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Trouble at the Boarding House

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Trouble at the Boarding House


I took a room in a Costa Rican boarding house that I can stay at whenever I am in Barva. I pay $6 a day for a bed and two huge, delicious Costa Rican meals cooked by a good ol Tica Momma. I am also not charged for the days when I am out traveling. As Mira and I are still arranging our archaeology fieldwork at Copan, we need a temporary base to work from so that we can regularly check emails and receive phone calls. This boarding house option was a great way out of having to pay $20 a night for a crappy hotel room.

The lady who runs this takes care of all of my needs. She cooks for me, does my laundry, tells me jokes, and picks on my because she sometimes does not think that I know what she is talking about.

I like pretending that I do not understand Spanish.

For $6 a day, I can not beat this. It makes up for the $17 I must spend a day to travel around Costa Rica on the weekends.

The boarding house provides a home to three electricity students, a husband, a son, a Tica momma, and a funny lawyer who very proudly says “good morning” to Mira and I. It is a good bunch of people to walk past on the way to my room.

But there are troubles at the boarding house: Inspectors! Yes, the local electricity school that the electricity students study at is sending an inspector over tomorrow morning, to make sure the boarding house meets their strict standards of Spartan living. This is a problem because the electricity students are not permitted to dwell under the same roofs as foreigners. Mira and I are unquestionably foreign.

So Mira and I have to hide-out for the day, cover our tracks, and make sure that the electricity kids are not caught living beneath a roof with unchaste Norteamericanos. There would be big trouble in Barva if we were detected as the rascles who exposed the electricity students to our foreign ways.

These electricity kids are not even aloud to listening to people speaking English in the place that they live.. Tica Momma warned us tonight that we were absolutely prohibited from speaking to the electricity students in English. She said that they could talk to us in English, but we always had use Spanish when we replied. The electricity kids cannot hear foreign language, it is part of their electricity training. Tica Momma does not understand. I do not understand.

The funny thing is that they study English in school.

The inspectors are no big deal. We scram at sun up. We speak in Spanish.

But the electricity school has some other extensive regulations placed upon their student’s living arrangements:

  • They are not allowed to watch TV in their rooms.
  • They are not allowed to take hot showers. (The electric water heater to our shower has even been disconnected).
  • They are not allowed to have boyfriends or girlfriends. They are in their early 20’s.
  • They are prohibited from living with anyone who is neither a family member of the boarding house nor a fellow electricity student.


All in the name of studying electricity.

I think Costa Rican electricity school is odd.

Oh well.

Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
Barva, Costa Rica
February 12, 2008

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Filed under: Accommodation, Central America, Costa Rica, Travel Problems

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3048 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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