This day just started out like the perfect day, great sunshine, clear sky and a perfect view of the surrounding green mountains (which are usually covered in clouds). It was the most beautiful morning here in Costa Rica so far, so my spirits were high and I was looking forward to our visit to ICE.

The Instituto Costaricense de Electricidad (ICE) is the (almost monopolistic) Costa Rican provider of electricity and (used to own) the monopoly for telecommunications. We heard an interesting presentation followed by a Q&S session. We encountered various aspects that were really interesting for me and made me think. Costa Rica generates 95% of its energy demand from renewable energy sources, mainly hydropower – which is extremely low on carbon emissions. The global impact of course is close to zero, but it is still a good example of how even less developed countries can be environmentally conscious. We also went into some discussion about the pros and cons of a monopoly. Many us coming from a business background were very skeptical at the beginning. Jorge Mario Montero (a civil engineer from ICE) brought up some arguments though, which made me challenge my previous knowledge. ICE apparently engages a lot in community and environmental work, which they can afford by being state owned. Furthermore they can think in long term investments, where the first returns will only come in 20-25 years. At the end it seem as if ICE is the best company in the world, which goes a bit too far for me, but I guess they are doing quite good.

For lunch we decided on some almost typical local food – Chinese with chopsticks. ;-) It was delicious, even though it didn´t contain any “gallo pinto”.

After the usual rain shower, I spent the rest of the afternoon (after Spanish class and homework) with Daniel, me hermano nuevo, exploring the neighborhood, where we discovered great green places and a vivid street life. The city reveals us more and more great things with time as we learn to see them. Me gusta!  :-)

by Fanny Artner

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