Today we arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica around 1pm. The group of us that were on the same flight met our VIDA guide and Dr. Bennett outside the airport shortly after getting our bags from baggage claim. Our guides name is Giovanni, and he seems like a friendly guy. The weather was beautifully sunny, but it started to get a little warm standing outside waiting for our bus. We had to wait about 20 minutes for the bus to pick us up, during which time we found out Dr. Bennett's bags hadn't made it with him on the flight because his flights got changed. We all felt kind of bad, and I could personally relate after having been without my bags for a week on the last international trip I went on.
Anyway, the bus driver drove us to a mall where his wife showed us where we could exchange money and buy phone cards. The exchange rate is about 500 colones to $1. We ended up hanging around the mall for a while to grab something to eat and wander around while we waited for a few more people from our group to arrive. Theresa and I had fun talking about a really old arcade game we noticed in the game room at the mall called “Big Bertha.” It was one we both hadn’t seen in probably about 15 years.
After wandering around the mall a little while longer after the rest of our group arrived and getting something to eat at the food court (which had surprisingly familiar restaurants like Subway in it), we were taken to our hotel around 4pm. That gave us about one hour to get settled before we needed to meet for our Spanish class. The class seemed to go well for everyone, and I’m sure the little bit of Spanish we learned will come in handy during the trip. It was mostly basic words and phrases we learned, but we also got a few tips for talking to clients in the clinics.
Shortly after the class, we had a brief orientation meeting. We will still have a longer, more in-depth one tomorrow, but it was a good introduction. Afterwards, we were taken to a traditional Costa Rican restaurant. The food was good, and I got to try some things I have never had before (of course, I can’t even remember what they were called). We bumped into a separate VIDA trip while we were at the restaurant. They were pre-vet students mostly from Arizona. We had met a few of them at the airport, but didn’t really have much of a chance to talk to them. I think we’ll see them again tomorrow during orientation stuff. By the time we got back to the hotel, I think everyone was pretty tired, so we all went to our rooms to rest up for tomorrow. We have our first meeting at 8am with one of the VIDA veterinarians. I’m excited to see how this trip is going to run!