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Last weekend we were at Nostrica in Costa Rica and had the opportunity to give a presentation about the Current app. As you already know, the Current App is a client, an access point to the Nostr network. Nostr frees people from platforms and Nostrica celebrates the decentralisation of Nostr.
The Nostrica took place from 19-21 march. After an eventful preparation, the time had come and the feedback on the new Nostr client Current was very good, especially for Nostr beginners.
The bright green letters struck me hard. After a red-eye flight from Washington, DC to San Jose, Costa Rica, I was slowly waking up. We use it every day to greet everyone on Nostr but have never seen it physically in front of my eyes. The words “Pura Vida ” were written above the baggage claim belt where we were waiting for our luggage. It was 4.30 a.m., and my shuttle to Uvita wasn’t leaving until 7 a.m. The airport provided free WiFi. So I was able to connect, kill a couple of hours, and board the shuttle.
SJO to Uvita
I was lucky to be paired with Martti Malmi (Bitcoin OG and iris.to Nostr client developer) and gsovereignty (Host of Nostrovia podcast). We had wonderful conversations about Nostr, our background and expectations at the conference. Despite the fact that we had only met in person, it felt more like old friends catching up and having a good conversation. It was a Nostr jam session throughout the drive that kept us engaged. The drive itself was fine, with some traffic, slow speed roads, and a good view of the ocean for a while. We arrived in Uvita safely after 4 hours to check into our Airbnb and get some much-needed rest.
Uvita is a small beach touristy town with excellent food options and lots of places to pay using lightning and bitcoin. I was amazed by the friendliness of local people, always engaging with a smile and speaking fluent english. Sunny and warm weather was a welcome contrast to my home weather.
Awake Center (Venue and food)
Almost all of my previous conference experiences have taken place at a large conference center in the middle of a city, with a large seating area, long lines for registration, a booth area where random people sell random things, and a large auditorium. This was unique. The road leading up to the center was not paved and we even questioned if we were on the right track or lost. It was like a resort with some makeshift tents and an open area. It gave a warm welcome by instantly picking up our batch and walking down the path to the main stage with round seating and an annex tent in the back for overflow seating.
First session began with the history of Nostr with Ben Arc, Rockstar and Fiatjaf on the phone. I was a little sad that Fiatjaf did not show up in person for the conference. But the conversation was very lively and it was like meeting up with friends and family rather than attending a conference. While in many conferences there will be more crowd outside rather than inside sitting in the conference. Here , more than 80% of the attendees were glued to their chairs and listening/participating in the sessions.
Since I am a vegetarian I was skeptical about the food, but there were lots of vegan options and they were also selling home made energy balls which were delicious. With the warmth of the sun, wind cooling us down, it was a great unconference experience that I never experienced before.
There were many interesting and very valuable sessions and they were grouped by Nostr clients, relays, Micro Apps and non technical discussions. Every speaker had excellent knowledge of what they were talking about and was informative and beneficial to the participants.
Walker and Carla (Crypto couple) did an excellent job in MCing sessions and kept the crowd engaged.
Sessions I liked the most.
- Nostr clients – Was able to get to know many new clients and developers behind them
- Nostr plebs – Derek Ross
- Panel sessions on spam, relays, NIPs, NIP IRL
- Closing Q&A
- Feedback with Organizers.
All of them are recorded and available on youtube. I am planning to rerun all of them on the weekend to catch up on some sessions I missed.
Happy Hour and after party
On day 2 evening before the sessions ended, the Current team invited everyone for a Happy hour at the nearby beer garden. Lots of people showed up to the happy hour to continue the conversation and enjoy some food and beers. The happy hour went till 9PM and few in the crowd were planning to keep it going. I called it a day and went back.
On Day 3, I attended a happy hour hosted by Hard Yaka and the nos.social team. It was very lively and I met some great people and had some wonderful conversations. What I did not realize is that there are no Uber services available and if you need a taxi you need to call a driver who can speak english. After waiting for an hour and a half I was able to get a taxi and get back to Airbnb safely.
It was certainly exciting, exhausting, and full of new ideas, conversations, and people to meet. I need the weekend to go over everything in my head and watch some YouTube sessions. As I previously stated, it was more like meeting friends and family than attending a conference. Every conversation, smile, and good wish was genuine. I was able to put my face to my Nostr account, as well as many others…! This conference was special and remembering this will always bring a smile to my face. Now that I’m back home, I’m looking forward to engaging with the people I met and dreaming about Nostrica 2024.