Sunday, October 3, 2010

I Spy!

I'm finding I live in somewhat of an I Spy book. I feel like along every turn there is something new to experience, and something new to see if I just look in the right spaces. I Spy books when you're little are something to pass the time more or less; something you could check out from the library and not actually have to read anything. It was an adventure, but often it took time to seek out the individual objects.
Here, it's the same way. San Jose, for instance, is not exactly what I would describe as a beautiful city. It is a city and it has lots of nooks and niches where really cool things can be found, but that is the catch, they have to be found. Walking around Central Avenue is not going to give you the best cultural experience. It will give you an experience, sure, but not the best. It's when I step off the main pedestrian avenue I find the small things that make this place great. Walking around the other day, I saw a home with drainage gutters shaped like hearts. I have seen the true hearts of people who are willing to help me when I have no idea where I am going. There are new things it seems around every corner. Often, when I walk around, I feel like I enter into new worlds. I find I can literally feel the changes of the neighborhoods. I just have to be ready for the changes. I have to be ready to spot the differences, and at the same time the similarities.
This weekend, my friend Sarah and I took our long awaited graffiti tour. Since we arrived in Costa Rica, we have been wanting to take a tour of the artist expressions painted along sides of buildings and walls. Here, graffiti is not like at home. When we see graffiti at home often it is an indication you are in a bad neighborhood, and you should probably leave quickly. The first change here is that it is legal. People submit their designs to the owner of whatever structure, where then they get approved and then painted. Of course, there are the abandoned buildings with graffiti plastered all along the edges, but overall, it is an accepted form of art, not a warning to guard your belongings.
Sarah and I embarked on our trip with bus money and not a clue as to where we were going. We headed off the bus when I looked out the window, pointed to graffiti and our anticipation took the best of us when we ran to the front of the bus, without pulling the string for a stop, and little recognition to anything other than a wall of graffiti off in the distance. We hoped off the bus, and then, we spent the next 9 hours walking around, looking for any kind of graffiti we could spot. We walked all through who knows where and we found graffiti that would literally boggle the brain and the eyes.
All these things are what you make of it. We found places I had no idea existed, and probably could not find them again. It was a great adventure, and who knows what all you can see when you're looking for it.

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