Friday, July 14, 2006

Esta Fin de Semana


This weekend we are going to Limón on the Carribean coast. We will be staying with friends, Ismael and Karla, and their two kids. Katherine worked with Ismael for a while at the airport, but now he has returned to Costa Rica, his home.

This trip should be interesting. There has been much ado about it. As best as we can tell, there are still some significant racial tensions in Costa Rica, similar to those of the United States.

Culturally, Limón is far more Carribean than the rest of the country. In San José (indeed in all of our time thus far) we have seen almost no black people. Historically, Limón is a city of former slaves from Jamaica that were used to build much of the infrastructure of the country. Until about 40 years ago blacks were not allowed in the city of San José (the capital and largest city by far). Every time we tell someone our plans for the weekend, people say, "Be careful, ok?" or "Why would you want to go there?" Even the ticket agent at the bus station thought we were in the wrong line. In a country whose financial stability is heavily dependant upon tourism, there are no advertisements for Limón. We have not spoken to anyone who has been there. The students from this school typically go all over the country on weekends, but never to Limón. Some of this information has been difficult to come by because people seem reluctant to talk about why they might be concerned for us.

My guess -- these are well-intentioned people with strong roots of racism. Our Limónian friend Ismael (who is black) came to San José on Wednesday and he said that he thought San José was far more dangerous than Limón.

We´re looking forward to a great weekend. I think it will be fun.

I plan to take pictures and post them on Monday.

Esta fin de semana, Dios le compaña, y nosotros tambien.


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