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<< Previous: Costa Rica Pictures | Next: Costa Rica Trip, Day... >>

Costa Rica Trip, Day 1
Friday, 2005 December 2 - 12:41 am
Getting to Costa Rica, and my first day there.

Monday, November 21

The alarm clock goes off at 4:00 AM. Ugh. My flight is at 6:10 AM so I have to be up early. As I'm making my last minute preparations, Amy is making sausages and biscuits for me. "I can't have you going off to a foreign country on an empty stomach", she says. She is so good to me.

We are dreading the nine days we'll have to spend apart. The morning darkness and stillness only serve to intensify the sense of impending doom. It's an awful feeling.

She takes me to the airport and I check in. We sit for a little while outside the security checkpoint, milking every last minute we have with each other. It's really, really difficult. I took this picture to capture our misery.



As it becomes time for me to go, I find that every time I look at her face, I have to run back to her. So I have to make her turn around and start walking the other way. After that, I'm caught up in the hustle and bustle of getting through the security checkpoint, and suddenly I'm alone. The trip has started.

The flight to Miami is bumpy, and the old smelly woman next seated next to me has a very different sense of personal space than I do. But I still catch a little sleep on the way.

In Miami, I have a couple of hours to kill. I call Amy and we chat for a little bit, mostly discussing how miserable we're going to be for the next week. I run into Cassandra, who's also headed to Anna's wedding. At least that gives me someone to talk to, and something to take my mind off Amy.

On the flight from Miami to San José, I am seated next to two women; I think they're a lesbian couple, but I'm not sure. I hear one of the women updating her voice mail message on her cell phone: "This is Sandra D----, I'm going to be out of the office until November 29", etc. etc. For the rest of the flight, I have this song in my head: "Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee, lousy with virginity..."

We arrive at the airport in Costa Rica, and one of the first things I see is a Burger King. Then I see a sign informing me that CHILD PROSTITUTION IS ILLEGAL. Bienvenido a Costa Rica.

When I clear customs, I am surrounded by a barrage of people asking me if I need a taxi. I have private transportation arranged for the first part of my trip, though, and it only takes me a few seconds to find a sign with my name on it. (Actually, my entire trip has been put together by Tatiana, a woman who works for the hotel Docelunas in Playa Jacó... so, many many thanks go to her.)

I go up to the guy with the sign, I point to the sign, I point to myself, and that's all the communication that is required. The private transportation appears to be just some guy and his minivan, but hey, he had a sign with my name on it.

We start driving, heading towards the Arenal volcano area where I'll be spending a couple of days. I call Amy on the way. (International roaming is gonna cost me a bundle on this trip, but it's worth it to be able to stay in touch with my sweetie.)

I notice a lot of people just standing by the side of the road. I eventually figure out that they're waiting for the bus. Well, most of them. Some of them are selling t-shirts, car chargers for cell phones, plantains, beaded necklaces, and/or Sno-Cones.

I see a lot of road signs that say "DESPACIO". From the driver's reaction to this sign, I gather that it means "SWERVE WILDLY". Later I find out that, ironically, despacio means "slow".

There are some stretches of road that are riddled with potholes, and the drive becomes somewhat of an obstacle course. It also becomes a game of "chicken", as sometimes there's only one path through the pothole maze, and cars traveling in both directions want to claim that path. I decide at this point that I'm very glad I didn't decide to rent a car.

We get to my hotel, Montaña de Fuego, at around 3:00 PM. It's really quite a beautiful place.



I'm hungry, so I go to the restaurant to eat. I'm the only one there at that time. I get the plato típico (typical dish), which consists of gallo pinto (rice and beans, a Costa Rican staple), fried plantains, grilled beef, and a little salad. It's fantastic. I would later discover that this dish is also called a casado (which literally means "married"), and it's almost always available on lunch menus in every restaurant.

After that, I just chill out in my room, watching The Family Guy dubbed into Spanish, with English subtitles. I look up the information about the various tours that I've got scheduled for the next day, and I note that my tours are not the hotel-sponsored tours. That gives me a little bit of anxiety because I don't know if the tour company knows where they're supposed to pick me up, or how I'm supposed to contact them if they don't arrive. Have I mentioned that I'm a nervous traveler?

It's about 9:30 PM when I pass out from exhaustion. The first day is over.
Permalink  5 Comment   Bookmark and Share
Posted by Ken in: lifetravel

Comments

Comment #1 from John C (Guest)
2005 Dec 2 - 6:41 am : #
Nice to have you back in the country, and blogging.
Comment #2 from olafandyjon (Guest)
2005 Dec 2 - 8:49 am : #
Awwww...that is such a miserably cute picture...

I mean seriously, that little hotel room with all the greenery in front of it...so cute.
Comment #3 from Crouching Hamster (Guest)
2005 Dec 2 - 10:40 pm : #
I barfed. Twice. (Um, thinking about consuming all those plantains, of course!)
Comment #4 from Crouching Hamster (Guest)
2005 Dec 2 - 10:41 pm : #
Actually, I think you and Amy are about ready to start your own reality TV show.
Comment #5 from Phil (Guest)
2005 Dec 5 - 12:40 am : #
What CH said, both times :-)

Welcome back.

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