Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Stroll Through Miramar Costa Rica

This evening I decided to venture out on foot from our small one bedroom apartment in Miramar into the town's center.  I wanted to get a little exercise and feel the vibe of my new community.  Plus, I needed to pick up a couple medications at the pharmacy and get some eggs at the Chinese market.

The nice thing about walking around alone in Miramar is that is there's not a whole bunch of cat-calling going on if you're a lady walking by yourself (despite the fact that the women out in this part of the country are quite lovely).  I did have two older men make a few remarks at me as I passed by them on their bench, but it was not too uncomfortable.  I remember when I lived in Panama I'd often have to cross the street to get away from aggressive cat-callers who would get right up in your face.

Anyhow, back to Miramar.  My first stop was the pharmacy.  I asked the pharmacist for an allergy product similar to Zrytec D, which I have used in the States.  I also asked her if I'd be able to get my birth control pills and a couple other medications I take without getting a prescription from a doctor.  She confirmed that this was correct.  While some of the popular medications like Viagra and antidepressants may require prescriptions, a whole other list of common medications don't.  It's really amazing to me how unregulated medication dispensing is here as compared to the U.S.

I wandered on to the park at the center of town and sat on a cement bench for a while to watch the soccer players in the field across the street. I then made my way back down to the Chinese shop and picked up the eggs.  I always get nervous when they ring up the store total in colones (the local currency).  I do the quick math in my head to try to make sure it's reasonable to me in dollars, and then pay the cashier hoping that I don't make a complete fool of myself by giving her the wrong amount of coins or bills.

As I made my way back to the apartment, the sun was setting and its reddish glow in the sky was an awesome sight to behold.  Miramar is by no means a "quiet" town, as it's almost entirely built up along a main highway running through its center, so traffic can be pretty loud.  Still, it's a real taste of Costa Rican life and actually the town has a historic past, being that it was once a booming gold-mining town. Today, however, development here centers around agriculture.  Miramar is also very slowly venturing into tourism, mainly in its surrounding mountainous areas that offer sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean.

All in all it was a pretty great day.  There's something to be said for learning how to navigate on your own in a new country.

A Typical Sunset in the Mountains Around Miramar
Miramar's Town Center

Our apartment building in Miramar, Costa Rica

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