We had a day off of work on Thursday for Juan Santamaria Day, a national holiday in Costa Rica dedicated to the hero of the country. The holiday is really only celebrated in Alajuela, so I went with a friend to see what it was like. We ended up seeing a HUGE parade there, with everyone from the city. The parade lasted about 3 1/2 hours long. It had marching bands from all of the schools in Alajuela, people on stilts, children dressed up, dancing, etc. It was a nice reminder that I am actually living in a different country, despite how normal life can seem sometimes. After the parade, we went to the park and saw some live music and an outdoor market.
Also, we saw a huge protest that happened after the president’s speech in Alajuela. The protest was in response to a new charge being imposed on a highway in Costa Rica, but moreso general frustration with the current president. There were 200 police officers in full uniform (bullet proof vests, helmets, etc) to break it up. It was crazy!