1.03.2010

Greetings From Costa Rica

  • What a beating. But how green and beautiful.
  • Left on Friday. Everything went very well up until the moment I checked into the hotel. The problem? I lost my last credit/debit card at a restaurant in Terminal D in DFW. For about 10 seconds, I had a huge panic attack that I was stuck in a foreign country and $90 cash. My genius back up plan is in action. Fortunately, most of the trip is pre-paid.
  • That plan better work. I'm down to $5.00.
  • Am I losing stuff like nobody's business.
  • Stayed the first two days in downtown San Jose. Nice? Not so much. The main street is shut off to pedestrian traffic to make it tourist friendly but it looks like a New York City street -- not a good one.
  • The first night we tried to find dinner at 10:30 p.m. but the whole city is basically shut down. There was a taxi that was pretty much assigned to the hotel and the driver was very friendly as we spoke in the lobby. He said he would drop us off at nearby restaurant, talk to the owner about calling him when we were ready to come back, and refused payment for the trip saying we could pay him once he returned.
  • One hour later he couldn't be reached by the phone.
  • I learned that if you tip a Costa Rican waiter 25% he will go stand in the street for four minutes to hail a cab for you. Incredible.
  • I woke up for Day Two, which was a Saturday, and hit that main street at 7:30 a.m. for my generic walking around. It was packed. But not with tourists -- folks going to work.
  • Does it mean I look like a tourist if someone immediately offers me a map?
  • The second day was a planned trip to the Arenal Volcano and Baldi Hot Springs. The driver showed up at the hotel at 8:00 although I thought he was to arrive at at 10:00. That was not-a-good. A mad scramble ensued.
  • That trip which would eventually take two hours to return would take six hours to get there. The six hours included a great lunch and a wonderful stop at a church made out of steel (yep) but also included an hour stop at the cheapest souvenir shop in the history of ever. I almost didn't get out of the van in protest. I thought the stop would never end. Ever.
  • The great outdoor restaurant for lunch had a TV going. It was showing Hannah Montana.
  • Oddest moment: During that hour of tourist hell at the souvenir shop, three girls from our van got in a car with a guy I had not seen and then left for 15 minutes. What the heck was that about?
  • I've heard Dionne Warwick's "That's What Friends Are For" twice. Once at the late night restaurant and once when our volcano tour guide started singing it.
  • One hour into the tour (I know I'm jumping around but I'm typing this at 1:30 a.m.), the guide announces that "If the top of the volcano can't be seen due to the clouds, which is probable, we won't even try to see it." Say what? This is a volcano tour!
  • We didn't get to see an erupting volcano.
  • The "hot springs", which is allegedly heated by the volcano, was a tad too commercial. There were about six different pools, all beautifully designed, but shouldn't it be "natural" bodies of water?
  • Our group was composed of four young girls from Argentina, two couples from Guatemala, and a couple from Mexico City. I felt very international (but also stupid since they were all bilingual).
  • On the way back, someone in authority made a decision to play a stand up Spanish speaking comic routine over the vans speakers. Loudly. And with a bad laugh track.
  • Strangest moment: As we got back to San Jose, I noticed the street seemed to have quite a few hookers on the corner. We drive by a hot one in a sparkling white dress, but the tour guide announces, "She's really a man." And he was serious. The van almost tumped over as everyone jumped back to take a second look.
  • Off to Puerto Veijo tomorrow. This is gonna be different. Developing . . .

22 comments:

Denney Crane said...

I highly recommend a special drink that will help make those trying vacation days more enjoyable.

They serve the best "pain killers" in the world!!!

Have one or six...

Anonymous said...

So, how much did you pay for the hooker without cash?

Anonymous said...

You can always tell a person that is independently wealth. They don't care enough to make sure they don't lose anything and they push utopia ideas of socialism (liberal) that don't work for the every day man.

Ali said...

Thanks for your interesting post. I'm sorry to hear that you are still losing things. Be careful while you are there and don't lose your passport. We don't want you to get stuck over there.

Anonymous said...

Barry,
Beginning to have a strange feeling that dementia is beginning to set in OR you are just careless with your credit/debit cards.
Using Legaleeze Logic........
1.are you this careless with your court briefs?
2.do you have a high conviction rate?
3.do you remember to bill your clients?
4.do you use your GPS to get to work?
how long has this been going on?......never mind......you probably won't remember

guinjames said...

Maybe you can't be trusted with credit cards.
I've been to Costa Rica, beautiful place. Warning- prostitution is legal in Costa Rica, but pimping isn't.

Headnurse said...

Barry, be a man, rent a Jeep and take to seeing Costa Rica. My husband and I have been 4 times - must say our favorite place is Drake's Bay. You have to take a water taxi to get there and the area is powered with generators. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Don't spank the monkeys.

Anonymous said...

According to HGTV, lots of USA folks MOVING to Costa Rica because of its laid back atmosphere and lower cost of living. You looking for a new pad there too? lol!

Anonymous said...

"We drive by a hot one in a sparkling white dress"

Freudian, Barry?

Sandrabag said...

I think "tumped" is a very underused word.

Anonymous said...

You make my day, Mr. Green :)

Anonymous said...

It's a man, baby!
Typically, a man's index finger is shorter than his ring finger. Keep that in mind next time you just happen to "notice" one on the street

The girls jumping into a car with a stranger and disappearing for 15 minutes sounds very suspicious

Mostly cloudy with a chance of...volcano?


Sounds great - have fun!

Anonymous said...

I worked in San Jose for a spell at the brewery. Stayed near downtown. Crowded city but nicer than Mexico. Since I was working with some consultants who lived there getting around was easier and they knew where to go for good food.

Judy said...

Loving the posts and video's. Ya'll have fun!

Anonymous said...

At least you took a tour bus to Arenal, when I went we rented a car in San Jose and drove to Baldi because we were staying there for a few days. All I can say is Scary. Took us almost 5 hours and it was pitch black dark out and the only way we knew we were going the right way was that about every hour we would see a sign with a volcano on it.

Anonymous said...

Barry,

Ask all of your faithful followers to send you $1. You'd be loaded and you could bring us all back a man-hooker.

wordkyle said...

That main street shut off to pedestrian traffic probably makes it hard for anyone without a car to get anywhere. Are Costa Ricans riding to work on Segways?

Anonymous said...

Don't know which volcano you visited, but Arenal must be viewed at night. Then you can see bus-sized glowing rocks tumbling down its flanks. Can't see that in the day time.
Note: Costa Rica is a civilized place. Check out their medical plan and services and compare it to ours. We don't stack up very well.

RPM said...

You're going to have to start wearing your debit card on a shoestring around your neck.

If you get in a bind there's always Western Union.

Anonymous said...

On December 21 2012 the world will TUMP over.

Anonymous said...

Yeah...and people in the US are flocking to Costa Rica for medical treatments....can't hardly get in the airport for the heart patients and cancer patients....not!

Mediocre medical care for everyone!!!