Independent Photography

Posts tagged “san jose

Back In Canada

I am back from Costa Rica.  I left Canada on the 16th of January for Costa Rica and I returned on the 25th of July.  I flew through Houston into Toronto and cleared security sometime just before midnight.

Back in the Royal City, as it’s called. It’s not a huge sprawling metropolis, but compared with Nosara, it might as well be.

One of the biggest changes coming back, is that I am no longer living in Ottawa.  Frankly I have no reason too.  I went there for university and I finished that shortly before leaving.   I will be going back to school in January at Loyalist College for Photojournalism, but until then I will be in Guelph.  Hopefully I will be able to find some work in photography while I’m here otherwise… waiting tables?

Needless to say emails are going out today and tomorrow, to let people know, I’m here and I can do photography.

However, this post is going to recap my final days in Costa Rica.

I was at the Caribbean!

Does a picture of a Caribbean beach get more stereotypical?

I mentioned the hostel I was staying in my last post, as a somewhat unique place, and not for good reasons necessarily.  One of the drawbacks was that the beach in front of the hostel was rocky and kind of sucked.  However, I had been told that about a 20 minute walk away was a nice sand beach, and there was so I spent a few hours there.

A sand crab; these guys were all over but really skiddish, as soon as you stood up they would hide back in their holes.

There was also a small island off the coast that reminded me Jurassic Park…

I’m pretty certain that’s Ilsa Sorna. I also had the opportunity to talk to some Tico’s who had seen Jurassic Park, they didn’t like that San Jose was portrayed as a small beachside town, when it’s a) huge, b) several hours from the nearest beach and c) surrounded by mountains…

More interesting than another white sand beach (I know I was spoiled) were the jungle paths.  The jungle basically pushed right up to the beach and there were some cool paths to some deserted places I went along.

One of those paths led up to a cliff with a sheer drop 50m into the ocean.  It was a dramatic place to sit and read for a while, although one that required caution while climbing around.

Nice spot to sit and read for a little while.

On the 24th I packed up my stuff and set out into the rain. It had been pouring that morning but had slowed to a light drizzle around 10am when I left.  I boarded a bus to San Jose and 5 hours later I was back in the big city.

I made my way 20 blocks across town with my backpack and found myself back at Galileo Hostel, the place where this had all began, so to speak.  I stayed there for two nights when I first arrived and had nothing but nice memories of the place.  Sure enough the experience was about the same this time around.

Self-portrait in the same place where I wrote my first blog entry in Costa Rica some six-months ago.

I spent the evening at the hostel bar, chatting with other people staying there.  It was a little strange.  As the night wore on, I was tired and wanted to sleep, but at the same time sleeping meant I would wake up, and waking up meant it would be over.  I didn’t want it to be over.

The next morning while waiting to depart for the airport I took some pictures of a map they had spread out on a table at the hostel.

Just a few small points on a map…

I decided to do an overhead shot and then I put the map photo into Photoshop and used the paint tool to circle all the places I was, and the roads I traveled to get there.

Magenta is where I went, circles are places I stayed.

Considering I was just there to be in Nosara I think I got some pretty decent travelling around in as well.

Three hours later I was in the air to Houston, Texas.

My final glimpse of San Jose and one of the last moments on Costa Rica soil just before take off.

Here is a short video I took out the airplane window of our take off, and my final glimpses of Costa Rica.  I think the best part is the commentary from the four-year old sitting next to me.

I’m gonna miss Costa Rica.  In my list of places to visit in my life, frankly Costa Rica wasn’t on it.  I only went because the Voice of Nosara offered me an amazing opportunity.  As I look back over previous travels though there seems to be a pattern of ending up in places I never intended to visit, which I then grow to love.

I hope I’ll be able to return someday soon.  Financially speaking I should be able to, it’s almost cheaper to fly to San Jose from Toronto than it is to fly to Vancouver.  And now West Jet is flying regularly to Liberia, Guanacaste.

Until then it’s time to hit the ground running.  Photojournalism is an intensely competitive industry and I’m going into Loyalist with experience and a competitive advantage, the next two years are going to be fun.

Paz Siempre,

Adam Dietrich

P.S. To the regular blog followers who I haven’t met, glad you’ve enjoyed reading, hopefully I will be able to keep this interesting as time goes forward.

P.P.S To those at Voice of Nosara and the people of Nosara in general, thank you very much for everything over the six-months.  Thank you very much.


San Jose

A man feeding pigeons in Plaza de la Democracia in central San Jose Costa Rica

When I travel to a new city I usually like to have a day or two to do nothing except walk, so this morning I walked for 6 hours.  I wandered downtown bought some sunglasses and tried to find out where to meet my bus to Nosara tomorrow morning.  It turns out Google lied!  (I know, it’s outrageous and shocking)  Google said that all buses to other parts of Costa Rica left from the central bus station in San Jose, called the Coca Cola bus station, which is named for the former bottling plant that the bus station is located in.  It turns out their buses don’t go to Nosara… neither did the next station, or the next.  It gave me a chance to bust out some serious Spanish as I had to start asking street vendors how to get to the right one.  It took about 45 minutes, but I now have my ticket for the bus, which departs at 5:30 tomorrow morning; gross.

I watched these two guys cat call over the bench at that girl for almost ten minutes, it was clear she wasn't going to respond but she had a smile on her face... It seems thats how flirting starts in this country, with catcalls, I've noticed that people in cars will wolf whistle out the window as they pass cute girls...

 

After that I wandered more, bought some bread and cheese from the grocery store and some apples from a fruit vendor… the apples were from the states though, I wanted some local fruit…

The view looking down Ruta 1 (main highway) north, I flew into Costa Rica at night so I missed the topography, however, every time I turn a new direction I see these cloud draped mountains.

 

With my hunger assuaged, eyes protected, bus ticket in hand and slightly exhausted and sweaty I headed back towards my hostel, to a huge park near by.  I wandered around and siesta-ed in the shade of a tree.  The weather is literally perfect.  The air temperature is around 25 Celsius and there is a constant shifting breeze, a welcome change from the minus 30 wind tunnel called Ottawa….

 

As I was sitting under the tree napping I woke up and saw, what I assume to be a dad playing soccer with his two kids. It made for a nice happy photo, although how they played in the direct sunlight like that gahhh.

As a photographer I’m a huge fan of juxtaposition, to the left of the field these guys were playing on was a massive soccer stadium.  I wasn’t able to frame it in the background and still get the faces while they played so… I took a second photo.

 

Here it is! The Estadio Nacional (national stadium) those little dots in front of it are another group of people playing pick-up soccer.

 

After an hour or so of relaxation and soccer creeping I continued my about-town trek and stumbled on this random piece of Canadiana.   While American fast-food chains dominate the main roads of downtown San Jose, the Bank of Nova Scotia somehow managed to get the tallest tower and thus dominates the skyline.  Some International Relations/Development theorists would argue that all of this foreign direct investment is a good thing for the country’s development and economy… some.

 

I have an uncle who has some executive job in Scotiabank's international development wing, he'd worked in Venezuela and Peru, I'm gonna have to figure out if he's involved in the many, many Scotiabank's I've seen wandering around...

As I sat down to edit some pictures a new arrival to the hostel came out back for a cigarette.  Curious about what I was up to he asked and we struck up a conversation.  We sat and talked about nothing really and yet covered every topic from climate differences between Wales and Canada and Costa Rica, plane crashes, previous romances and our limited understanding of Costa Rica.  This is one of my favorite parts of backpacking, the interesting people you meet and the stories and experiences they choose to share.  Since I was having a conversation I had closed the lid of my laptop, and while we were talking a bird shit on it, they say its good luck if a bird shits on you… I think it was good luck the bird shit after I’d closed the lid.

 

That's my hostel, and the street below. They have a really nice little patio where I camped out this afternoon to write and edit.

Today has been a wonderfully relaxing day.  I’ve been in touch with Voice of Nosara and they’re ready for my arrival, apparently they’ve adopted a cat, which is awesome.  I love cats.  Early morning tomorrow and six hours on a bus, but my next post will be from the Voice of Nosara office.

Another post, another self-portrait of myself in my 'editing suite,' hehehe.

Peace,

Adam Dietrich


Departure

Well I’ve made it… or almost.

I’m in San Jose, I need to be in Nosara…

I should start with mentioning that I didn’t sleep the night before my departure, my nerves made sure of that.  Thus at 5am Ottawa time (4am Costa Rica time), on zero hours of sleep, I trekked out to catch a bus to the airport.  Ottawa was freezing, something like -30, I wore the only pair of pants I’m bringing, in addition to my packed sweater and windbreaker – I was just warm enough to wait for the bus.

Bank and Slater transitway, 5:20am gross....

Departing Ottawa was like clock work.  However, because of the sub-arctic temperatures they had to coat the plane in a layer of anti-freeze.  It was a little concerning at first because we weren’t told that this would happen.  Suddenly moments before the engines lit to carry us into the sky the plane stopped and a weird looking truck drove up to the plane.  A part of the truck lifted on a small crane attached to the back and then began spraying the plane in an orange mist from some attached hoses.  I deduced it must be anti freeze.

Strange looking machine attached to the back of a pick-up truck coating the plane in anti-freeze.

In Toronto I had to re-check my bags, because I was transferring through Miami and the US makes you clear customs (even if you’re just transferring through an airport) before you take off.  I arrived in Miami and had 45 minutes to race from one end of the huge airport to the other.  Than my flight was delayed, so I bought Wendy’s and watched Boston Legal to pass some of the time.

The view from 25 000 feet, descending over Toronto, the light poking through the clouds made some cool patterns on the fog below, like spotlights.

One more uneventful flight (third flight that day) and I landed in San Jose, Costa Rica.  I was bound and determined to get downtown via local bus as opposed to taxi, which meant saving around $19.60 USD.  It also meant dusting cobwebs off my Spanish, despite running on zero energy.  The bus rise was a little tense… I didn’t know where the stop was, what it looked like, when to call the stop, how to call the stop or if I was even on the right bus.  Turns out I was, the bus dropped me off about a block from my hostel where I am now.

The hostel is cool, painted in random colours and run by some fat American ex-pat who wanders around between the front desk and his Wii console…  That said this place has charm I was told there were three rules that applied to me when I arrived: 1. No drugs, no outside booze, they have their own 24h bar.  2. Return sheets and towels when I check out.  3. Be cool.  I’m in an 8 person room, the hostel is almost empty right now and my room is something like $10 a night.

My bunk for the next two days, home sweet home.

I haven’t slept in two days.  The last three have been a crazy emotional rollercoaster, however, sitting here typing this out over a beer in the front foyer of the hostel has me facing a really cool new reality… I’m actually going to be in Costa Rica for the next six months. Crazy.  Anyway, I need to sleep, tomorrow is touring around and I need to purchase a bus ticket to Nosara for the day after.

Me... writing this blog post you're reading... super meta.

Peace,

Adam Dietrich

P.S. I’m currently talking with a lady who works at the hostel… she’s from Guelph, what a small world.