Back in the US of A, Pt 1

I just flew back from California, and BOY ARE MY ARMS TIRED! But seriously folks…

I spent about 10 days back on my native soil. We all know it’s different than Costa Rica, but the things we notice most are different from person to person. I will try my best not to make this too boring. I wish myself luck.

The SJ airport has been modernized a lot since my last trip a couple of years ago, and it’s not all that different than the US airports I had the ‘pleasure’ of seeing on the trip.

I took Frontier Airlines from SJ to Denver, and the flight was fine though I noticed how anxious they were to charge for things that used to be free, or at least reasonable. They did supply free soft drinks, coffee and juices, although not full cans/bottles. They offered sandwiches for $8 and beer for only a little less. They wanted $8 to see a movie on a screen tiny screen on the back of the seat in front. I passed. No blankets of pillows, they claimed it was a ‘sanitation’ issue. I guess the cost of cleaning them was squeezing the bottom line. I believe they wanted $25 extra for a seat with extra leg room. If I were in the NBA I would have sprung for it because (a I would need it and b) I could afford it. In fact, what would I be doing in coach in the first place? The flight TO Denver was quite packed, the flight back quite empty. Not too surprising since the return flight was at midnight. Not unpleasant though, as I was able to dose through most of it.

Once in California, the dryness struck me instantly, along with the total lack of clouds in the sky. Muy un-Tico. I’m not sure what I expected to see, hearing all the horror stories about the economy and how Sacramento and the area around it were hard hit. The ‘bustle’ factor seemed down, but I didn’t see more people with ‘work for food’ signs than in the 90s.

I had a lot of things I was supposed to do and got most of them done. I guess the main sign I saw of the economic ‘slow down’ was around the older shopping centers and strip malls. A lot of places that used to thrive were simply gone. Others had changed. One went from being a big sporting goods stores to a ‘Nothing over $9.99’ type places. Parking lots I used to have to cruise a long time to find parking a space were empty.

People my own age, 50 to 65, were generally doing alright but concerned. One friend had lost most of his nest egg from bad investment decisions by his adviser, plus a long bout with lymphoma. Another was doing well during the construction boom but lost his big house and is living in a little one he built a decade earlier.

Everywhere I went I got the same question when people heard I lived in Costa Rica: ‘What is it LIKE?’ My stock answer was ‘great weather, not too expensive.’ Beyond that, my poor brain had WAY too many roads to go down. How do YOU explain it to YOUR friends who have been ‘left behind?’

After my standard answer, I usually tailor my response to the person I am talking to. If it’s a fisherman, I talk about the fishing. If it’s a prison guard, I talk about crime and (lack of) punishment here. Everybody drives in California, so I can always talk about the unbelievable drivers here. And nobody believes me! Go figure.

Another standard answer I have dreamed up is ‘imagine a halfway point between Hawaii and Tijuana.” That usually gets them thinking. I was also asked ‘what do you DO all day?’ pretty often. I mention my blogs, music, website design, and usually by then their eyes are glazing over and I can stop.

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  1. simply4fun says:

    welcome home honey!

  2. Cy Bolinger says:

    Too much rain, too many high cost of living prices and growing, Lots of phony stuff about Costa Rica on the internet, real BS and growing! Well, welcome back anyway!
    Cy Bolinger

  3. Cy… I try my best to avoid BS, at least the usual kind you find on internet. I am working on my own brand.