Costa Ricans have a lot to laugh at these days: themselves. “Sólo en Costa Rica” at www.facebook.com/soloencostarica is a new sensation that has visitors checking in daily to see if new photos or comments have been added. The Facebook page, which since May has attracted more than 130,000 followers, is worth a look and laugh.
Sólo en Costa Rica is made up of photos that the anonymous authors claim can be seen “only in Costa Rica.” Where else would you see sanitation workers sound asleep in the back of a truck piled high with garbage bags? Viewers’ comments add to the fun. One wrote that garbage makes good camouflage; another, that some people pay fortunes for mattresses and don’t sleep as well.
A couple on a motorcycle with helmets hanging from their arms solicited this comment: “Typical Tico, protect your elbows and not your head.” And viewers had this to say about a computer propped up on a piling at a deserted beach: “Is that the central office of Sólo en Costa Rica?” and “Is that for watching porn?”
A photo on a bus showed a supporting pole in the space for entering a seat. “A chica could do a pole dance and go through the bus collecting money,” suggested one viewer. Another proposed paying for two fares and lying down across the seats. Someone else suggested you put your right foot on your left knee, your left foot on your right knee and pray that the driver doesn’t make a sudden stop. Another wondered if the pole was for the convenience of dogs.
Most photos attract 30 or more comments and many clicks on “Me gusta” (Like). Many people just write “ji ji ji” (“hee hee hee”). Some photos have more than a thousand hits, according to their counters.
Signs with misspelled or vague lettering make up most of the photos. One lengthy message was all run together and raised some questions: “Is this a tongue twister?” “Does this show the state of education in Costa Rica?” But another commenter felt it was a good way to save space.
Signs for bathrooms seem to draw the most comments. One had stalls for “descopacitados” and another for women and children but none for men, suggesting the writer himself might be educationally “descopacitado.” Another bathroom sign read “Please deposit toilet paper only in the toilet.” “What do we do with caca?” asked one reader. Another answered, “Take it home.” “Maybe you’re suppose to shit in the wastebasket and throw the paper in the toilet,” suggested another.
Three traffic signs on one corner advised no turning left, no turning right, and dead end straight ahead. A notice on a bus window warned against throwing gum and garbage on the floor and “If you feel nauseous, ask the driver for a bag.”
“Se pintan casas a domicilio” didn’t need any comments. Where else would they paint your house but at your house?
Signs in English showed variations in translation. A sign outside a restaurant advertising “chicken to the iron” for grilled chicken requires some guesswork; plancha can be a grill or an iron in English, so pollo a la plancha is, literally, chicken to the iron. Not at a loss for words, one viewer wrote, “I’ll have a language in sauce and a loin to pepper to go.” Another comment said simply, “How scary,” while another asked about iron maidens.
A metal container with the word “vashura” on it confused one reader who asked if that was the name of a cat. Another thought it was for flowers, but someone else claimed that is how they spell “basura” (garbage) in the Southern Zone.
A photo of six Traffic Police kneeling behind a motorcycle had the caption, “How many police are needed to unscrew a license plate?” One answer was “One to take it off and five to supervise.” Other answers included “They’re going eenie, meenie, miny, moe” and “They’re learning how to use a screwdriver.”
Series of pictures are arranged by albums, and by clicking on each one you can have a full range of fun. Full knowledge of Spanish is not necessary, and many of the comments are in English, showing that the site is popular among foreigners, too.