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What inspired Joanna to visit Costa Rica?
- Her travelling experiences.
- Her relatives’ journeys.
- An article in the magazine.
Interviewer: Welcome to our Interview Series. Today we have invited Joanna Simmons to tell us about her travelling experiences. So, what made you want to visit Costa Rica?
Joanna: I had an aunt and uncle, a very adventurous couple, who had been, and a cousin and her family, who had also been to Costa Rica in the last couple of years or so and they all came back raving about it. That’s what inspired us.
Interviewer: When it came to packing, was there anything you wish you’d taken with you or even left behind?
Joanna: I’m always in fear of packing too much and then having too much to lug around, but in fact, because of the lack of regular washing facilities, it’s a good idea to pack a little more than you might actually think you need.
Interviewer: Did you know any Spanish?
Joanna: Unfortunately, no, I just know hola and that sort of thing. I intended to do some classes before we went but I didn’t end up doing those. It would have been really useful to know some Spanish, though, particularly to communicate with the people whose village we were staying in. It wasn’t a problem at all, it’s just it would have been nice. I am going to take Spanish classes in September. We’re really quite keen on exploring South America now.
Interviewer: Did you pick up any souvenirs?
Joanna: Normally we try to buy things during the trip and not leave it to the last minute at the airport, as airports tend to be costly and there’s not much choice, but we found that it was quite difficult to find what we wanted locally, the quality we wanted, where we wanted it, but at the airport there was a brilliant selection. It was quite surprising. There were absolutely beautiful pieces of carved wall art here, which I would highly recommend, but you can also find a good selection in San José, too. That’s something people might find useful to know.
Interviewer: What were your preconceptions before you went and how did they match up with what you found?
Joanna: We were rather hassled before the trip with work and everything so we did less research than we expected to do. I knew I wanted to see a sloth, an armadillo — which I really didn’t expect to be able to do — and maybe a volcano or two. Apart from that, that was it! Actually, we were absolutely overwhelmed once we go there. We saw masses of wildlife, we saw fantastic birds, beautiful scenery, lovely people and the food was fantastic. And we saw loads of sloths and an armadillo up close, which was a bit of a treat!
Interviewer: You mentioned the food was fantastic. What’s on the menu?
Joanna: The basic Costa Rican food is rice and beans with chicken or fish. It’s very plain, but hearty and healthy, and obviously for breakfast there is endless tropical fruit. We also found that when it comes to eating out you could do that sort of thing, the simple Costa Rican food, but you could also easily find any number of extremely good restaurants. We had some of the best food we’ve had anywhere. It was a real bonus!
Interviewer: Do you have any ‘sense’ memories from the trip?
Joanna: Yes, but not specifically related to a single sense. I would say the feeling you get in the cloud forest is hard to describe — you can’t really. I felt really affected by being in the forest we went through; it was a really interesting experience. It’s alive with birdsong, but it’s more than that. Sounds, smell, sight — it’s a kind of mixture and an amazing atmosphere.
Interviewer: Has the trip infl uenced where you’d like to go next?
Joanna: Definitely. It would be nice to go back to Central America, but we’d like to explore the whole of South America really! We had only been to Mexico for a wedding before — not the same thing at all — so Costa Rica was uncharted territory. This trip has inspired us to do more!