San Jose

After another schedule check we decided to catch an overnight bus to San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital. For no other reason than it gets us closer to Nicaragua. 
As far as capital cities go San Jose has to be one of the worst. It doesn’t have the colonial old world charm and it has been over run by concrete buildings and just looks a bit blah. On top of that there isn’t the Latin American charm that other cities have as it is very Americanized. There is a McDonald’s on every corner and it doesn’t have the skyscrapers of Panama City to bring it into the modern world. It is literally an ugly concrete sprawl.
In saying that we spent the afternoon walking down the central pedestrian mall which was full of hustle and bustle and people selling everything from a bag of broccoli, remote controls and football shirts. So many sights and sounds!
We then had to walk to the bus station just around the corner to buy our tickets to Monteverde as there is no central bus station here, just a bunch of little ones that go to certain locations. We had read that the area around the bus stations were not that great and they were not wrong. It was in the middle of the day and we didn’t have any backpacks but we still felt a little uncomfortable. It was dodgy. We made it to the bus station in one piece and purchased our tickets and walked back a different way that seemed to be a little better. Though we decided straight up we would catch a taxi to the terminal with our bags tomorrow.
The next day we went for a walk in the central mercado which was awesome. It not only had restaurants but little stalls selling clothes etc. We then headed to the main attraction which was the jade museum. The modern building stuck out like a sore thumb among the others and the exhibition was really well done and the jade pieces were beautiful. I always thought jade was an Asian thing but apparently I was wrong.
Yesterday on arrival at the bus station when we went outside it felt as if it was raining ash. We just thought there must have been some factory around. But we found out this morning that one of the volcanos near by has started spitting ash! Walking around the city you would occasionally get a blast of ash that would get in your eyes. Not very pleasant.
All in all not a great start to our Costa Rican experience coupled with the fact that it is pretty expensive. We had been told that already so we were prepared. We have also been told by lots of people that the national parks and scenery here is beautiful so very much looking forward to seeing some of that tomorrow in Monteverde. S

The Main Street is pedestrianised and full of hustle and bustle .

The national theatre is a highlight, but unfortunately the square around it was having a major refurb so was closed off for us.

The jade museum.

One of the parks had this butterfly display.  It was a decent attempt to brighten things up.

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