Sunday, August 27

Costa Rica Ain't for Sissys - Part I

Costa Rican Etiquette

You can do hard time here if you are not adaptable.
No, they don't do things like we do back home.
For good reason, too, I've found. Most things don't work the same way here.
If you can be flexible, be patient, and smile - it all goes a long way.

Learn "Como esta?" or "Que tal?". Ticos ALWAYS greet each other respectfully before anything. It's the custom. Also, they kiss or shake hands as part of the greeting. "Buenas" is used too, as a quick greeting. Use "gracias" often. "Pura Vida" is used like "Aloha" in Hawaii, both coming and going. It's WAY over used, if you ask me.

Be generous, TIP. Some people are very poor here and see ALL us gringos as rich. Share the wealth - don't haggle over the price (unless of course it's a rip-off and in that case, just walk away). In the restaurants, the tip is usually included on the bill but this tip (10%) is split between ALL the staff. Tip your waiter/waitress separately. Also, tip the guy that pumps your gas. He will break his neck to make sure you get good service. And yes, they still pump your gas for you here. :)

Bring the guard a cold drink when you are leaving the grocery. He's out in the hot sun and will appreciate it. Just tip everyone (500 colones coin) and be safe.

Give respect. Let them go first when all they have is a beer to buy and you have a cart of groceries. Respect goes a long way.

After all, we are just visitors here. It doesn't matter how long you've lived here. If you look Gringo, you will always be an outsider.

Note: I'm from South Florida where people from the North, come down, get a FL driver's license, a FL car tag and all of a sudden, they're Floridians!
I DO know how the Ticos feel when they are priced out of their own land.
WE are the Strangers in a Strange Land.


Anonymous said...

Hi, I just happened to stumble upon your blog and being Costa Rican I felt a bit offended at the "they're poor" comment. I'm not poor. I'm not wealthy either but the generalization of saying Costa Ricans are poor and see all gringos as rich is quite over the top. I've lived in the U.S. (and not for a few months, I lived there for 15 years) and was not wealthy either. I'm not sure in which area of Costa Rica you're living that you see all these "poor" people. For someone you has lived in the country for almost 5 or 6 years, you don't seem to have adjusted your "class status" goggles yet. In the U.S. you may be considered poor unless you're driving the latest model car and walking around with the latest designer clothing (and with a huge debt in your credit card) - in Costa Rica people buy what they NEED. This, however, does not make them poor.

TICA MACHA said...

Maybe "some people" would have been more appropriate. I have watched many Ticos capitalized on the growth here and become very wealthy. I am happy for them.
The poverty here is surely more "present" than in the States. And yes, it is in accordance with U.S. standards for what is considered poor. What impressed me the most were the people who had barely anything but the necessities and were happy. That is what I wanted. The simple life.
Funny, but recently I had an old friend from the U.S. come visit me and she thought I was poor. I consider myself RICH!!
(not in $$'s, rich in life)
I have all the beauty you can imagine all around me and I have everything I need. Yes, a dishwasher, garbage disposal, etc. would be nice but I choose not to have it. I drive an old car but it's good to me. Point is, you've got me all wrong and I'm so sorry I offended you. I will be more careful with my words. I didn't realize they had so much power but I am happy you wrote so I can have a chance to explain. Teri