Friday, March 25, 2011

Does This Count as Culture?

Let me tell you something about Costa Rica. 
It is really loud. As I type, two yes t-w-o different car alarms are going off on my street. 
Wanna know why? 
Because a motorcycle drove past them.
Yes, these car alarms were set off because of a loud noise. Now, two alarms is strange, but there is one car in particular that has its alarm go off nearly every single day. Usually pretty early in the morning, and I hear it while I am getting ready for school. It is ridiculous, and it’s not like the owners try to stop it from going off. They just let it do its thing until the alarm cycle comes to an end. That is probably the most annoying part.

Dogs also are another thing. I don’t understand the role of dogs in this country (and from what I hear in every Latin American country). First of all, in regards to this noise issue, most of the dogs that are pets are the smaller dogs. You know the ones I am talking about, those small YAPPY dogs. Walking down the sidewalk is fun. It’s like a game to see which house has the small barking dog that is going to bark its head off at you. 
Now the next thing about dogs is their part in the family. My little sister told me that people here love dogs much more than cats. I asked her if that was the case, why are there so many dogs on the street. She seriously looked at me like I was talking about aliens. She said that when people don’t want their dogs anymore they leave them on the streets. I said that was very strange and told her that in the states we have places where people take their pets when they don’t want them anymore and that there are never dogs living on the streets. The idea was so strange to her, not having dogs living on the streets, I could see it in her face. It is so hard sometimes to see all of the dogs wandering around the streets. There is one black and white spotted dog that lives at the university and it is always laying out in the sun. And sometimes there are the cutest puppies too. None of the dogs are fixed either which only is going to make the problem worse.

So if you are someone that likes the quiet, Costa Rica probably isn’t the place you want to be. Between the cars, dogs and people, the only quiet you get is in the middle of the night.


  1. Haha!! This is so funny. It reminds me of last semester when I lived with my Mexican host family. It was just like this! There was NEVER any quiet in that house. My roommate and I woke up one morning to my host dad using a weedwacker to cut bushes RIGHT outside of our window at 6:30am (when is that ever okay?!). And every day they had all these different Mexican breads on the table for us to eat. And they had 3 dogs, and claimed to hate cats. Aw, I miss them and I know you're gonna miss your family too! So glad you're able to have this experience, Riley!

  2. I am not sure that the car alarm thing counts as a cultural difference, but I will bet the dog thing is. Costa Rican's seem to have the same affection, or lack thereof for dogs as we here in Hawaii have for cats. Just remember the walking path at Old 'A'.