Time for more of my lousy photos. Since we were on vacation, I really felt unmotivated to even take photos so....I didn't bother really getting any scenic stuff. The time down there was great. It was great to re-connect with old friends, take naps occasionally and observe the country continue to change. Costa Rica has changed so much in many ways. In others it is exactly the same. It is still beautiful, the weather is the same (mostly), San Jose's downtown hardly changes at all compared to other globalized, plugged in countries. The government remains peaceful and completely ineffective--in a permanent state of gridlock. We now have our first female President, however. Most of the roads are terrible, but not as bad as when we had to cross more than 50 rivers to get to the beach.
Some of the big changes though have to do with new wealth, religion, and development.
Like so many countries that start to ride the globalization wave, living standards are higher than ever in Costa Rica. The middle class truly looks like a global middle class now. Some of my "cousins" who were running around in diapers back in 1990 and from poor or modest homes, now have great jobs, very nice cars, and all the techno gadgetry you can imagine. Even in the 90's, when I would go back, I stood out for my clothes and First World appearance. Today, there is no such obvious disparity.
There were a lot of young people with money. Today, 99% of all chips made by Intel are made in Costa Rica.
At the same time, there is a pretty startling increase in obesity. I wrote about this in the diary on one of my previous Costa Rica trips. It used to be only Americans had obesity issues and they were made fun of for that, but now it is common down there and in much of the underdeveloped and developing world.
The suburbs have become a lot more posh. Some of the new malls in Escazu are shockingly beautiful as are the homes.
But the biggest change is the rate at which Costa Rica is secularizing. Catholics are becoming more nominal, the Evangelical church is peaking (or peaked) and there is a great increase in non-religious people. The youth increasingly see religion as irrelevant. Thus we see the birth of the Post-Modern in Costa Rica. From two worlds: 1) Traditional and 2) Non-Western to three with Post-Christendom establishing a strong imprint on the nation.
This happens as the influx of wealth and living standards increases. As I experienced on the Mosaic journey, even in the under-developed and developing nations, large pockets of post-moderns are emerging--particularly amongst the new, young, globally plugged in youth. The church's response will have to be more out-0f-the-box than before. Not relying on old approaches, and trying to attract youth into an institution. It will require big change.