Saturday, January 7, 2012

Costa Rica

The flight from the USA was totally uneventful. I am glad I packed 2 sandwiches - the flight only had expensive meals, dried out turkey sandwiches. The flight was also late getting in, for the typical reasons - another flight was cancelled so they can squeeze more into ours. Almost everyone on the flight was a gringo going on vacation, like myself. But the weird thing is, once we got to Liberia, they all disappeared into the night. It was only myself and the plane's crew that took the free shuttle to the Hilton. There were swarms of taxi drivers jumping all over the passengers exiting the very tiny airport (it is just a parking lot sized hanger,with just our plane there; we were theonlyreason the place was open). The Hilton was empty but for us.

The customs inspector ( who confiscated the rest of my lunch) taught me how to say Samara correctly. He said you say it like a song. I kept accenting it wrong, and this little singing trick is helpful.

After a decent night sleep, I got up early, to decide my next location. The hilton is a total rip off; one night costs the same as a week at a nice local hotel ( I said hotel, not dorm room hostel). The front desk informed me that the local bus to Nicoya (transfer point to Samara) is just across the street and costs about $2 USD. I was not in the mood to explore Liberia, so sleeping on a bus sounded great. Again, no gringos in sight. I am the only person hanging out at the bus stop at 9 am. I know 300 somegringos arrived last night... Where did they all go? Did the jungle eat them up? I guess they'll took midnight taxis to local beaches. None are on the bus to Nicoya.

The local bus was even cheaper that the hotel stated. It was a local, so many stops in villages, picking up moms and kids mostly. Local city bus - hard seats and heat,but the weather is actually mild, maybe 75f.

In Nicoya I had to use my very poor Spanish to find the bus depo, since this bus did not actually stop there,but circles back to Liberia. Again,in poor spanish, a local taxi driver informed me that I had 8 minutes to wait for the Samara bus. The depo toilets were spartan, but cheap and clean, and western style. (always bring your own TP; of coarse I had mine, I am no noob.)

The bus to Samara was plush - big soft seats. The road was very twisty and turny, up and down small mountains on good paved roads. Half the bus was local teens going to the beach on winter break. As soon as I got off the bus I made a bee line to the info center. That was super smart. Hadn't reserved a room. The Canadian guy who runs it called around town and secured me a great private room at a
beachfront hostel for 25$ a night. The place was perfect, a little casablanca not in any of the brochures, run by a local family. I got the only open room. A couple of exchange students had been following me and tried to get a room there, even cut in front of me. They were told the place was full. Then I stepped up and they knew my first name and walked me to my private room. And when I say on the beach, I mean, I am a few steps away. I can drink my free morning coffee watching the waves.

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