The Costa Rican National Museum is not world winning architecture. It is a renovated Spanish fort, and, for that reason, has little frills. Inside you see thick walls, peer through lookout holes in towers, pass through heavy wooden doors with huge iron hinges and visualize old days of conquest. From our guide, we learn that Spanish dominance in Costa Rica was limited because there wasn’t much gold. The gold that did exist was placer gold from rivers and streams, not the huge deposits mined in Peru or Mexico. There was no Inquisition here and the Costa Rica fight for independence was short. Costa Rican life revolves around weather, nature, rain forests, co-operation, community, family. There is no standing army and the police force doesn’t disappear people.There are over a million students in the free University system, the population is literate,their government provides a safety blanket. One of the exhibits in the fort is an old Spanish jail, where misfits and law breakers, political prisoners, and trouble makers were confined. When you want to hurt someone, you take away freedom of movement, put them in a non-stimulating environment, control the food they eat, when they sleep, who they see. You are always going to need jails but graffiti on the cell walls say you won’t  ever be able to shut people up by locking them up. Even Ancient Rome, powerhouse of the ancient world, couldn’t stop dirty jokes and rude pictures scratched on public bathroom stalls. Hearing just what we want is not always what we need.
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