Volcano Irazu was beautiful. We were so lucky to have such a clear view. Surprisingly, throughout this whole trip, we have had all the right weather at all the right times. The mountains looked crisp and clear. We were literally above the clouds so we could see the clouds rolling in over the mountains. It almost looked like mist. I hope we have more luck when we visit Volcano Poas tomorrow.
Sometimes even an English major just can’t find the words…
Went to the highest volcano in Costa Rica this morning [over 11,400 feet, climbing 8000 feet in 20 miles. It was a rare clear day in the rainy season. In fact, we went through the clouds to get there! Walked around [slowly per reduced oxygen], and took lots of photographs. The last 1/2 mile to the top point of the volcano had potholes big enough to swallow your car, so we went very slowly! Pura Vida!
Dinner today was amazing, it was a tapas restaurant, which I had never tried before, and we got to meet 6 other study abroad students from all different colleges in the United States that came through the CIS program to study in the nearby university. So the students we met today are all living with a host family and taking Spanish classes at the University. The food was great as well as the company.
The restaurant was right near the train track and a couple of trains went by during dinner so that was interesting. The ambiance in the restaurant was very interesting, the whole place smelled like incense and there were strings of beads for curtains between sections. There were lots of mannequins strategically placed in the restaurant/bar as well. Thank you Lisa and Heidi for coordinating this meetup!
I finally learned what “Perro Bravo” means. It means angry dog. On the bus ride back from Monteverde I saw the sign on multiple houses.
I was so excited to see Erick yesterday morning! He is a joy to be around and I love when he practices spanish with me. He is the best waiter in town, but I just found out he isn’t going to be here Saturday, our last day, so I am a little disappointed. After we ate breakfast we went to Hologic where they make healthcare products. It was very good to see women at the company. They gave a wonderful presentation. They passed around some of the products that are used for biopsies and other procedures. I have to say actually seeing them and learning what each instrument does was an eye opener because some of the products looked a bit scary.
Day nine of our Costa Rican experience. What can I say that hasn’t been said? Yesterday, we visited Hologic, a company that specializes in manufacturing medical devices. It was very interesting to see how the devices worked. The employees were so warm and friendly. It was very easy to ask them questions about Costa Rican life.
Afterwards, I walked 6 or 7 miles around San Jose, just taking in the atmosphere and breathing in the life of the city. There is a very busy marketplace in the center of San Jose, where the streets are closed to traffic and pedestrians can take advantage of the various shops, restaurants and markets lining the street. It was a great way to people watch and to see more of the area. We also walked to a huge park where we met a woman from Delaware who was here alone. She showed us her pictures of Monteverde and of the various museums she visited so far. She seemed almost relieved to have someone to talk to that spoke English and was also glad to have Juan be able to translate Spanish for her.
After taking a cab back to the hotel and discussing a case study, we enjoyed a meal at a restaurant called Ave 2. It was a nice way to end a great day.
Coming back to San Jose from Montreverde is like leaving a ranch in the rocky mountains and heading straight to time square, what opposite polarities. On our way back we stopped to visit Boston Scientific in Coyol.
The site here in Costa Rica is a high quality medical device manufacture, which specializes in four product lines including endoscopy equipment.
The company is advancing its products by the implementation of Lean and Shingo concepts, which are a big part of the companies’ culture. We learned that Costa Rica’s manufacturing has evolved from the beginning, when it was just low labor cost, to now, where it is low cost for intensive assembly. Costa Rica’s current competitive advantage is educated labor, allowing it to produce some of the highest quality manufacturing technical products on the market today. This is possible by having a school system in place, which is backed by law, requiring the youth to attend which in return, creates an educated workforce that are able to manufacture high quality advancing technology that other counties around the world cannot at the same low cost. Costa Rica has recognized this and are marketing themselves as being essential, Essential Costa Rica Video Clip.
On Wednesday we were able to visit another world class facility, Hologic, which here in Costa Rica, produces six high-end medical products.
Similar to the other faculties we have visited, they produced products; in high volumes, using JIT, it’s a semi-automated processes and the use of Lean manufacturing concepts to produce low cost intensive assemblies. The company has a culture of wanting to be the best; not just better than other faculties within its company, but the best in class. Manufacturing, and Lean Concepts focuses more on the TEAM aspect, and Costa Rica has an advantage when it comes to team work, as their culture is inherently group oriented, and you can see this benefit in theproducts and the company.