while my time in nica was, mas o menos, spent "with the people," my stopover-day in san jose was more bourgeois. i spent most of the day sitting around in cafes, consuming espressos and trying, almost successfully, to catch up with work.
and in a sense that was perhaps a suitable way to spend my few hours in costa rica, as the country does like to pride itself of being the least impoverished spanish-speaking country (including eu-member spain). that is not to say that costa rica does not have poverty, slums and marginalisation, but the country has a lesser degree of inequality than its neighbours, and more stability. this might well be linked to the fact that the country has no army. no army = no coup d'etats, less outside interference and more money to spend on more useful things.
central san jose has a mixture of fin-de-siecle neo-classicist buildings and 1960s-70s concrete towers. the former, adorned with symbols drawn from the french revolution and freemasonry, are monuments to the classical liberal goals of enlightenment of its european-oriented social and political elite. the latter are the monuments of a by-gone economic boom, and both old and new combine to give the city a slightly melancholy air of faded glory.
speaking of faded glory, on my way out at the airport i had the joy and honour to meet up with those old travelling companions of mine, the scorpions. and yes, they played my song.