February 04, 2010

Vacation, Day 12 - Limon, Costa Rica

One of the many great things about cruising is you can get from one place to another with absolutely no effort, while you are eating, drinking, having fun, sleeping, etc.  (Oh, and no extra luggage charge).  Yesterday Panama, today Costa Rica.
Although there were quite a few interesting tours offered, most were quite physically challenging (rain forest hikes, swinging through trees, kayaking, etc and I'm just not in good enough physical condition  to partake at the moment.   So, we slept in (ya right  ... not with my awake at 6am husband), until 7am, had coffee delivered to the room and lounged on our patio.    Later, once the tours had cleared out, we went ashore and walked around abit.  The first block off the ship is largely the tourist shop area with the T-shirts and other gawdy items, then, the next block up starts their community market shops ... clothing, furniture and all the usual and necessary stores.   Although a  number of cruise ships enter this area, it does not appear to be  a tourist town.    It is much cleaner than Panama and the people are very nice.  

Interesting enough, the cultural has not changed to the electronic age of the United States.    We saw plenty of children playing outside; some helping parents, and an almost complete absence of cell phones.    What a refreshing thought ... a society where you talk to the person standing next to you versus calling someone somewhere else.    

It is very hot and humid here ... like New Orleans in August.   So, after only two hours, we headed back to the ship.   To get back to the ship, we had to pass through an artisan arts and crafts section where many locals were hoping to sell their wares to the 'perceived' rich people on the ships.  
We spent a good hour looking over the items.   I found several artisans putting together jewelry who, although were not working with high quality gems, had excellent wireworking and chainmaille skills, selling in the $8 - 20. category.   There were also a number of seamstresses offering handmade little girl dress in the $8 - 10.00 range.  At first I was thinking they were greatly underselling themselves (you know, the general Etsy or Artfire conversation about selling your work too cheaply), when it dawned on me that this was not necessarily correct.  Perhaps the true answer is economics.    A jewelry artisan here in the States expects at least $10 - $15/hour for the labor, plus materials, whereas an artisan in Costa Rica would value their labor more in the $2 - $3. range.   Are the skills or abilities different (for the particular level of work); well no.   Perhaps it's simply economics.     I purchased a really nice set (necklace, bracelet and earrings) for $20.00 which I'll be saving to give as a gift at a later date.  
 Then back to the ship for R&R and all that other stuff.

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