At first I was just annoyed. Last Saturday morning before 10 a.m. we were coming home from the Pavas feria and discovered all of the openings in the Sabana Norte Boulevard were closed. This meant the taxi had to drive about 10 extra blocks to get us home. Were we going to become prisoners in our neighborhood every time there was something happening in the new national stadium?
Later, when I saw the interior of the stadium on my TV, I was duly impressed. It was as bright as daylight inside the arches, but I could see, looking out the window just 300 yards away that it was indeed dark. Seeing both President Laura Chinchilla and former president Óscar Arias as they made speeches and happily watched the dedication, I figured, the steps taken were not overly precautionary, as a matter of fact, pretty low-key.
It was the Chinese hand dancing that had me stunned. I watched that on TV. Over a dozen dancers lined up perfectly behind the front one so synchronized it looked like one dancer with dozens of arms. It was something of a relief to see such precision and gentle moves, after being accustomed to Western style more acrobatic more frantic dancing.
It was the Chinese fireworks that I could see from my office window that made me gasp. I don’t bother with fireworks anymore unless they are truly spectacular. These were truly spectacular. Indeed the Chinese invented and have perfected this art form.
The stadium was packed, and I was told that tickets were scooped up immediately and were being scalped before the performance. I didn’t get to see the entire fútbol game. The score was two to two when I lost the station. But from what I did see, I think the Costa Rican team was more gentlemanly than the Chinese team. I could hear the cheering from my apartment. The game ended in a tie.
More activities continued through the weekend with lesser fireworks — and on Tuesday with the added entertainment of a helicopter making nearly two dozen passes over the park. My curiosity got old fast. I can’t imagine living where the sound of helicopters or planes is an everyday occurrence.
Wednesday there was a concert in the Stadium — in this case the national symphony. I would have been happy to hear the sound of classical music wafting into my windows. But no such luck. You had to be there.
Obviously the government is going to arrange as many activities as they can in order to pay for the upkeep of the stadium, the cost of which is mind boggling, according to an earlier article in A.M. Costa Rica. Friends of mine in the neighborhood have already made plans to move, and I am beginning to look with interest at for rent signs closer to downtown.
The boulevard along the north side of the Sabana is gridlock during the rush hours as it is. I wonder about the high rises already built and planned for around the park. If it were just something like “Shakespeare in the Park,” or the fairs and festivals they have, it would be great and easily accessed by most people, and really like Central Park in New York. But the stadium looms over almost one-third of the park and is not easily accessed at all.
Enough nattering. Today is April Fool’s Day, and all week I have felt like a fool as I have tried to organize the necessary information for my taxes, and failed. In desperation I called a number and happily discovered tax assistance was within reach in Rohrmoser. They, of course, were totally booked by more timely applicants.
But bless Raquel for responding to the desperation in my voice and treating me as an emergency. I seem to be using emergency services often lately.
Now I will put all of my concerns behind me and with a clear conscience I am going to The Queen’s Birthday Party tomorrow. It is an annual affair I like to attend. It’s on the grounds of the British ambassador’s residence in Escazú, across from the Plaza Laureles. Entrance is only 2,500 colons (money going to a worthy Costa Rican cause), and there will be lots to do and to eat from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. They also sell British goodies like jams and chutney. I am hoping to find a bottle of Rose’s lime juice so I can pass the new national stadium gimlet-eyed on my way home.