Most things we write come out of a moment of enthusiasm

Costa Rica: Getting Ready + Traffic

I was prepared for weeks, months, in advance. Every little tiny thing had been thought if, accounted for and planned out. Discussions had flowed freely on the Facebook page dedicated to the journey I would make with 70 other university students. We discussed socks, cameras, bug repellant, thermals, music and other small oddities that occupy the minds of young adults. We were ready, and if we weren’t we had surrendered to the fact and were hoping for the best.

My flight left at about 6am, and all in all it was uneventful transit to San Jose International Airport. The airports are well signposted and the details of flights well advertised on bright screens that choke with information. My first impression of Costa Rica (I arrived at about 10pm too), once free from the airport time warp, is that everyone seems in such a rush. The traffic is darting and dangerously competent. Horns are not warning devices but simply a way of alerting people to your presence as you breeze through a red light, or a give way sign, or simply overtake. Despite the number of one way streets in Heredia, as a pedestrian you soon learn to look both ways, just in case. Everyone has somewhere to be and the best way to get there is to narrow your eyes, grit your teeth and insist on going before all the other cars (much the same way as an overly competitive horse would on a trail ride). Pedestrians and stray dogs never have right of way, ever. It is okay to overtake on a narrow road with on coming traffic. Driving in the middle of the road, straddling lanes, is ok. If you don’t have working headlights, hazards will do the job fine for short journeys. Blinkers are always, always optional and pedestrian be damned if they think you intend to go straight ahead instead of around that corner in front of them.

Welcome to Costa Rica, now get out the way before I run you over.

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This entry was posted on March 1, 2012 by in Life, Travel.
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