BEWILDERMENT: PARA LLEVAR, PORFA.
At Christmastime in Canada for a handful of years leading up to my move to Central America, you could go to any of our local supermarkets and buy a six pack of Coca Cola in small, glass bottles à la the original Coke. One of the pleasant surprises for me in Costa Rica was the ubiquity of this format in almost every pulperia (convenience store) on practically every street. To add to my bewilderment, you have the option of chugging the coke on the spot, paying the deposit on the bottle para llevar (to go, and not common), or have it poured into a small plastic baggie and tied off. You may want to reread that last sentence, but I assure you it is without error. It was at that moment that the pounding heat of the molten hammer in the sky combined with my already dumbfounded struggles with trying to linguistically decipher the 3 aforementioned options presented to me by the cashier that I truly felt that I was on another part of this planet. I spent a good deal of time walking and hiking in the area of San Lorenzo and San Joaquin. I took note of the rhythm of the culture if you will. What was the pace of the people? How did they interact and acknowledge me? How many of them had beverages in bags? Adjusting to a super early sunset (5:30pm!), staring longingly at the mountains to be conquered in the distance, and gorging myself endlessly on little bottles of Coke and fried chicken infused a now long-standing love of el campo (the countryside) and the small towns of Costa Rica. A dormant volcano awaits a capital city to be explored, and a job interview to be had. All of this and more weeks before we would even be considered a candidate for Internet access. I knew I was into something good.