It’s natural to look for differences between here and home, though I’m convinced there are far more similarities.  One thing that really stands out here is the neighborhoods, and especially the neighborhood businesses.  They are everywhere, as they were in Costa Rica.

Here’s a quick tour of a random block, starting with this beautiful corner market.

20160203_235634.jpg

These are the businesses on the rest of the block.

A few happened to be closed when I took these pics, but all are in business.

To me, this implies:

  1. There are many enterprising people here.
  2. People in the neighborhoods support these businesses.
  3. You can run a business here fairly cheaply.

Maybe some neighborhoods like this still exist in the US?  Ithaca has a pretty vibrant small business climate, but I don’t think it’s at this level.

I’m not suggesting any staggering conclusions here, just noting a difference that’s obvious to any casual observer. 

Today, Mary visited a business near this same block.

20160203_230638.jpg

We searched for a place where she could have her hair done by an English speaker, since neither of us trust our Spanish enough to describe this task.  Sure enough, this place had just such a person, though Mary was surprised when he arrived.  She’s never had her hair done by a man, until today.

20160203_230430.jpg

 

However, mission accomplished.  Mary looks great.

20160204_042540.jpg

 

My turn next, since what hair I have left was looking pretty shaggy.  I had spotted a barber shop in the plaza with Homo Sibaris, so off we went.  The barber turned out to be from Pakistan.  He was fast, almost scary fast especially with the razor, but my ears are intact, and Mary and I are both delighted with our new do’s.

 

Haircut day is a huge success!