Costa Rica is a bit of a blur.Not only because this blog is so far behind, but also because I got out of there as soon as I could.
It all started when I bade farewell to my friends of five days in Panama. Everyone who I’d arranged to travel with couldn’t get out of bed early enough to make the boat. So I set off alone, had about 6 minutes of lone travel before I met four Norwegian guys who were heading to the same hostel in the same spot, in Puerto Viejo.
Puerto Viejo is a little beach town on the Carribbean side of Costa Rica. Everyone I’d met in Bocas Del Toro said I had to check it out. It’s only two hours from Bocas, if you take a boat through the swamp and taxis the rest of the way.
Just as I was starting to like this new place I bumped into the couple whose room I charged into in Panama. After some quick thinking I decided the best thing to do would be to disguise myself by getting dreadlocks. I went for a 13km cycle along what Lonely Planet called a ‘mostly paved road’. I’m guessing the LP people haven’t seen that road in quite a while.Had quite a few close calls riding over those potholes. I met a lady with a hairdresser sign outside her house. She invited me into her home and said that for a $100 she could give me hair extensions and dreadlock it all. She said she could make me look just like Bob Marley. I disappointed her by saying that although I do like his music, looks-wise, he wouldn’t be my idol. So I went with the easier and cheaper dreadlocking of the hair I had already grown myself. 3 hours and an incredible amount of pain later, I felt well disguised from the scary Spanish couple.
Early the next morning I felt I’d had enough of Puerto Viejo and so headed off to find a bus to some place else. I arrived at the bus stop just in time and realized my all time favourite runner shoes were still neatly arranged below my dorm bed. I begged the local baker to mind my stuff while I took off across town, into the little jungle path by the beach to retrieve my shoes. I got back to the bus stop in time to catch the next bus. The two doors, front and back ones opened, and seeing as the back one was right in front of me, I climbed in. Seems Mr. Busdriver didn’t see the sunburnt traveller hobbling on under the weight of her backpack. The doors closed and then all the back rows almost wet themselves when they saw me inside the bus and my bag (which was still on my back) outside. Throught the pain of being sqeezed up against the door I managed to scream loud enough to get them to open the doors again so my luggage and I could both get on.
Next stop was Puerto Limon. I didn´t want to stay there very long because my travel book said every affordable hotel is usually only used by dock workers and the prostitutes they bring there. So I only planned a quick stay and then was going to get a boat to Tortugeuro. But being my unlucky week that didn´t happen. Credit card got swallowed. I was given out to by the other people in the cash machine queue when I wouldn´t listen to their pleas for me to go away and let them get money. I was convinced I could get the little thing out again on my own. Two hours later I did get it back, but now a bank in Costa Rica has a photocopy of the front and back of my credit card, along with my signature!
So after that excitement, I missed the boat to Tortugeuro, and ended up catching the next bus to San Jose. As with most capital cities it has lots of nice buildings. Some good concrete they have there in Costa Rica. The highlight of those few days was the pancake breakfast every morning in the hostel!
Last stop on my clumsy trip of CR was Los Chiles, I only went there because of the boat trip to Nicaragua I´d heard about. Arriving in Los Chiles was the first time I´d arrived anywhere on my own at night, so the minute the bus pulled up I hopped off to keep pace with the other arrivals. We all marched towards the town centre together and a guy I´d made polite conversation with on the bus who noted how light I was travelling. With that I shot off, back in the direction of the bus, my open money belt making the locals instantly love me. I didn´t care, I needed my stuff!
When I finally got myself together and calmed down I made the walk to the central of the town on my own! There was a mini carnival going on but the rides didn´t seem very safe so I kept going.
After quite a bit of wandering around some policemen pointed me in the direction of somewhere I could rest. I seemed to be the only tourist in town and so had the choice of rooms. I picked the one with the least mould on the walls, and furthest from the toilets.
In the middle of the night I unfortunately had to go to the bathroom. You´d understand why I say unfortunately if you´d seen them. The drunken hotel owner asked what time it was and as it was midnight I answered ´Doce´. So then the logical thing of course was to presume my name was doce. He took off after me down the hall calling my ´name´ and I decided to quicken pace and flee to my room in front of him. He seemed to forget about me pretty quick and once again the rats were my only companions.
Next morning I realized the room I stayed in had massive holes on the metal mesh that was supposed to substitute for a window. It was an interesting evening, but the minute the sun started moving our direction I was up and out of there, very much ready for country number No. 6.
Puerto Viejo. Nice, but not quite paradise.
October 6th and it´s already Christmas in Costa Rica
Costa Rica does good coffee! By good it means it looks good, tastes as horrible as any coffee.
See? I´m completely unrecognisable with the hair!
Another thing CR does well, steaming volcanoes!
Tags: Costa Rica