Today was a national holiday here in Costa Rica. We celebrated the annexation of the Guanacaste province from Nicaragua that took place back in 1824. Though Costa Rica in general is rich in culture and tradition, it seems that every time I see or hear of anything from the “Ticos” colorful past, it always comes from Guanacaste.
Since we are in the middle of the rainny season and we were blessed with a rare, sunny day, we decided to head to the one and only amusement park here, Parque de Diversiones. It’s actually run by the National Children’s Hospital, so all the money made there goes to support the hospital. They don’t charge an entrance fee (hello Disneyland) and the rides are less than a dollar, so it’s really quite fun to go hang out and see the shows and enjoy the day.
We hadn’t planned it, but by chance because of the holiday there were all kinds of traditional Guanacaste dancers, shows and some contests going on in the part of the park called Pueblo Antigua (old town).
One of the things that is unique to Guanacaste is this crazy holler they do. It’s more like the scream of a crazy person. When I first heard it I wondered what the heck was going on. But then I guess as strange as I thought it was, people from around here probably think it’s just as strange that cowboys from the US have a “yippee-cayey.”
The picture here of the little girl was taken during the contest of the kids who were all trying to compete for the best Guanacaste screamer. She was too adorable. At first she wouldn’t do it, but eventually captured the hearts of all around and took first place.
When it came time for the adults, I ran and hid. Nothing like a good laugh at the gringo trying to scream like someone from Guanacaste!
Afterwards we strolled over to the pond where people rent paddle boats. We saw some people feeding the fish and had to take a look. Isaac was pretty mesmerized. He had never seen Koi before. And these fish were hungry! As soon as someone would put food into the water, the fish would climb on top of one another to get to it. It was certainly a sight to see.
All-in-all it was a great day at the park. But still, it’s going to take me a while to get used to the change in holidays. After 35 years of brainwashing, it’s hard to re-learn the new dates.
However, I do have to say that one of my favorite things since I’ve moved here has been to take part in some of the cultural events. I find it amazing to see how different – and beautiful – the traditions of another country are. If you have a chance to get away, it’s a great experience!