Picture of the Day and A Short Story

At first glance, today’s Picture of the Day is quite boring and unimpressive:

In fact, even at second glance, it’s quite boring and unimpressive. In fact, I’m not sure you’d be able to glance at it enough times to make it interesting. That’s because it’s a picture of the inside of the RTV station in Alajuela. Angela and I went there this morning to go through one of Costa Rica’s most venerable traditions: car inspection! God knows that it could take many hours and paragraphs to describe the full extent of this bureaucratic process, but I won’t since I’ve already done that with other Costa Rican Stars of Bureaucracy (including the Ministerio de Migracion and the whole process of getting a certification for an authentication of a certification of my birth certificate… and yes, I typed that correctly). Let’s just say it’s a pain in the ass, but as these things go, it’s not too bad, as long as your car passes.

The inspection process is run by a company called Riteve, which is an abbreviation for “Revisión Técnica de Vehículos.” It’s a private company, but somehow –let’s just say “corruption”– they managed to do a deal with the government and finagle a monopoly on these car inspections. In theory, they’re a great idea, since there are so many terrible cars on the road. But in practice, it doesn’t really work since those terrible cars are still on the road, and all of them seem to be right in front of me on the road up to Berlín, belching their black and blue diesel smoke. In other words, the process could still use some tweaking. By the way, look at the sign again: why would they abbreviate the “Revision” part as “Ri” instead of “Re”… wouldn’t you imagine they’d call themselves “Reteve?” No one can answer this question for me, and therefore I’ll file it alongside “Why do we say ‘combo’ and not ‘combi’?” in my stack of Unanswered Questions.

Anyhow, the Riteve stations are huge and actually relatively efficient and organized –relatively, remember– but most of the stations are near San José. So we made a little day trip out of our visit. Since our car passed on the first try, a somewhat rare occurrence for a car from Berlín, I’m told, we decided to celebrate by going to Denny’s!

(The Denny’s is on the right, the Fiesta Casino on the left). Denny’s was a nice little slice of the US, and it got us in the mood to visit Colorado next week. Although the prices are about twice what they’d be in the US, everything else is straight outta Main Street inside, from the automatic faucets in the johns to the Rick Astley on the speakers.

We sat in a booth and had a nice lunch together while watching the airplanes take off from Juan Santamaria International Airport (in fact, I’m pretty sure if the airport has an address, it’s “In front of the Denny’s on the old road to Heredia,” in traditional Costa Rican address style).

In any case, uh…
VICTORY!
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Sitzman

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