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And sulpher-y too.

This is the crater of the Poas Volcano in Costa Rica.

I got very, very lucky that the winds were in my favor, revealing the gorgeous turquoise blue water below.

Evidently the volcanic soil nearby makes for delicious coffee. I’ll let you know, a bag managed to find its way into my suitcase.

Perhaps next week I’ll write about the epic backroads voyage I went on to get to the volcano. If I didn’t live it, I’d think I made it up.

Image originally published to Instagram May 17. Photo taken with an iPhone4s and the Camera+ and imported into Instagram.

That Is Very, Very Green

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As I’m running from meeting to meeting here in Cost Rica, I had a chance to take a quick snap of my view from behind the office buildings.

So incredibly green and beautiful, and this is just San Jose.

I can’t begin to imagine the view outside of metropolitan area. I’ll get to see more of it tomorrow.

But for today….just. Wow.

This is what you get when you have a lot of rain.

Photo Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right column of this page. Photo taken with an iPhone 4s and the Camera+ application.

First Impressions


Ok, I’ve only spent about a day in Costa Rica, but here are my first impressions:

1) The customs process: all in not bad. Every bag has to be scanned for “agricultural products” but I didn’t mind. I had to do the same in Hawaii. I suppose when you are a small country that prides itself on wildlife conservation, this is important. Other than that, the process was stamp stamp and on your way.

2) I grew up speaking Spanglish. This means my Spanish is sparse and not very good. This gets me in trouble. Someone speaks to me in Spanish, I answer in Spanish. They continue, thinking I understand. I’m like “uh…hold up a second.” Whoops.

3) Almost everyone speaks some bit of English but it’s not always good English. Between my crap knowledge of Spanish and their few words of English…well, it’s a little rough.

4) Platains. So good.

5) Apparently Costa Ricans are opposed to sidewalks. There are really no sidewalks to be had. Everyone walks in the (narrow) street lanes. Everyone, including me. Thankfully the pace of life isn’t too fast here and neither are the cars.

6) Damn, they have a lot of Spanish channels on the television! Oh. Wait…..

7) Rain. Every day. Noonish. It cools it down a bit but also steams it up. To be expected, I think. Costa Rica is actually farther away from the equator than Singapore, but it feels a hell of a lot more tropical than Singapore.

8) But all that rain makes it really, really beautiful. The words “lush” and “green” come to mind.

9) A city at about 3,840 feet elevation. Surrounded by mountains and volcanoes. Originally founded by Spanish Conquistadors. Does San Jose, Costa Rica sound a little bit like any other city you know? Say…one in New Mexico?

10) The money has sharks on it. And another denomination has a buck (deer). And another has a cheetah. Rawr! That’s some awesome money!

On The Road Again (Soon)


I’m just barely back from Singapore (in my mind anyway, it’s been two weeks today that my feet stepped off the plane in Cali) and now I’m gearing up and packing up for my next work adventure.

This time Boss Man is sending me off to a different part of the world. An area a little more in my wheelhouse.

In exactly one week I’ll be saying helllooooo Costa Rica.

Or, more properly, Holaaaaaa Costa Rica!

: cue a Latin beat :

Yup, that’s right folks, I’m headed to Central America.

Before you start imagining idyllic days by the blue-green sea, ratchet all of that back and imagine me in the middle of the densely populated capital city of San Jose.

While the trip to Singapore was all hand shaking and good food, Costa Rica is going to be some seriously hard work (and hopefully good food). I have an employee there who is still pretty new (yes, I hired her without ever meeting her in person) and she needs some back up.

Today I’m watching my calendar fill up with meetings for next week. Heads of Finance, IT, HR and the site director shall feel my steely wrath. Ok, less wrath and maybe more along the lines of “stop treating my employee like your hired hand or I’m gonna call in some really big boss types, and no one wants that.”

In Singapore I was there to make friends. In Costa Rica I’m there to have some pretty hard conversations. And try to make friends while I’m at it.

The good news is that most Costa Ricans (they call themselves Ticos) speak English, because my Spanish is Spanglish at best and I’m quite out of practice. I’m certain I can still easily order a beer and inquire as to the location of the bathroom, but beyond that I might stumble.

But I’m looking forward to trying!

And in other somewhat related news…file this under the World is Very Small and the World is Very Large:

Last week I had a one to one meeting with my employee in Costa Rica. She asked me about my trip to Singapore.

She said “Karen, I have something to confess. When you said you were going to Singapore, for some reason I thought that was located in Africa. I thought you were going to be out there with wild animals in the middle of the desert and I was really worried about you! I told my mom about how worried I was and she said “what is wrong with you?” So I Googled it and looked at photos. There’s all these big buildings. That’s nothing like what I thought.”

We had a good laugh because, well, geography can be a tricky thing.

Then I confessed that when I’d told a couple of my friends I was going to Costa Rica, they were like “now….that’s over by Brazil, right?” And I sighed and said “um. No. Central America. Nestled in there between Panama and Nicaragua.”

I say all this while admitting my own knowledge of geography is no great shakes.

We laughed again and agreed maybe I’m like a super secret spy and it’s better no one knows where I’m really going.

But really…

I’d like to buy the world a geography lesson, and teach them harmony.
I’m both excited and terrified about this trip. The Good Man isn’t coming along this time, so I’m on my own.

Courage! rawr.

Image from