Thursday, June 19, 2008

Costa Rica - Part 1

We’re finally back in NC after a loooong travel day yesterday. But I want to back up and try to get everything down in order, so first things first! We left RDU around 7pm last Wednesday night, on a short flight to Orlando. Marty and I left the house disheveled and stressed, trying to tie up the loose ends necessary when one leaves the country and will be almost completely out of pocket for a week. Our friend and traveling partner, Bill, picked us up in Orlando and then we headed into downtown to get a quick drink. Of course, it isn’t a night out in Orlando unless you are hassled by a few bums, and that was taken care of rather quickly after having a seat at The Crooked Bayou. Off to bed later (too late, really) as we had a 6am flight out of Orlando in the morning. Our wake up time came quick and the three of us made our way back to the airport. We had a short flight to Miami where we then connected to the 2.5 hour flight into San Jose, Costa Rica. FYI, San Jose has a much nicer airport than Miami International. I slept for most of the flight into San Jose, but was wide awake for our 400-500 foot unexpected drop. I like roller coasters, but I don’t like feeling like I’m on one when I’m being hurtled through the air in a very heavy metallic tube. The storm cell that caused our frightening ride was not on the radar and the pilots were rather sheepish as we de-planed. The poor flight attendants were wiping coke and other beverages off the ceiling.

Bill has been to Costa Rica several times, so it was nice to have a little tour guide who more or less knew his way around. In his own words, he can speak Spanish on level with a 4 year old, but as we all agreed, you can communicate with a 4 year old, so we were set. Marty and I aren’t bad – we can interject a Spanish word here and there. After going through customs and making our way outside of the International airport, we were greeted with all sorts of Costa Ricans (Tico’s) yelling “Taxi! Taxi! – Going to Samsa? Taxi!” Samsa was the domestic airport to which we were headed to next. Luckily, Bill already knew their scam because Samsa was LITERALLY a 4 minute walk. For sure these taxi’s would give us a short trip around San Jose before depositing us a mere 200 yards away from where we started. The domestic airport was much smaller and more open air. We dined on Church’s chicken before waiting for our next flight into Tambor. This flight was on a small plane that looked more like a toy. You had to duck to walk down the aisle, and Bill had the pleasure of sitting with a strange character that smelled and had sores all over his legs. Also, before boarding the plane, they not only weighed your checked baggage, but also YOU while you held your carry-on. It’s all very scientific, you know. This flight was fun – it was almost like a tourist plane that you take up to view the pretty lands. We touched down 25 minutes later and had a taxi waiting for us to drive us into Malpais. The road was paved until we got to Cobano and then from the rest of our time we were on rough, dirt roads with huge potholes (and sometimes with streams running through them). We were dropped off at our hotel, changed and then walked out onto the road at the exact time our friends Jamie & Judy (and their friends Kim & Adam) drove by. Perfect timing.

Our trip over was easy, much easier than their’s we soon found out! Their flight had been delayed the day before getting out of Miami which made them just barely miss their puddle jumper flight into Tambor. If you miss that flight you now have two options – take a taxi to the ferry and take the ferry over, or take a taxi all the way in (6 hours total drive time). They took a taxi to the ferry, only to find out they had missed the ferry by 20 minutes. They then had to wait 2 hours or so to get a taxi to come get them and drive them into Malpais. During this time they had some excitement with a local who wanted to buy their football and then tried to get in their cab (he did get in, and sat there for 30 minutes) in the pouring rain while misunderstood English and Spanish was being exchanged. After awhile things were sorted out and they were safely in Malpais drinking Imperials. Their other friends also missed their flight and arrived much later than planned which had everyone stressed for awhile. Marty, Bill and I had no idea how easy our connections had been!

We had dinner and drinks and it started our week of vacation in Costa Rica. I caught up on my reading while I was down there – I really love to read but busy schedules don’t always allow for it, but I did finish a funny and fascinating book called Stiff, which is about the life of cadavers, and I’m almost halfway through the epic book The Pillars of the Earth. The nice porch outside out room with a hammock and table and chairs became a prime spot for the three of us to hang out, talk, and read. Our room was nice enough – no ac which I was worried about, but it had great ventilation and plenty of fans so surprisingly I not only slept with a sheet but sometimes even a blanket at night! It helped that almost every night a good rain would come in and help cool things off. Our place also had a pool which was nice to dip into during the hot afternoons. You aren’t supposed to put toilet paper in the toilet which was a hard one to get used to! And although I tried hard, I could not manage to get Marty and Bill to put the toilet seat down on a regular basis. Aw well, I’ve been trying with Marty for a very long time. I think it’s his last stand of independence or something.

Okay, that’s enough for now. I’ll write more tomorrow about the rest of our trip. Pictures below and more to come!

Our mini plane into Tambor.

This was the airport in Tambor!!

Runway into the ocean

Scenes from the plane

Marty lounging in the hammock

Entrance into our little cabana/room

Chicken place we ate at. It was the shit.

Cute little crab

1 comment:

Beth said...

Hey Bri!! Glad you had such a great time. Pictures look great - looks like a beautiful place!!