Friendship_bridge_nicoya China is having its way with Costa Rica. A few months ago, at China’s insistence, Costa Rica dumped Taiwan in order to form a new relationship with The Big Guy. Taiwan had been good to Costa Rica, built them a Friendship Bridge, never did anything harmful or even rude. Tough luck. China is a more prestigious trade partner and has tons more money to give to a beggar state. Bye bye Taiwan (in the middle of the night with no warning, muy humillando), Hello China.

The first thing China did was promise to pay for a new soccer stadium for Costa Rica. Say no more: Costa Rica "R" soccer. Everyone is all excited about the new stadium. So excited, in fact, they went to work on it straight away. Not seven months later, the old one is already torn down! Seven months. That’s gotta be a record.

Nothing happens straightaway in Costa Rica. Nothing. They’ve been trying to get a road finished from Puriscal to Jacó for something like 30 years. There’s a list of projects that have been years, decades, in the making. But Costa Rica keeps running out of money for its own projects. China, in the spirit of Friendship, enters bearing an envelope of cash: $60,000,000 in small unmarked bills. That’s only for the stadium, though. Nothing for those unfinished roads or roofs or bridges. Just fútbol!

Ok. Nobody asked me for my opinion. Sanctimony "R" me. Whatever. And they don’t care how we do it up north. We got a good chuckle at this headline:

New National Stadium To Have Only 400 Parking Spaces For 35,000 Fans

The Estadio Ricardo Saprissa stadium, followed by the Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto, home of La Liga, are a perfect example of poor planning of a stadium, especially when it comes to parking, where there only parking is provided by adjoining land owners who offer their porches and lawns for high prices.

The new Estadio Nacional … that will soon rise over the land that housed the old Estadio Nacional for decades, will be no different, as only a few hundred visitors who arrive real early will be able to park their cars in the stadium lot.

The new stadium is expected to hold 35,175 people, but will have room for only 400 vehicles in the parking lot. Continue reading here…

Actually, 400 spaces for 35,000 seats is not so ridiculous in Costa Rica, like it might be in New York. At least two to a car so 17,500 cars max. There probably aren’t 17,500 cars driven by die-hard soccer fans in the country. And, since most people go everywhere with their entire families, you have to figure at least 5 people to a car so we are already down to 7,000 cars, even if every family who went to a game drove.

But at least two thirds of those game-goers aren’t going to drive because at least two thirds of Costa Rica’s population doesn’t drive. So, we are down to 2,300 cars. Just 1,900 parking spaces short. Hardly seems worth mentioning.

What is worth mentioning is the other recent China debacle. The Dalai Lama was supposed to visit Costa Rica. Had his ticket and everything. He was here in 2004. Looks like he liked it!

But China asked Costa Rica to refuse him entry and, to its shame, Costa Rica complied. Adding insult to injury, Arias tried to hide why he did it. China fessed up, though. They don’t care what anyone thinks.

So Costa Rica dumped Taiwan and the Dalai Lama for money and a soccer stadium. A definite fall from grace.

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