Robert Parker in Bali

Robert Parker in Bali
blog contributor Robert Parker Surfing Bali

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Road to Retiring in CR-Day 1

Ready to tackle Costa Rica again! Ferry to Paquera
Arrival at the airport was hassle free.  We had pre-printed out our boarding passes and pre- paid the board bag and breezed right through security.  We caught a brew in the bar because who doesn't want to pay $15 for a bottle and one draft?  But as fate would have it, an expat, Mike was there with his completely cool dog.  We got to talking about transporting pets, moving to CR, rents, electricity, etc.  Spirit will allow Emotional Support Animals on board with their owners and this dog was pretty good size.  A letter from a psych saying you need the animal with you, for whatever medical or psychological reason, plus the necessary paperwork from the Dept. Of Ag, and it's a done deal.  Mike was flying in the front row which only has 2 seats and costs more, but hell, I'd do it for Oddrie.   But we also gleaned some cool info regarding living in CR.  Mike was in the middle of a messy US divorce after which he would move permanently to CR where his Tico girlfriend is preggers- thus giving him residency.  I'd place him at 47.  And his CR digs and activities definitely put him at the "Well- Off" status, bordering on luxury.  Just guessing by the amount of Jack and Coke he was putting down at the bar at $10 each. Pura Vida. 

Well, enough with the easy stuff.  Arrival in Costa Rica lacked the pleasure and calm of our last trip. We got in and cleared customs at 2:30 AM and a shuttle took us to Holiday Inn Express since our favored Trapp Family Inn was booked.  Riding along was another couple, also laden with boards, and we were all ready for bed only to be told- after unloading our luggage-  that the Hotel had accidentally overbooked, and 4 rooms that were to be vacated had occupants who wouldn't leave, so we needed to be taken to a Best Western in Escazu.  NOT pleased.  And we were PRE- PAID!  This got us to bed around 4 am and of course derailed our pre arranged car pickup at 8 am. Several calls to Adobe, which is our preferred car rental, and we finally arranged to go back to Holiday Inn and meet a shuttle to get our car at their offices.  Last year's delivery to us at poolside at the Trapp Family Inn was much nicer!  We did get the room reimbursed so that was one free night but the hassle that went with? Priceless.

We paid for a GPS and told the agent we really needed it to get us the fastest not straightest course as the year before it had derailed us at the Pan Am highway from Liberia to San Jose and we ended up on a 4 hour mountain journey, but unfortunately the agent pushed the setting that avoided toll roads so once again we weren't on the spiffy and fast Pan Am.  Off on mountain roads again.  In Palmeras the GPS was sending us literally in circles.  So we started asking people for directions, which was getting us nowhere given our spotty Spanish and their lack of English.  Finally a guy on a nice bike with helmet stopped and spoke decent English.  He said "just follow me and I'll get you on the right road". So he altered his ride to lead us to the right highway.  Costa Ricans seem a little embarrassed by their lack of road signage and therefore usually willing to help. On the way our bike guide stopped in front of a lovely home and said, "This is my home.  Are you in need of a rest room, a drink or internet?  Please mi casa es su casa."  We politely declined as we really wanted to make headway, but talk about nice?

A slushie on the ferry.  What's the flavor?
The only one they had working- Blue.
We never connected with Pan Am 1 but we made it to Puntarenas and the 2:00 ferry, though we'd hoped to get there at the 11 am.  HA!  A pleasant crossing though John beat the living day lights out of me in Cribbage, but there was entertainment when the ferry's janitor put on an impromptu dance show.  It was quite good.  A local Tico woman, Laura, engaged me in conversation giving me a chance to practice Spanish. Ticos are super helpful when people try and learn their language!

Paquera to Santa Teresa is bone jarring but uneventful. We struggled to find our digs a little outside of Playa Hermosa (the one on the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula- there's four Playa Hermosas on the west coasts of CR)) and ended up on Gisele Bundchens dirt  road, asked for some directions from a woman who was not Giselle, and then corrected our travels to locate the place we are staying.  Lincoln and Scarlett are a beautiful English couple who have traveled extensively in SA and settled here. 
She's 6 months pregnant- residency again- and this is where they want to raise a family.  John and Lincoln discussed surfing and he'll join us tomorrow.  Scarlett had some great ideas about local rentals and we will check some of them out. The studio apartment we are staying in on their property is adorable and very posh. Well appointed kitchen, comfy King bed, and shared pool with them.

Manzanillo beach, a fishing village, just north of Playa Hermosa
Dinner down the road in Manzanillo- delicious but not cheap for a Tico spot.  $9 each, $2.25 beers, but great service and a view to die for, being right across the street from the fishing beach.  A tiny supermarket provided the fresh brown eggs, butter, bread, coffee, bottle water and a box of vino tinto, which we discovered to be pretty decent for a couple of wine snobs. 

Back to the apt. for a quick swim under the stars and hopefully a full night sleep.  John is like a race horse who's been penned up for far too long and the setting sun on the swell was about to put him literally champing at the bit to hit the water.    

Pics of the apartment:

1 comment:

  1. I've read your travel adventure in reverse order…good luck on your future CR ventures…you're going to need it…lol