Starbucks with a Twist

starbucksYou haven’t been to a StarBucks until you visit a StarBucks in Costa Rica. A combination of the Costa Rican culture combined with the StarBucks philosophy of customer service has created a very unique experience here in this central american paradise.

I’m a software engineer, telecommuter, remote worker, and now an accidental blogger. I have spent the past fifteen years working from coffee shops around the world.  There is no other place that even comes close to a StarBucks in Costa Rica.  The employees at each one I have visited are always glad to see you, treat the place like it is there own home, are very knowledgeable and attentive.  In addition, the architecture of each place is very unique, spacious, very well designed and thought out. Check this one out.

I have been in Costa Rica for the past month and I have been working from three of the StarBucks almost everyday. I sometimes will even visit the same one closest to my house twice a day, since I can walk to it.  They certainly don’t get tired of seeing me.

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Are you married, single, or just hungry?

When you live in another country, the food is entirely different and you usually don’t know what something is by the name alone. How do you know what your ordering?

In Japan, the language barrier makes this impossible, so in Japan, the restaurants create wax replicas of the food and display the replicas of the food in glass cases. The foreigner simply points to the food they want.

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Wax Food Replicas at a Japanese Restaurant

I can speak spanish fairly well. Even so, it is still difficult to know what you are ordering. When I am with my Tico friends. I will ask them. They usually give a quick vague response. Sometimes I think they don’t even know. There are also food items like cafe con leche where each restaurant has there own variation.

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The Pura Vida Office

I visited yet another StarBucks close to my house. I took a bus, I could probably walk to it though. It is located on the second floor on the corner of a street. They have a balcony around the outside. I’m sitting outside on the balcony right on the corner. The balcony has no railing. It is completely enclosed by glass panels. The breeze passes through where the panels meet. The weather is perfect.

Across the street, there is a McDonald’s and shopping center. I had breakfast at McDonald’s, walked across the Street to StarBucks. There are plenty of places to have lunch, too.

You almost have to see this place to appreciate how incredible it is. I don’t have a camera and took some fotos with the Mac builtin camera. I’m taking the pictures from the chair I’m sitting in.

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This has to be the best place in the world to work. It is probably the coolest StarBucks I have ever visited. It is located next to Plaza Momentum, Pinares, Curridabat, Costa Rica.

La oficina pura vida!

Up and At ’em

When we moved to Louisiana, we lived with my grandparents while we built our house.  We built our house on the same farmland where my grandparents lived. My grandpa would wake me up early with the phrase “Up and At ’em”. I used to think he was saying Adam instead of At ’em. Who was Adam, I thought? And why are you waking me up so early, I am only four years old.  Go away.

My grandpa would be proud of me now, because in Costa Rica I am “Up and At ’em” at 5 am everyday. I will often wake up at 4:30 am and lay awake until 5 am. This is almost impossible for me in the United States.

For some reason, I can’t keep myself from waking up early here. It is automatic. I wake up with an abundance of energy, also. No alarm required.alarm_clock

The sun rises about 5:27 am and the sunsets at 6:00 pm. It seems like it rises around 5 am to me. There is plenty of light around 5 am to go walking. I can look out my front living room window and see the sun rising around 6 am. There are rarely any clouds blocking the sunlight.

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Cafe con Leche

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I took this foto at a restaurant in Grecia, Costa Rica.

There is a drink here called cafe con leche. It literally means coffee with milk. I have discovered that this doesn’t exactly describe what it really is. Everytime you ask for a cafe con leche, you will get something different each time. There are subtle differences and each place has there own variation.

At some places, they will ask you if you want your cafe con leche caliente or tibio (hot or warm). Hot means the milk will be, well hot, where warm simply means the milk will not be hot, it will be at room temperature.  When they ask me this, I know I am getting coffee with milk.  The milk will either be hot or warm. My choice.  No frothy foam.

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Get me Off this Tin Can

Yesterday was my first experience of taking a bus that was packed like a can of sardines, for lack of a better metaphor.

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Ok, it wasn’t that bad as the foto above. It was more like this on the inside:

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In Costa Rica and probably most of latin america, a bus is called a “lata”, a tin can.

When I got on the “lata”, I was very close to the front, so it would be easy to leave when my stop arrived. I was prepared. Then, all of a sudden the bus stop driver stops in the middle of the road, gets out of the driver’s seat, shouts, “Disculpe si moleste, pero mueve mas a atras, da campo a la otro gente, por favor.” He said, “Excuse me, I don’t mean to bother you, but please move toward the back, so more people my get on board the bus.” More people??? Yes, more people. As more people got on the already full bus, I was pushed more toward the middle of the bus. How was I supposed to leave the bus when my stopped arrived?

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Law of Zero

law_of_zeroThe reason I like living in Costa Rica has to do with what I call the Law of Zero. I will explain that later.

Living here in a Tico neighborhood, you are usually the only person from the United States. I don’t see many people from United States. I don’t understand why anyone would want to move here and be around other people from the United States. If you feel the need to do that, stay in the United States, there are plenty of them there. Doh!doh

In my view, living here is what it would be like if you moved to another world or planet. You are different from everyone else, speak a different language, you have to learn a new language to live and new culture customs. Your world is no longer present, the news, the violence in the news, the reasons for the violence, all the negativity, who the president is or who might be the next president, I simply don’t have to care about all that here.

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Otro Starbucks

starbucks_sanpedroI found yet another Starbucks that is close by. It is in San Pedro. I live in Curridabat. I hopped on a bus this morning and it took me directly there in about 10 minutes. I had exact change for the bus driver this time. I didn’t have to wait at the front of the bus while he gave me change. You have to look on the front of the bus windshield to figure out the exact amount. I usually just give them 500 colones, since no bus is ever over this amount. The bus comes fast and it is sometimes hard to see the tarifa. Today though, I saw it was 335 colones and was able to provide exact change. Kind of made me feel like I was a local.

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Starbucks by Bus

starbucks_plaza_cronosbus_costa_ricaI had an amazing afternoon at a new Starbucks I found. It is close to the Wal-Mart here in Curridabat. It is too far to walk, so I ventured to take a bus there.

I took the wrong bus. It did get me fairly close, but I had to still walk a ways. I should of asked if the bus went by Wal-Mart before I boarded the bus. Oh well, it wasn’t too far to walk.

Anyway, I went to a new plaza here called Plaza Momentum. There are a ton of restaurants, including a Denny’s. I didn’t come all this way to go to Denny’s, though.

I went to a spanish restaurant, that is a restaurant from Spain. I had Salmon de la Naranja. Salmon with orange. It was excellent. It also came with some mashed potatoes and spinach with a Te Frio Verde. Cold green tea.

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Watchin’ the World go By

The curtains in the living room have been closed all the way for the whole time I have been here. Today I decided to pull them back completely. I opened the windows and let the breeze come in. I can see the garden in the front. I can also see people walking by, cars, buses, people talking to the guard, the whole world going by. I can also see some squirrels. There is also some palm trees. I went outside and no one can see inside, but I can see outside. My house is positioned so I can see the entrance. It is at the very front of the property.

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I’m getting some new windows installed today. I can get some different ones. I thought about getting some that would slide all the way open. The garden would almost be in my living room. I could also put some plants right by the window, so it would be like the garden continued inside. The only thing I worry about is if bugs or something were to come in the house.

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