Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Language Barriers

When I got married in Costa Rica, one of the witnesses to the wedding was the singer who performed each night at the resort. She was very nice, and spoke excellent English, but apparently there was a bit of a language barrier.

That night at her performance, seeing us in the audience, she announced to the audience that we had been married that morning, and dedicated a song to us... and had the band play Careless Whisper by Wham!. (Although she had a great voice, I must say that nonetheless I was happy that she didn't sing along on that particular number.)

That's probably not a mistake that will be repeated after George Michael's wedding.


  1. hey where did you get married in costa rica?

    I'm getting married on January 4th at the Fiesta Premier Resort and Spa


  2. What did you think of the place? Wifie and I got married during law school and so (two years later) haven't taken our honeymoon yet. We want to soon.

  3. We enjoyed our visit. It's a beautiful country. The people were very friendly. It was exceedingly easy to communicate - it is hard to find a business or service where somebody on staff doesn't speak English. (We worked at it, finding a nice little restaurant in San José that catered primarily to locals... with the help of our English-speaking taxi driver.)

    I would caution you that the tourist economy is tightly managed, to the point where the prices you pay are not that far off from a vacation within the U.S. - that's not a reason you shouldn't visit, but you're probably not going to find the type of bargain you may be able to get elsewhere in the region. (By the same token, you can be pretty sure that you will get what you bargain for in terms of lodging and services. We had only one night in a hotel I found substandard - but it was very clean, and I have the impression that its problems developed after the travel agency we booked through inspected it, as the other accommodations they found were very nice.)

    Also, many of the attractions tend to be quite crowded during regular hours - my impression was that if I really wanted to see wildlife within the cloud forest, I would be best served by trying to find an academic trip that permits access to the park outside of regular hours. The guides are extremely knowledgeable, should you hire one, but during the day they have to work hard to keep from bumping your group into the group ahead of you.

    Similarly, we went to a dinner buffet/hot springs combination near Arenal volcano, which was indifferent in terms of food quality and very overcrowded in the hot springs. Some people are surprised by the 12 hour day / 12 hour night effect of being that close to the equator. Almost everything works on "Tico time", which means if you're a type-A American you're going to go nuts - often, things get done when they get done.

    I recommend air travel, particularly if you have any problems with motion sickness on hills, curves, or bumpy roads - which is pretty much all you'll encounter when driving any appreciable distance. It's not that much more expensive than ground transit, and it's a lot more comfortable. (Granted, your plane may not be much bigger than the vehicle you would be riding in.) I will admit that we did see some nice views of the country during car trips (in between our views of the narrow, twisting roads), but the views from the air are nothing to sneeze at.

    We met a couple that had traveled throughout Costa Rica (and at one point accidentally into Nicaragua) by car - but they were in their sixth week of vacation. Some air travel was necessitated by our schedule and travel plan (and in retrospect I would have substituted a bit more for the hours we spent in an overcrowded van).

    I'm not one to go to resorts, let alone all-inclusive resorts, but the aforementioned resort was a good location for the wedding ceremony. It was fine, except we were only there for two nights, I was already feeling a bit stir-crazy, and the included food was already becoming monotonous.

    We spent the first part of the trip sea kayaking in a private nature reserve (with this outfit)- we saw more wildlife there than in the cloud forest, and if you like the water that is a very good experience - highly recommended. The guides were great. If you go to Monteverde, the zip lines are a lot of fun.

  4. Thanks for the very helpful answer.

  5. Arenal Volcano is the most active volcano in Costa Rica and one of the most active in the world with its daily eruptions. This makes the area of Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna a fascinating tourist destination for foreigners as well as residents of Costa Rica.
    Good Luck
    I recommend to take a look
    Arenal Volcano Hotel

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