Change Yourself…Change The World.

The Difference Between Asia and Latin America?
September 2, 2009, 4:43 pm
Filed under: Costa Rica

Of course there are too many to name. There are the obvious things, like the dress. In Latin America, you can basically get away with wearing a thong down the street. I’ve seen some women in such strange getups that if a woman in a burka were to walk by, she would probably be stoned for her concealing gestures (ironic because halfway around the world she would be stoned for wearing anything BUT a burka). There is the language, of course. But I also mean language in the way that you can’t really get away with speaking English in this country- you need to speak Spanish to really communicate with the locals (and in Asia, a lot speak English). There is the food. I’d like to judge Asia and Latin America by their fruit. In Asia you have coconuts, jackfruit, pineapple, mango. In Latin America you have papaya, jocote, and a whole slew of strange sounding fruit names I haven’t figured out yet.

But the biggest difference I’ve seen that’s stood out to me the most, is the level of desertion in Latin America. I barely see anyone on my street walking by. In certain pockets in Latin America, I see people hanging out, like in the park, or at the supermercado central (a cool place I went to yesterday). But no matter how many blocks I criss-cross, I only see a few people walking up or down the street, and mostly it’s quiet.
In Asia (and I’m thinking specifically India, Bangladesh, and Nepal in this case), that is pretty much impossible. Every single street would be flocked by hundreds of characters- hawkers who have illegally set up stalls to try to get you to buy their things; beggars limping with one leg or crying horrendously on the street for money; dirty and ragged children running around playing; three or four cows ambling down the street; and so much trash, spit, piss, and debris everywhere that it’s like playing the lava game in order to side-step it all.

I guess it’s hard for me to get a definite flavor or character or Latin America after being in Asia, where there is a new face, a new encounter, a new experience with every direction you turn in. It’s almost as if you have to go looking for the culture here. They are hidden away in little pockets in Costa Rica that you have to find. Yesterday, I wandered in a daze into the Supermercado Central (Central Supermarket) and finally felt I got a bit of a taste of Latino culture. Suddenly Costa Rica went from Ghost Town to- a mini version of India. Vendors shouting their wares, an overabundance of delicious fruit to look at, meat, cheese, little stalls selling tortillas con queso or empanadas, and a whole slew of funny characters who were shouting at each other in Spanish, fighting for a potential customer’s attention, chopping meat or tossing around hordes of green bananas, piling together lists of lottery tickets- utter madness.

Conclusion? Asia is most definitely IN YOUR FACE, whether you want it or not. Latin America teases you, asks for you to come find the adventure before they turn your world upside down.

Pictures of Costa Rica and Italy to come.

Much love,

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