Monday, 24 September 2012

Off the tourist trail in San Jose

If you find mention of Barrio Mexico in the travel guides it comes with the warning of danger.....
Absolute fiddlesticks! You wouldn't walk about there at night, but that goes for a lot of more supposedly salubrious places as well....like Gringo Gulch in the centre of the city where the would be sex exploiters meet with the would be wallet expropriators in a ritual danse macabre.

It's well worth a visit in daylight if you enjoy architecture.....dilapidated, beaten down but still unbowed, art deco rules in Barrio Mexico...as the following photographs show:



 
 
 
 
Not only in Barrio Mexico, but in more central areas too...
 




While art nouveau is not lacking either


The house above is being restored after years of neglect as part of San Jose's plans to make the city once again the attractive centre of art and culture that once it was.

All over the city there are enclaves of super architecture....sometimes one house surviving in a street, sometimes a group....so a walk through the city promotes not only corpore sano but also mens sana.

Just steer clear of Gringo Gulch....



 







 

46 comments:

  1. Perhaps it's not always bad if cities are a little neglected. At least the architecture is allowed to survive. If a more enlightened age then refurbishes the best bits, so much the better. These buildings look in reasonably goo nick.

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    1. I take your point...benign neglect is better than destruction.
      Unfortunately San Jose went in for destruction in a big way in the sixties and seventies in its main commercial districts which makes the pleasure even greater that enclaves of good style still exist.

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  2. I think I like San Jose. That pic, 5 down, looks like a mini version of New York's "Flat Iron"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flatiron_Building
    And I'm sure pavement cafes will catch on, one day.

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    1. I just wish it had those wide pavements as in Granada in Nicaragua because as it is each frontage owner makes up his bit of pavement as he pleases so you are continually changing height and surface while performing the hop skip and a jump to avoid treading on the wares of the illegal DVD sellers, the guys sellling three melons for two dollars, one guaranteed rotten and the woman with socks.
      A pavement cafe would be restful....

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  3. Love the art deco - Everything here post1600 is knocked down and replaced - so we have ancient, medieval and concrete.

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    1. San Jose did its best to modernise...but as always in Costa Rica, the effort fizzled out before the whole city could be covered in concrete and tin sheeting.

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  4. What is this…’Blog-a-minute’ ?!! That was sneaky. I only just got done paddling my old tin bath all the way back from the western Caribbean from your ‘last’ most recent post about train jams in the High Street, and “ding dong”… you gone and glued up yet a nuther slippery new post on the quiet, just like that. My plimsoll’s are still all wet and squelchy from this mornings visit. Jeeeeze, all this bloggy comment lark is wearing me out.

    Okay, you only get one of those standard, economy range, blogger flyby without even landing comments this time round, cos I gotta paddle all the way back to Blighty for the second time tonight before some other escaped convicts steal my cave again.

    ‘Nice post. Fantastic pics. Love your blog!’










    Can I go home now?

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    1. I thought you were out buying trains....but my humble apologies to you and your plimsolls.

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  5. I'm amazed big film companie don't snap these places up for location shoots!

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    1. And if the Costa rican tourist biard had the fsintest clue it would be out marketing them instead of concentrating on blasted rainforest and false green credentials.
      No wonder we see tourists stalking the town centre dressed like Crocodile Dundee...they think they need machetes to cut their way through the vines to get from their hotel to the ATM machine.

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  6. Beautiful architecture. What a treasure they have. It certainly deserves to be preserved and restored to it's true glory.

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    1. It's only recently that any funding has been available and only since the polics started clearing up the drug and squatting problem that owners thought it worth bothering to do anything.

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  7. Loving the art nouveau buildings

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  8. I would not have even walked around our little village in the UK on my own at night!!
    Love the architecture in these buildings, they are fantastic. Diane

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    1. And as I walk around I see more....but I never have the camera!

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    2. Art Deco - My favourite architecture! And it looks in good condition - certainly in comparison to the same Art Deco era houses here in Scotland. Mind you, metal frames and flat roofs were maybe not the smartest idea in this dreich and cold environment...

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    3. They can have their problems here in the rainy season downpours!
      There are a lot more more dilapidated buildings....but there are two Barrios (Mexico and ours)who have projects to restore their older buildings - as long as the money turns up which sometimes it doesn't....and the national heritage organisation is gearing up. Though luckily they are restoring the major buildings before getting round to the rest of us on the list to be listed.....

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  9. Wow....I love the colours and shapes of those buildings!

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  10. I am so sorry to be such a rubbish person at staying in touch.

    My love to you and I these buildings are spectacular!

    xx

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    1. I'm not so hot myself! E mail will be on its way on the weekend.
      It's a great place to be!

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  11. There are 'Gringo Gulches' every where on our planet. Most large cities have their colorful identities charlatans and ladies of the night- their pimps drug pushers and bag snatchers.
    Sydney presents itself as a beautiful harbour side city during the day, but you must be long gone before Cinderella's coach arrives at midnight.
    Nice post and pics.

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    1. Or you might lose more than your slippers....

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  12. Love the Art Deco buildings - it is amazing to see so many still standing. Is there really a place in the middle called 'Gringo Gulch'? I am never quite sure what is your brilliant writing and what might just be fact...In any case, I would avoid it like the plague even in broad daylight as it just SOUNDS dangerous!
    Great stuff
    Axxx

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    1. Well, it's not labelled as such, but everyone knows where it is...and what it is. Casinos, night clubs, expensive bars and prostitution.
      Fine in the daylight, as the sex tourists and those who prey on them don't show their faces in daylight...a bit like trolls.

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  13. Two spectacular posts, Fly. Thanks for keeping your promise to show us something of San Jose. I can see why you wanted a house there - those Art Deco and Art Nouveau buildings are fantastic, even in their dilapidated state.

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    1. I'm glad your internet server liberated you...you were missed!
      Beautiful buildings...and lots of them in unexpected places. There's another side, of course, as anywhere, but there's an effort to improve things.

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  14. Fly, thank you so much for the wonderful virtual tour of San Jose. I feel as if I've just enjoyed a day in your company. :)

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  15. It's always a good sign when people start renovating places. I love to see the different ways people have interpreted art deco.

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    1. After years in the doldrums the city is really coming to life again...pity the guidebooks have not caught up!

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  16. Replies
    1. And I haven't even mentioned the markets and the caffs....

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  17. Me too I am an art deco fan ! love the art nouveau too though .. would feel right at home there

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    1. Your camera would be busy....and I've been so tempted that I've bought a more sophisticated camera to try to capture some of the delights of San Jose.
      It will only take me five years to work out how to use it..

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  18. Replies
    1. Just wait five years and you'll get some more...ptobably out of focus and upside down...but indubitably mine!

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  19. Many of the Art Deco buildings remind me of my adopted second home city of Napier in New Zealand

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  20. What a wonderful looking place...in the daylight!

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    1. It is a super city....and old photographs show wonderful buildings that no longer exist.

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