Costa Rica: Day 39

Yes i’m still counting the days. Today I realized that around this neighborhood there are these neighborhood stores. Meaning that their house is connected to the store that they run. For example, yesterday I walked with my tica family to the “store” and it was a little shop across the street and down 2 houses. One of the guys in my program actually stays at this house and today I am eating at a pizza place right next door to the school, touching walls and I see the stairs leading to the actual house/living part of the restaurant and a girl in my international business class lives here. I would be so lucky to leave my school and walk less than 50 feet to my house. Thats just my observations for today.

Field Trips: Yesterday I went to the Congress and skating. The congress was an unexpected field trip. It was with my international relations class. We were initially suppose to go to the foreign policy department but the director rescheduled three times and then rescheduled the day of. My teacher told us he was frustrated but we went to the Costa Rica Congress instead. That was a nice trip. I even met the Vice President of the congress who is currently the President while the appointed President is out of town. 

The interesting part of this congress is that it is the only chamber. They do not have a senate side. Also there are only 57 members of the congress. These 57 people are the most important in the government, even over the president. Because after the civil war in 1948 they took away all the presidents power. That is why it is so important that the current President Laura Chinchila veto’d a pay raise for the congress because she can’t technically does not have veto power. But she got around it because she was vetoing against her own political party not the congress as a whole. Another part of the congress system here is that in each of the commission meeting rooms and the full session room there are seating areas with bullet proof glass for the general public to come and hear what they are discussing and bang on the glass and pressure the congressman to make decisions. This picture shows where I saw bullet holes in the glass.

As we were leaving we saw protestors coming for the session that the congress was having at 3pm. The biggest project they are having right now was the tax increase. After the last president left office he spent every penny in the budget leaving Laura with nothing. In order to generate money she needs to collect taxes or else she will not be able to do anything for the next three years. This tax increas means taxing electric cars, classes enrolled at private schools and an additional 10% for restaurants on top of 13% tax and 10% for tips. Thats 33% worth of taxes for a dinning out experience.

That was one of the most fascinating trips I have been on. Then later yesterday night I went skating. I hadn’t been skating since I was in middle school so I hoped I wouldn’t fall. Once I got on the skates I was fine I just had to get my balance back. This brought back all memories from The Palace skate parties and Saints with the YWCA. I was watching everyone do all the fancy moves and stuff like at Gospel skate. I tried to do a little. I even got my leg up a bit and I finally learned how to backward skate!! Krystal said she may go back since its such a good workout for her. I wouldn’t mind at all.

- The Natural Travelista