Tranquilo in Costa Rica
Where should I start? How about with the people. The locals are really friendly and helpful if you smile and ask them how they are before asking for a favor or directions. Ask in Spanish, even if it’s bad Spanish, like mine. They’re glad to help you and correct your bad Spanish as well.
However, if you’re impatient with the tranquilo (read slow) way they help you may find yourself standing alone wondering where they went. The pace is slower and that’s OK. Just don’t expect people to be on time. If you want it done now and you get angry when it’s not you might never get it done. They don’t get angry in return, they just ignore you.
My new friend Eddy Chicoye, a Haitian American who served as a medic in Vietnam shared a story about cable TV coming to his neighborhood. In October of 2010 he was told by the San Ramon, Costa Rica local cable TV installer that cable would be in his neighborhood by the end of
February. February came and went with no cable so in May Eddy contacted the installer and said,” You told me cable would be in my neighborhood by the end of February.” to which the man answered, “Yes but I didn’t say what year.”
Eddy says that his four years living in Costa Rico have taken him from a “type A” personality to a “type C-”. That’s the transition we results oriented North Americans have to make to adjust to the tranqilo life here.
Remember that getting things done in Costa Rica isn’t always easy or quick but it’ll be a lot easier on you if you learn to expect things to take longer. In Costa Rica, like most of Central America, mañana doesn’t mean it’ll happen tomorrow, it just means not today.