An Asian’s View of Costa Rica


  • Everyone is very friendly, even if they don’t speak English. Do try to learn a few Spanish phrases though, as it’s almost impossible to order food and go places without basic Spanish.
  • If possible, avoid flying Spirit airlines if a full service airline is desired. While the “ticket” is cheap, they laden it with extraneous costs and fees which ultimately brings the cost to a similar level to other airlines.Their lines were the longest in the airport, but the least staffed. They wouldn’t give a cup of water for free, and insisted on charging. It was apparently impossible to use the online system to check-in. And it turns out, we’re not the only ones who had terrible service.
  • For the love of all things good, be prepared to eat a ton of beans and the side-effects. The typical food you find in Costa Rica is called casado, which is rice, beans, salad, and a meat product.The meats and veggies are pretty decent all around, and can be pretty cheap (just ask the locals where they eat). On the other hand, the rice is practically uncooked compared to the typical Asian rice; skip it if you are used to the softness of Asian rice.

    Casado (usually without fries)
  • Travel within the country is hard; the roads are rarely paved on the outskirts.

Arenal Volcano

  • The name is pretty tough to pronounce for Asians apparently; listen to how the locals pronounce it a few times to prevent confusion.
  • The volcano is gorgeous if there are no clouds on it.
  • We want to La Fortuna waterfall area, a natural tour of the area and one of the hot springs.The waterfall was mildly forgettable (coming from Cornell, waterfalls are no biggie), but the roughly five hundred stairs were not for my thighs. Just remember to change before down the path if you intend to take a dip; there are no changing rooms at the bottom of the stairs.

    La Fortuna
    La Fortuna
  • The natural tour was okay, partly because my tour guide had troubles communicating, and partly due to two immature young ladies in our group. We managed to see a snake, and quite a few birds. I honestly preferred the Monteverde area to Arenal.


    The hot springs was anything but forgettable. We went to Baldi after our nature hike, and it was quite the relaxant. There were several different pools, with different designs for different people with different temperatures. Spending 15 minutes in each pool will burn through two hours easily.

    There is a “free” hot springs by the Tabacon resort in that the river is warm. Be wary of the love birds there making out though (source: random Canadian tour guide).


  • The weather was so weird. Have a poncho/umbrella/light coat ready at all times.
  • If going on the ziplines, DO FOR THE TARZAN SWING. It’s basically a giant ass swing and bungie jump in one.
  • In one day, we did a morning nature hike, the ziplines and a night walk. It was worth it, but incredibly tiring.
  • Both the morning and evening nature hikes were distinct on their own. We were fortunate to have a very competent guide (name was Christian) for the morning hike, which we rehired as our guide for the night walk.The morning one was more a flora/fauna + bird tour, while the night tour contained way more large mammals. They were both different and well worth it.
    Morning Hike

    Night Walk
  • The butterfly garden by Montverde Country Lodge (there’s no road names in either Montverde or Arenal…) was educational’ nothing out of the ordinary. Our guide did bite a roach to prove that they are cleaner than we think.

    The Don Juan coffee/chocolate tour was also nice. Loads of fun and demystified the makings of coffee to me; includes tons of free samples!

My Petty Revenge

I was finishing up my workout at Noyes tonight on the mat. Doing stretches and cool down stuff. Well, I got thirsty and decided to go have a drink. Note that my towel, notebook, and workout gloves are still on the mat.

Then while I was gone for 2 minutes, this girl decides to come steal my place on the mat. I didn’t want to be rude because I can do abs back home but wanted to give her a piece of my mind.

Good thing that I had a small fart in my loaded up just for the occasion.

Take that.


The desire to build is strong with me, but I never got the training (same with drawing too). I guess that’s why the Arduino is sitting there, collecting dust. I wish there’s just labs where we build stuff here at Cornell.

But anyways… ideas:

  1. App where it shows the approximate location of buses as markers on Google maps using time data, and not GPS (too expensive). I think this should be fairly doable in the grand scheme of things.
  2. Clock where the hour is given by the shape of the polygon displayed. I see glimpses of coolness here, but can’t put my hands on it.


Magic, Math, and Cooking

For the past few days, I’ve been just existing. I’m not wasting the day in anyways though. The day was spent shopping at Wegman’s Wednesday, while yesterday was spent cleaning the entire house.

Even without classes, I still feel that I’m not accomplishing much. I want to be great at math, start being decent at magic, and great at clarinet; also P90Xing on top of all that. That’s over 4 hours right there.

Am I over-exerting myself in expecting mastery in such diverse hobbies? Probably.

Will I keep on trying? Of course.

Lets just hope I don’t die this semester.


Had two dreams recently that was pretty weird…

  1. I had to hide in a hut when a comet shower was going on… which turned out to be a bunch of meteors striking the Earth. I think I was with a few REU folks… and then I had to dodge a rolling ball of fire.Influences: RTW II videos and the actual comet shower.
  2. I bitched about someone in front of a large group. I don’t bitch to people in large groups….


Take It Back to Square One

After a long program like my recent REU where I hung out with a group of awesome people for such a long time that I forget the outside world, I reminisce about past groups. I think back to my MAO conventions where I flirted with love, jump back in time to the All-District concert with Dr. Green cheering us on during Maslanka… but I always feel sad afterwards that my memory of them is incomplete.

I wish I kept a consistent journal throughout my years to see how I developed. Sometimes when I clean my room in Tallahassee, I would find a little unicorn book where I wrote notes in third and fourth grade. Runescape notes dominated the pages (and a crush for a Megan Morris? … who is this girl?).

Hopefully I can start writing about my feelings/notes on daily life on here more. After all, I am spending a good amount to have this website and domain under my name.

Well. Back to square one.

Fun with PIL

After installing Python(x,y), I’ve decided to play around with the various modules and applications packaged. The IDE that came with the package (Spyder) is surprisingly useful and feature-rich, which is helping me immensely with visualizing data from my work (in conjunction with the packaged matplotlib). Just yesterday, I’ve decided to dip my hands into the imaging library (PIL) and see what features it has by making a Adele-esque album cover.

I took an old photo of mine, cropped my face out, and placed it on a transparent background using Photoshop. Next, I cropped out Adele’s hand from the album and saved that as a separate image.

Now using PIL, I was able to copy my head and Adele’s hand onto a new image, rotate the said image, and add text to it. It was surprisingly… easy.

Code here.


It has been almost 4 years since President Obama has been in office, and the birthers has mostly subsided. But this morning, WFSU reported some crazy Florida raising the issue once again.

According to WFSU:

Klayman [a conservative legal activist] said the president is not a natural-born citizen because his father was not a U.S. citizen.

I guess Mr. Klayman doesn’t believe that Thomas Jefferson is a US citizen seeing that his mother was born in London.

Why Mr. Klayman? Why?


J. Crew

In my effort to be more well-dressed, I decided to go to J. Crew yesterday and spend some of my money. Thing is, there is no J. Crew in Tallahassee.

“No problem! I can just buy this stuff at Cornell. After all, all Ivy Leagues MUST have some sort of J. Crew by it!”

Apparently I am wrong. The closest J. Crew around Cornell is over an hour away. Lets compare that to the other Ivy Leagues (according to Google Maps):

  • Brown: 7 minutes away
  • Harvard: 10 minutes away
  • Princeton: right across the street. (“I have never seen so many J. Crew in my life” – Hellogoodbye)
  • UPenn: 10 minutes away
  • Yale: 6 minutes away
  • Columbia: 12 minutes

I hearby pronounce that Cornell and Dartmouth (~1 hour) officially not part of the Ivy League conference.