Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Estadio Nacional - Costa Rica's National Stadium

Costa Rica just held the inauguration of their new National Stadium (El Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica).  I've been listening to all the hype surrounding the National Stadium on the radio, TV and in conversations with locals since I arrived here two months ago.  The National Stadium (pictured below) is really a thing of beauty, especially when you see it in first person.  It understandably makes Costa Ricans feel very proud to have this $105 million dollar magnificent piece of architecture built within their country. 

Photo skyscrapercity.com
The Estadio Nacional of Costa Rica will mostly host soccer games (locally referred to as "futbol" matches).  Below are some of the more interesting facts I've learned about the National Stadium:

1.  The Estado Nacional was donated to Costa Rica by the Chinese government.  Costa Rica and China established diplomatic relations in 2007 and have since forged ahead in becoming increasingly intertwined in each other's economies and cultures.  Other Central American nations are said to be "jealous" of this relationship.

2.  Hundreds of Chinese laborers were brought in to build the National Stadium. Construction began in March 2009 and ended in early 2011.  Costa Rican locals now commonly joke about the efficiency and discipline of Chinese workers in comparison to Costa Rican laborers who are notoriously known to take forever with road repairs and building projects.  As the saying goes, if you send eight Costa Ricans to do a job, two might actually work and six will keep watch.

3.  The National Stadium can seat approximately 35,000 people, however, they only built 400 parking spaces for the grounds.  Why in the world you ask?  According to one local news report, the stadium administrators hope most people will come in by bus or taxi, or else that homeowners in the local La Sabana area will offer parking on their properties for a fee.  This is truly third world thinking at its best in my opinion.

4.  After the inaugural event held this past week, Stadium administrators noted that the general Costa Rican habit of littering could not be halted.  It is reported that some 20 tons of trash were left strewn throughout the National Stadium (this is on top of the 50 tons actually deposited in trash receptacles).

5.  The inauguaration festivities at the Estadio Nacional included a fireworks show and exhibitions by both Chinese and Costa Rican perforrmers.  I watched the whole thing on TV and was quite mesmerized by the Chinese "Buddha with a Thousands Hands Dance" performed that evening (you can see this beautiful dance in the Youtube video below).

I'm hoping the the new Estadio Nacional of Costa Rica will bring some great concert performances and sporting events (other than just soccer) to the country.  Although with the parking situation being what it is, I will probably think twice about rushing down there too often.

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