Pictures of the Day, July 21 and 22, 2010

Hello! Here are my Pictures of the Day from July 21st and 22nd. Hope you enjoy them!

July 21st: This is Nelson’s car. Nelson and my brother-in-law Ronald came by two mornings in a row to work at our house. They were building a small door to go next to our gate, so people coming over by foot (like our army of nieces) don’t have to walk through the bushes or open the huge car gate. In any case, Berlin is full of these old Land Cruisers. They’re very cool to look and and they’re very rugged and durable, but they are also horrible to drive behind. I especially hate coming up on the tail of one of these while going up a hill, since they’re really SLOW and somehow manage to belch out blue smoke. As long as you can keep your car going, you’re OK, but if you have to slow down so much that it stalls, then you have to go backwards down to the bottom of the hill and then try it all again, hopefully with a bit more momentum this time.

July 22nd: I’d like to do a “close reading” of this Picture of the Day.

This is the relatively new EPA store near Real Cariari, on the western outskirts of San Jose. I really love EPA, but I’d never been to this new one. EPA is basically like a Home Depot that takes its styling cues from an IKEA (although I must admit that the scorpion is a bizarre touch which seems to have been dropped from the Swedes’ plans). If you look at the picture, it’s got a few interesting things going on.

First of all, ferretería is the Spanish word that means something similar to “hardware store” (Alas! IF ONLY they sold ferrets!). Secondly, whoever designed this store really didn’t place the sign well. I’m a relatively tall person, but even for me half of the sign is cut off, making it look like “CDTriangle.” Plus, the area around is even lower, which means that you see even less of the sign. And finally, the front really DOES look like an IKEA, doesn’t it? Or am I just nuts?

EPA is great because it has actual aisles, and you can look at the products. This may sound like a very basic feature in a “store,” although it’s something I took for granted before coming to Costa Rica. In Costa Rica, there’s almost always an attendant, be it at a gas station, a bakery, a clothing store, or, yes, a hardware store. I guess it’s more personalized attention, but it’s also a bit annoying if you’re used to walking around a store and just looking at crap on your own schedule. It’s just weird when you’re looking at polo shirts and the lady wants to display every one to you.

And you might not realize it, but having to talk to someone when you go into a store can lead you to pick up a TON of vocabulary. In some cases I now the Spanish word for something, but I don’t know the English equivalent (like cuneta, cumbrera, ficha, and soldadura… and those may not even be correct spellings, since I’ve only heard them spoken and not written out). At the same time, I have picked up a lot of specialty vocabulary that I suppose could be useful if I ever have a build another house in Costa Rica, but God help me if that ever comes to pass again. Somehow, I know know the Costa Rican Spanish words for things like “hinge,” “grout” (both gritty and smooth), “masonry drill bit,” and what seems to be like 4 or 5 different words for “handle.” I probably wouldn’t have learned those words if I had known about EPA before… still, I think I prefer just wandering the aisles until I stumble upon what I’m looking for. Plus, how about you try to explain “a sheet of vinyl lattice” in Spanish… it’s much easier to just walk around, eventually find it, and point and say, “this thing here.”

Anyhow, the reason I went to EPA today is because I was actually looking for a piece of vinyl or plastic lattice to use on the crappy casita, but I couldn’t find it anywhere, and at every store in Palmares where I walked in and had to explain what I was trying to find, the attendants looked at me like I was an insane man speaking Martian. But EPA indeed had exactly what I was looking for, and I found it right away! Now I just need to find a way to transport a 1.22 m x 2.44 m piece of lattice, but I have a feeling our Sentra won’t be up to the challenge. The saga continues…

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading, and have a good day!

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