Hints of Africa

I lived for 3 years in The Gambia, West Africa which is undoubtedly a “3rd World” country, so much more primitive and less developed than Costa Rica which some call a “2nd World” or developing nation, but still almost a night-day contrast with The Gambia, though occasionally something reminds me of Africa, usually in rural areas but sometimes even in the cities.

When I go to Alajuela by bus I arrive at a primitive bus station, just a big parking lot! Not in the most desirable part of town! Then my most common first stop is Aeropost to pick up an internet order package, about a 10 to 12 block long walk (I need to count it sometime!). The first 4 blocks or until past the Central Market is what sometimes reminds me of Africa. The broken sidewalks are usually crowded with many people, most poor. They are made more crowded by the occasional vendor like the fruit & vegetable guy in this photo and beggars sitting on the sidewalk asking for money. (None of this in Atenas.) And this area has only cheap merchandise shops, trash in the street, nasty smells of rotting food, milk, or even a dead animal today (probably a rat/mouse) causing me to walk fast the first four blocks to get past the mercado and my reminders of West Africa. Then there is a large department store, bank, nicer businesses, Central Park, Cathedral, restaurants, etc. Another world a block away!

And today I fell again (like I’m getting old or something!). On the way back up the street from Aeropost, just before Central Park and the McDonalds where I ate breakfast, my foot was stopped by a loose brick in the sidewalk while the rest of my body kept going! Crash into the nasty street gutter with abrasions on both hands and knees and immediately a plethora of people helping me get up, a parking lot attendant giving me his chair. I asked him for a band-aid but could not remember the spanish name (la curita) and rare that I did not have one in my billfold, but I didn’t. I just wrapped my bleeding finger in my handkerchief and walked on to McDonalds where I cleaned up in their bathroom and rested with a full breakfast before walking back to the next bus to Atenas. That was today’s adventure and I’m staying home the rest of the day! 🙂  And reminding myself to break a very old habit of walking fast! And life is still good here!

¡Pura Vida!


PS — The related posts that are following at the end of each new post are automatically generated by WordPress, I assume based on keywords. I find this interesting and think that most of their suggestions are pretty good.  🙂

8 Replies to “Hints of Africa”

  1. Happy Birthday Charlie, finally figured out how to get on to your new blog.
    Having traveled in over 75 countries I would rate Costa Rica a 2 plus nation from my limited experience there. Think you made a wise choice.
    Now that you have caught me at 78 (79 only 2 mo. away for me) take care of your self and slow down.
    Your Will Rogers classmate
    Dan McKenzie

    1. Dan,

      Great of you to write! I’m rather out of touch with high school friends now but really enjoy life here in Costa Rica! You have me beat again with your 75 countries, but it is my fav of about 18 visited and I did visit and consider Panama, but CR won out! The first few months of this blog back in 2014 were all about my “Costa Rica Decision Process,” the first name of the blog. Stop by if ever in Atenas!

  2. (One day after another of your MANY birthdays). Said the nurse to the patient who fell on the way to the examination room and apologized, “Elderly people appear to fall occasionally.” (Heh, heh!)

  3. Sorry to hear of your fall. That is not good at our age. I had a similar fall last summer but it was the first time in several years I have had a fall.
    I have been thinking of you quite often partly because our birthdays are so close together.

  4. Yeah Chuck, I sometimes have trouble slowing down and accepting my age and my limitations. But the pain is still with me from yesterday’s fall and even a little from my fall off the bed of all things – two months ago! So I’m trying to let the pain be my reminder to slow down and live easy – slow – simple – and not try to do too much! Costa Rica has more of the atmosphere for that than the states, but as I think you know, I tend to be hyper, driven to do, create, accomplish something all the time, though Costa Rica may eventually “cure” me of that! 🙂 ¡Pura vida amigo!

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