We met Isabel in San Marcos at 8:30 am. We went straight to ICE (phone and internet company, pronounced ee-say) to see what we can do about receiving ADSL internet through our phone line. There was no line-up, we were the only ones there, so we went directly to the representative. Isabel likes this particular guy because he's forthright. He doesn't just say yes, when it just isn't so. Ticos are so afraid to offend they tend to agree or simply say yes when they really mean no, just to avoid any confrontation. Isabel speaks with a certain amount of authority so people seem to listen to her. She did all the talking and we just stood there beside her and smiled for 20 minutes. The gentleman on the other side of the desk didn't seem to think there would be any problem for ICE to provide ADSL service since our neighbour up the road has it. It's about the same speed as the data card, we're told, which isn't brilliant, but much much quicker than dial-up, so we're not complaining. We're hoping we can Skype, but we'll see. Apparently if it works at the lower speed, we may be able to upgrade later to something faster. $15 per month for unlimited use. Not bad. Then Isabel took us to the clinic where we had to get a blood test done. To apply for a driver's licence, the ministry of transportation must have official proof of your blood type in case you get into an accident (it's actually a very good idea). Then we had to go to the doctor's to get a quick medical (blood pressure, reflexes, respiratory, weight, height and finally an eye test). You can't get a driver's licence without a clean bill of health. We passed with flying colours, thank goodness. So now we're ready for when we go into San Jose to get our driver's licence. That will be its own adventure, for another day. Then Isabel showed us the best butcher shop in San Marcos (as far as she's concerned). It was nice and clean and we bought some hamburger meat (minced meat for all you English readers), and went to the bank and several other shops for this and that, including buying an English/Spanish dictionary (a worthwhile investment, I think.) We certainly got a much more in-depth tour of San Marcos, which was very nice. Something has shifted over the last couple of weeks — the culture shock must be waning. The stores don't seem as dingy or odd. It no longer phases us that the corner store sells brake shoes for your car, shoes for your feet and shoes for your horse's hooves.
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Dave and Krista are a couple from the Pacific Northwest that led overwhelmingly busy lives.
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