People in the Park

There´s a park across the street from my apartment with a grass soccer field, a paved basketball court/soccer court (?), picnic tables, a playground, and huge pine trees, and there´s always lots of people there.

Like the man who drives a green station wagon. He parks his car on Saturday mornings and his three dogs jump out the car windows. The man brings his camping chair to sit under the pine trees and read his weekend newspaper as the dogs run circles around him. My theory is that he married a city girl but he can´t deny his inner country boy.

It seems there´s always a basketball or soccer game going on. Sometimes there´s even women's aerobics classes that meet on the basketball court, which is always fun to watch from our upstairs window... I haven´t gone to join because, well, the classes are pretty basic :).

Then there´s the Saturday morning and Sunday morning regulars that show up for their tournaments of whatever sports, complete with loud music blasting from cars and lots of yelling curse words when the game doesn´t go their way. I've learned my Spanish potty-mouth very quickly from watching these events.

Oh, and you can´t forget the moms pushing strollers and carrying babies to enjoy the playground's offer of time out of the house.

And the occasional gringo parade that infiltrates the park. Today there´s a gringo birthday party and I think there might actually be more gringos than ticos over there right now.

The sun goes down about 6pm here year round, but the park is just getting started with soccer practice. Kids run every which way, kicking up mud with their cleats as they try to run as fast as their coach is yelling at them.  I hear a coach´s blowing whistle about every 5 seconds when it's soccer practice time.

Then there's the early morning exercisers. A Chinese woman walks slowly and flaps her arms up and down  or hacking loogies to clear her throat when she has a cold (gross). Another Asian gentleman walks the park saying Buddhist prayers at sunrise. Then there´s the many dog-walkers following their dogs with plastic bags (ew again), one who I have noticed always wears reeeeeeally short orange shorts. And don´t forget the woman who is dressed like it's a snowy winter as she jogs laps around and around the basketball court. Does she think it's really that cold or is she trying to lose water weight?

Guaranteed if you sit at a picnic table long enough, reading a book or writing or whatever, someone will come up to you and practice their English. Like this morning, I met a woman named Carla who wanted to find a book in English so she could read it and she was asking me if I had ever heard of it. Or a few weeks ago, a woman introduced herself as a Christian and it was very clear she was set on converting me to Christianity as well. :)

Don't think the rainy season stops anyone either. I've watched soccer tournaments from my window as it pours rain and the players are all obviously soaked and loving every moment of it.

Here's me taking up space at a picnic table :). Courtesy of friend and photographer Melissa :)

Did I mention the 2 back walls of the park are covered in all kinds of graffitti? It's quite the mix of art and people... I'll take it.

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