people call this ‘la zona roja’, the red zone. these are some of the worst parts of san josé, the capital of costa rica. this is where drug trade, crime and child prostitution run amok. over the past few years, considerable efforts have been taken by the mayor to improve the situation. but, as is evident, there is still a long way to go. like all other central american countries, costa rica is a new nation. we are still ‘en mantillas’, in diapers, as people say. despite the poverty in infrastructure and order, the natural diversity and values inherent still in most costa ricans, particularly in the rural areas, are what still brings a smile in people’s faces. this reminder is what lets us enjoy life and live it, no matter what. this is why our way of life is embodied in the two simple words that people all over the world learn and take home with them: pura vida.