It is already Wednesday and we are getting ready to visit our last company Of this trip. Time really flies when you are having fun. This whole trip has been a really great experience for all of us. Yesterday I had the opportunity to take a walk downtown in San Jose and visit a local market with lots of souvenir shops. A piece of advice, don’t buy anything until you have visit several stores, chances are that you might find the same or a similar item for a lot less at the next shop. Then later on we went out to eat at a local restaurant called Ave 2, the food was good and plentiful and the prices were reasonable. Overall people here are friendly and eager to please the tourists. Esto es todo por ahora. Chao.
On our way back from Monteverde yesterday we stopped in at Boston Scientific to see Eric Tagarro and his fellow colleagues. We had an opportunity to meet Eric and others at Prof. Lewis’s house back in April. During our visit he provided us with a very comprehensive view of his company and what the plant here in Costa Rica manufacturers. Boston Scientific is one of the largest medical device companies in the world. They manufacturer products which are used to diagnose or treat various types of medical conditions. The company is currently looking for ways to innovate in areas such as urology, gastroenterology, and pulmonary care by way of extending their products and new technologies into new geographies. This plant in Costa Rica provides the company with $130B in annual sales and has projections of $147B by 2015, with Endoscopy contWributing 103.3B or 71% of the total sales.
We then paid a visit to Irene Barquero at Hologic, another professional we met back in April. Irene is the Process Engineering Manager and one of only two women working in the operations department in Costa Rica. She, along with Cecilla Monge, the Production Manager, presented us with a quick overview of the company then a tour of the facility. They have two large clean rooms dedicated to their two main product lines, GSS gynecological products and IBS, breast care products. Both are ISO 7 and ISO 8 certified.
Upon leaving both facilities, we now have a greater understanding of the Costa Rican culture on both the business and personal level along with what it takes to do business in this country. Our hosts provided us with refreshments and a photo op upon our departure.
Today we visited Hologic Surgical Products where they produce medical equipment like Boston Scientific. They produce equipment that help doctors treat women that have breast cancer. It was the first time we have met female Costa Rican business people.
Other than that, I’m looking forward to going home this Saturday, I miss my bed and driving. It’s been getting expensive eating out as well so hopefully I can start finding some cheaper alternatives. I tried Subway today and it was very comparable to what I would get at home so I was happy.
The past 2 days have been great. I went ziplining which was scary but really fun. It was also a lot of walking between some of the platforms which was a good workout. The weather was pleasant while we were there, and we met lots of different tourists from different colleges, different programs, and from all sorts of places. At first braking on the zipline was difficult but after the first few cables we got used to it. There was lots of cute little dogs in Monteverde as well. People stayed out late because the town felt safe and there was one place, the Treehouse Café that had live music. All in all it was a great birthday.
Today we had another neat experience looking at colonoscopy equipment at Boston Scientific. It made me realize how long people’s intestines are. I hope I never have to get a colonoscopy. The building was really nice and our hosts were very hospitable.
Today we left the beautiful, picturesque town of Monteverde and stopped for lunch and souvenirs after waiting for the road to open after construction. We then went to a presentation at Boston Scientific which was very interesting. After that we traveled back to our first hotel in San Jose. But let’s talk about yesterday.
Yesterday we had a free day in Monteverde so a lot of our group went horseback riding in the morning, and most went zip lining in the afternoon as well. One of the other girls and I walked around the town in the morning while the others were out horseback riding. We did some souvenir shopping and got lunch (I got a chicken empanada and a small Coca Cola— it only cost 1500 colones, roughly $2.70, and it was delicious. The lady even complimented me on my Spanish, which made me feel awesome). Then we regrouped at the hotel to go zip lining.
We went to Extremo Park, one of the many adventure parks in the area. The guides gave us all a quick lesson on how to position ourselves and how to stop, then we were on our way. We started off on a short zip line, then worked our way up to a longer one where you had to double up (that was only the third zip line). In the middle of the course you rappel down from a platform and land at the area to do the Tarzan swing. For that they harnessed you into/onto the rope swing then pushed you off the platform, then you would swing back and forth like Tarzan. I screamed the entire time. Most of us hit a vine that was near a branch; I was so afraid I was going to hit the branch!
After 13 zip lines (and lots of uphill walking and a final set of stairs that looked like the Great Wall of China), you end up at the 14th and final zip line. This line was 1 kilometer long, and you had the option of going down with another person or doing the Superman. The Superman is exactly what it sounds like— instead of being clipped to the front of the harness, they clipped your back to the cable and had a cable for your feet as well, so you looked like Superman (except you couldn’t put your arms out like him because it would cause too much drag). I opted for the Superman, but I was so nervous about it. Once they had me strapped in, I was shaking waiting to take off. It was so fast, and the views were amazing. I was glad I did it. I’m sore today, but it was totally worth it.
That night we went to dinner to celebrate Anju’s 20th birthday. I had the blackberry pork chop and it was excellent. We went to bed earlier so we could be ready for our long day of travel today. Even after a good night’s sleep, I’m still exhausted! That’s my cue to go to bed. Buenas noches!
We had a nice dinner/birthday celebration for Anju who turned 20 yesterday. Today we got stuck in a constuction zone, but allowed me to become a Professor for 30 minutes to discuss a case involving bribery. Everyone participated and gave great opinions. Awesome! We are now back on the coast for a lunch break. Boy, it is hot! We are off to a visit to Boston Scientific this afternoon on the way to the hotel since the site is located 1 hr this side of San Jose, and we didn’t want to drive into the city just to drive back out. After a rest break, I looked at everyone on the bus, and all eyes were closed! I think everyone got tired out from various activities in Monte Verde over the weekend. Its fun for me to see others picking up more Spanish (communication is a big part of any managers job), and trying to interpret the gestures which people are making.
We are now into the second part of the trip. Three more company visits, then a couple of volcano’s and at least one more dinner together on Friday night!
Heidi has been awesome in handing the logistics for this trip. We’ll be back in the states before we know it!