Thursday, January 28, 2010

What NOT to do next time you're in Costa Rica

O.K., this is probably my last big Costa Rica post because you're probably getting sick of reading about this latest adventure in my life. If so, just turn away and come back tomorrow.

But I just had to follow up with this post because I've already told you many of my impressions. Things that made me laugh about our cultural differences. But today I wanted to tell you about what our Costa Rican guests, M and L, thought some of the main differences were.

On their last night here we ate dinner and headed out for one last shopping trip (oh my goodness, those girls could SHOP!). As we drove, the girls shared some of the main things that we do that they thought were kind of . . . shall we say . . . strange.

1. Drinking milk with dinner. I don't think the girls had ever, not once in their lives, drank milk with their dinner. L said she really thought she would get sick if she drank milk with food. Isn't that just hilarious?

2. Phone numbers. "Your phone numbers are LONG," they told me.

3. Stop signs. They aren't just suggestions here. People really do stop at them.

4. Mini vans. Everybody has one. (Oh, don't get me started.)

5. Pointy roofs. Their words, not mine. I guess they were struck by the slant in our roofs and the black shingles everyone uses here. Their roofs are all flat and tiled.

6. No gates. This was one of those glaring differences that they pointed out right away on the first night--nobody has gates. Apparently in Costa Rica, everyone has a gate for security. Which led to a discussion about guns and safety in America. They felt extremely safe here despite all the media talk about how apparently everyone in America carries a gun. (Which they found to be so not true.) One of the girls even said it was such a relief to not have to always be thinking about holding her purse close to her body so it wouldn't get snatched.

7. This last one made me laugh so hard. Nose blowing in public. They thought it was so strange that it's considered O.K. for people to blow their nose in public (although my husband would disagree with that one). They said that in Costa Rica nobody would ever blow their nose in public--it's considered something similar to letting loose another bodily function in public.

So there you go. If you're ever in Costa Rica, you'll be way ahead of the game. You'll know that in your incredibly small rental car you can slide through that stop sign. You won't drink milk with dinner in a home with a flat tiled roof and a huge gate out front. And it will be much easier to call a friend with their short phone numbers and all.

And finally, you'll know to never, ever, under any circumstance, blow your nose in front of another person.



  1. I agree on the milk one - that's gross! (I'm not a big milk fan!) :)

    But I'd be in trouble in Costa Rica. I have bad allergies, so I'm always blowing my nose in public!!

  2. Hilarious. On the topic of mini-vans....I didn't meet them and I DON'T have a minivan. Granted I only have 2 kids so far but I am holding my ground! Although I will admit that I laugh when I get together with my "playgroup" because there are 9 minivans..

  3. It's just amazing to hear the differences. We get so caught up in our own lives and world, we never think how it looks to others. I'm curious...what did they like to shop for?

  4. Mary, you are hilarious!

    Mrs. W . . . just wait. :)

    DMS, they shopped mostly for clothes. They said that in CR, one pair of American Eagle jeans would cost about $150, so you can imagine how excited they were to see the prices here.

  5. I have enjoyed hearing about this adventure so if you think of more to share, don't hold back! Our son is in Costa Rica on a surfing trip with his buddies right now and LOVING it! He called his bride when we were on our girl trip to NYC to talk about his desire to go surfing. Very smart boy. LOL.