New trends from Costa Rica
posted on Sunday, April 12, 2009 05:48 PM
When I’m traveling I like to see if I can spot new trends that may be emerging from the country I am visiting, and consider whether some of these may catch on and become global trends.
From Antigua, Guatemala, I went to San Jose, Costa Rica. If Antigua is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, San Jose is probably one of the least. Like Guatemala City, the central parks, seem to be built on top of sewers. Quite why, the urban planners put their prestigious capital sites on top of leaking sewage I fail to understand. But it certainly makes for quick visits to see the statues of the nation’s hero’s. Maybe the planners were politically inspired with the aim of politically uninspiring the civil population. I mean, if President Sarkozy of France put a sewer under the Bastille, he would kill off anti-government demonstrations in an instant.
Another less than appealing trend in the Americas is the amount of gun stores. The weapons come in all manner of sophistication and power. “20 high velocity shots in a second” and so forth. Needless to say the news stories are full of kids shooting up schools, family homes etc and killing several at a time. I also notice that these stores have personal easy to use weapon detectors much like you see at airports and even in some clubs. It is probably only a matter of time before parents will have such detectors to run over their teenager kids before sitting down to the family dinner. “If you bring guns to the table, there will be no desert!” I don’t like to pass judgment but I do think it is time to curtail such easy access to weapons. Guns kill people, period.
After checking into my hotel in a slightly seedy part of downturn San Jose I dutifully read the guest guide and noticed amongst the do’s and don’t that ‘Professional Visitors’ were strictly forbidden. Now it is possible that I am innocent to the ways of the world but I was left wondering what exactly is a “professional visitor”. Clearly it is something that is bad for hotel guests but I have been around long enough to know that most things that we are told that are bad for us are also in most cases, fun. Further more, although it was not included when I did my degree in Economics, I know that one of the formulas of value is BAD + FUN = MONEY (lots of). So my humble suggestion to social entrepreneurs who may be struggling during these hard times is that you could consider exploring a career as a professional visitor to hotels provided of course you are allowed past the reception. Quite what you are expected to do once you meet the paying guest is more than my imagination can stretch at this point but as ever, this is only a suggestion.
I do not recommend hotel TV in this part of the world. What is not in Spanish (which I do not understand), inevitably comes from the United States. Quite why the most powerful country in the world makes such crap television I do not know. Obama, sort it out. Yes you can!
It was with some relief that I left San Jose for the pacific coast at Manuel Antonio. This national park is a rich mixture of jungle and beautiful beaches, many of them virtually isolated. At last, I can chill and free myself from the confusion that arises when in pursuit of spotting new trends. Adios!