal if you paint the wrong thing in the wrong place. After hearing this I felt my plan of spray painting a chinchilla on Laura Chinchilla’s driveway might be a bad idea (she’s the prez of Costa Rica).

Bungee Jumping

You know that feeling you get when you jump off a bridge?
Yeah it’s somewhat unbelievable/ridiculous/perfect

When looking for something to throw on Friday’s agenda I came across a nifty brochure for bungee jumping in Costa Rica. After visiting the website, and a few clicks/key strokes, I’d made reservations to jump at 1pm. When the time came on Friday (‘time’ here in Costa Rica involves a window of +/- 30 minutes) I hopped onto the shuttle bus and was welcomed by 18 fellow gringos (students in a 5 week study abroad program in san jose, the majority pre-med).

We all chit-chatted for the 60 minute drive through traffic and I found out one of the girls in the group Interned in the OB (hospital lingo for birthing unit) and had the opportunity to experience an emergency c-section… hands on. The fact that she described it in vivid detail made it all the more entertaining. When we pulled up to the bridge everyone’s attention was quickly diverted towards the girl ‘falling’ into the green abyss.

When we walked to the platform we found another study abroad group composed of a bunch of students from different universities. I recognized one of the girls in the group and quickly realized, oh yyyeah… she comes into the business café about 3 times a day. I chatted with her for a bit and found out she’s a business student at ISU. Crazy business.

We had to wait for everyone in their group to go (it was about 4-6 jumpers per hour) and while waiting another group arrived. One of the leaders of the group, a big fella later named papa bear, was repin an Iowa State University t-shirt. Turns out he did his graduate work with meat science at ISU. He had some fond memories of Kildee Hall, I however have a different perspective of Kildee Hall (thanks a bunch Genetics lecture !!!!!!!!!!)

Finally, as the sun began to sink below the canopy I was up. After seeing people jump for 5 hours my fear had dissipated and I thought, let’s do work. The guides said it was too dark to take video and I just said, it’s all good I just want to jump!

The jump was easy

The fall was breathtaking, and it all started with a swan dive

-It was the moment when I came out of the dive and my eyes centered on the river below when I realized, holy s***t I’m falling strait down. Everything stopped for a second and all my senses exploded/imploded. The feeling is indescribably fantastic. It’s a completely different form of adrenaline rush than tubing, roller coasters, or donies in a hoveround. Just go out and do it, it’s more than worth it.

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