A little more about the people I met on my border run. As I said before, traveling alone was a blast! I met so many wonderful people. I showed up having no plans but ended up with new friends at every turn.
Within an hour of arriving I stopped to check out a menu at a restaurant and 2 gentlemen immediately told me this is the place to eat and invited me sit down with them. They were both expats from the States who moved to San Juan to enjoy the sun and inexpensive living. Before I knew it, I had a map on a napkin laying out every place I should eat before I leave. It then turned into a personal tour of the town where I was introduced to all the restaurant owners. They were so nice and inviting and it was a great start to my weekend! I even got invited to water aerobics the next morning.
I think I ate 2 meals alone the entire the weekend. And that almost turned into 1 meal, but I got uninvited to dinner one night. Again, I was looking for dinner and checking out a menu when 2 men told me (again) that the food is great and this is definitely where I should eat. One politely said “you can take a seat and eat with us if you’d like.” But the friend quickly piped in with, “no, actually you can’t.” I just laughed but he added, “really, I’m a politician in DC and I can’t be seen having dinner with other people.” Ok…
On my city tour, I was introduced to a super nice Nica who also showed me around Friday and Saturday. (He was my guide to the statue.) I really enjoyed talking with him and learning about his family and plans for the future. It was also interesting to hear about his take on Costa Rica. Ticos have their opinions on Nicas, so I guess it makes sense to have it the other way around. Not surprisingly, their views are very different.
One of the guys staying at my hostel had an interesting story… he runs his own online magazine and does it from various hostels throughout the world. It made me wish I had the technical skills to do something like that. He was also very inviting and introduced me to other people he had met here. Two of which were German girls traveling all through CA. We had a very interesting discussion about the education (or lack there of) of Americans. In case you haven’t heard, our reputation isn’t great among the Europeans.
I had breakfast with a Canadian who works for an oil company. His work schedule is 1 month on and 1 month off. So he goes to work in some pretty unique (and sometimes awful places) for a month, and then he gets a plane flight “home” or to some new destination where he hangs out for a month before going back. I thought that was a really great schedule!
It was also interesting to see how some people viewed me traveling alone. For the backpackers it was no big deal, but for other people it is. I had one guy compliment me for several minutes on how “amazing” and “brave” and whatever else I was because I was traveling alone.
Then it was time to head home, but of course I still made 3 new friends on my way back. The lady I sat next to was super nice. She was in a Spanish school in Guatemala and was now meeting her husband in CR for 3 weeks before returning to Europe. Another guy (about my age, maybe a little younger) was on an indefinite trip through CA after attending a language school. The third guy was especially interesting. He’s probably in his late 30s (rough guess), retired and now just travels all the time. He was finishing up his time in CA, headed to SA for a while, then meeting someone in Spain and heading to Thailand near the end of the year where he’ll probably spend the next 3 years or so. What?!?!?! Very cool!
I have also learned that I must visit Guatemala and Thailand. Everyone who had been to either country raves about it. I’ll add it to the list. 🙂
(Details on my parents’ visit to come shortly.)