Costa rican dating culture

13-Apr-2015 22:10

Tico time — it’s part of what makes Costa Rica such a laid-back, pura vida place to be, and such a great escape from the rigid structure that regulates the everyday lives of so many of us. The word ahora, which means “now” in Spanish, means “later” or “at some unspecified time in the future” in Costa Rica.It can rain any time of year in the Caribbean region, and the driest, sunniest months are usually September and October — which is the middle of the rainy season in the rest of the country.All this to say: Whatever conditions you prefer, and whatever activities you’re into, there’s never a bad time to travel to Costa Rica. And it isn’t that uncommon to have a beach all to yourself. With the exception of Semana Santa — Easter Holy Week, when Ticos flock to their country’s beaches en masse for vacation — you can nearly always stake out a healthy space for yourself, even at the country’s most popular spots.During the dry season most of the country gets little to no rain, and in the rainy season downpours are generally limited to the afternoons, with the mornings sunny and beautiful.It’s important to note, however, that Costa Rica’s Caribbean side follows different weather patterns from the rest of the country.A typical home address might be: “From the Perimercados supermarket, 200 meters east, 100 meters north, 50 meters east, white house with black fence.” (A crucial piece of knowledge in navigating Tico directions is that 100 meters equals one block, regardless of how long the block is.) Seems crazy, right? That’s not to say the system doesn’t have its drawbacks; it runs into trouble when a well-used landmark — say, a big higuerón tree — gets taken down. While hiking through Costa Rica’s national parks, especially Manuel Antonio on the Pacific side and Cahuita on the Caribbean side, watch out for thieves — cute, little, hairy thieves with prehensile tails. Start the day with gallo pinto, a typical breakfast dish made with day-old rice, beans, onion, bell pepper, and cilantro, served with eggs, salchichón (sausage), Tico cheese or sour cream — and, of course, Salsa Lizano, that sweet and slightly spicy Costa Rican condiment. Well, the ‘sock’ is not actually a sock at all, but rather an ingenious cloth coffee filter.

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You’ll hear Costa Ricans — or Ticos, as they call themselves — use this expression all the time. Many buildings and homes don’t have addresses in Costa Rica, and generally only major or historic thoroughfares are named. Costa Rica is spectacular proof that big things come in small packages.

Literally translating to “pure life,” pura vida can mean “great,” “hello,” “nice to meet you,” “thank you,” or “you’re welcome.” But “pure life” is also a philosophy: It’s about taking pleasure in the simple things, eschewing stress and living in peace (Costa Rica has no army) and in harmony with nature (nearly 27% of Costa Rica’s 19,700 square miles of land is protected in parks and reserves). Instead, Ticos use landmarks, and distances from them, as directions. You can drive from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic/Caribbean coast in as little as six hours, yet the country’s diversity is astonishing — from towering volcanoes like the iconic Arenal; to the tropical dry forests of Guanacaste province; to the misty cloud forests of Monteverde; to 12,500ft Cerro Chirripó, the country’s highest peak; to the lowland tropical rainforest of Corcovado; to the beaches, coral reefs, and mangrove forests of the coasts. A newcomer to Costa Rica might visit a local kitchen and wonder what purpose a sock suspended from a little stand could serve.

And for an evening happy hour snack, try a chifrijo — rice and beans topped with chicharrones (fried pork pieces, oh so good), pico de gallo (chopped tomato, cilantro, and onion with lime juice), and sometimes avocado, served with tortilla chips. Simply fill the filter (also called a bolsita) with coffee, place a cup or coffeepot underneath, pour hot water over the grounds, let it drip, and enjoy your cafecito.

Costa Rica has just two seasons: Verano, or summer, is the dry season from December to April, while invierno, or winter, is the rainy or “green” season from May to November.

Costa Ricans call it “la hora tica,” and it’s more relaxed than regular time.“Dinner at 8,” for example, might be interpreted as “dinner at ” or even 9.

I make a decent living as a journalist, but his position in technology sales provides him with a lifestyle I simply can’t afford to split 50/50.… continue reading »

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