Living in Costa Rica – For all of you that have either been snow skiing or watched it during the Winter Olympics you will be able to relate to this. The definition according to wikipedia is an alpine skiing discipline, involving skiing between poles (gates) spaced much closer together than in Giant Slalom, Super-G or Downhill, thereby causing quicker and shorter turns.
When walking in Costa Rica in populated areas you will learn very quickly that you need to stay on your toes and must focus on walking and cannot be distracted by anything like talking to the person that is with you. Keep your eyes forward and be ready to start your slalom course in Costa Rica.
Normally when a person wants to stop in the flow of people they look around and make sure that no one is behind them or they move to the side to not clog up the flow of foot traffic. Do not expect this to happen at all in Costa Rica. In fact plan on them stopping in the most inopportune places and locations.
In Slalom skiing the poles that you must ski around are called gates, these are the 4 main types of gates in Costa Rica Slalom Skiing:
1. The Costa Rica Soccer Team – This is when groups of 4 people or more walk side by side instead of in a single file line. The options are to step in the street or put your back against the building adjacent to the sidewalk to let them pass or to run through the middle of them like you are playing Red Rover, in which case you will be given a look like you are being rude.
2. The Head in the Clouds Person – This is when the person is walking down the sidewalk at the pace of an old man with a walker for no reason. Just because you have a lack of a clear destination that day or in life does not mean you can delay those around you. The options are to wait until there is an opening to pass this slow moving person or to remain behind them and then you have an excuse on why you are late to where ever you are going. I enjoy passing them and then if I can muster up a nice fart for them to walk slowly through.
3. The “Let’s Catch Up” Person – This is when people that most likely see each other everyday or a few times a week, see each other in public and need to talk about what happened in the 10 hours since they saw each other last. This is not a problem except for where they do this catching up. It will always be in most inconvenient places for people around them, the middle of the sidewalk or in the middle of a doorway. There will do no hazard lights put on when they stop, and in most cases you will run into them and again they will think you are rude for not being able to pull a NASCAR evasive maneuver to avoid the crash. The options in this case is to slalom around them or walk through the middle of them. Again the latter of these choices will get you the “you are the one being rude” look.
4. The Golf Course Umbrella Person – This is one you will get to enjoy almost every afternoon during rainy season in Costa Rica. You will see this one coming from a distance but it is like a train wreck you see it happening in slow motion but there is no way to avoid it. If you are not carrying an umbrella they will either poke you in the eye with theirs or the waterfall of water cascading off theirs will drench you. The options on this is to use your umbrella as some sort of Medieval Knight’s shield, angle it to the side and block their umbrella and umbrella’s cascading water from soaking you or injuring you or you can use The Costa Rica Soccer Team option which is to move into oncoming street traffic to avoid them.
I am sure there are more that you will get to experience in your time living or vacationing in Costa Rica, but these are the ones that we know of and have personally experienced. So keep your eyes forward and always be ready to experience Costa Rica Slalom skiing. You do not get anything for winning, you only get a ribbon of frustration for participating.
PS – You with all this going on you also want to watch where you step. Sometimes there are manholes that have had the covers stolen off of them or other types of random holes. You might be texting on your phone one minute and then 4 feet underground the next.