Thursday, February 18, 2010

Se Vende

Costa Rica is genuinely a tourist country.

On every road, between San Jose and Fortuna and Monteverde and Uvita, you're hit with the fact that there's lots of property for sale, lots of hotels, hostels and apartacados for rent...

Yesterday, I walked all over town looking for a place where I could find a needle and thread because the strap to my sandal ripped off. I looked in three supermarchados and walked into a tourist agency to find out if they know where there might be a shoemaker. The young man said he was not aware of one and looked at my feet and asked me, "Are those Keen shoes?"

Back at the hostel, there is a Chilean girl who says she has been traveling for six (6) years; she claims it's an addiction. She makes jewelry and sells it wherever she goes. I ask her if she has a needle and thread and she gives me a needle and we unravel some cotton thread. I ask her for a scissors. It takes an inordinate amount of time working the needle through the leather and when she notices, she finds her pliers and hands them to me. After I finish, we go out together to an Internet place. They're cheap here at 450 colones per hour. She gets up and goes to the bathroom but doesn't return...

Monday morning, early (6:15 a.m.), I walk to the bus terminal from Gringo Pete's Too to catch the bus to San Jose and I run into Fernando, the same guy who traveled to Fortuna with me from the hotel in San Jose, who's going to return to Nicaragua as his vacation is over. The bus is a local and takes 4 hours to return to San Jose with a changeover at San Carlos. The bus is packed full. I asked what he did in Fortuna and he says that he just stayed in town... When we arrive near San Jose, the bus makes a stop at the airport, so I turn around and tell him maybe he should get off here and excitedly, he says "You are right! Good luck on your trip!"

I arrive in San Jose and catch a cab to the MUSOC terminal where I am going to board the bus for San Isidro. I get there at 10:45 a.m. and run in and purchase my ticket. I only have a few moments to try to call my friend Tom in Uvita to let him know that I will be on the 11:00 a.m. bus, but I drop 150 colones in the slot and get no response, so I turn to a girl on the street and she says she doesn't understand English but asks where I want to call. I immediately respond "Uvita" and she pulls out her cell phone and punches in Tom's number and I breathlessly tell him I'm gonna be on the bus to San Isidro if I don't miss it.

After I hang up and thank the girl for her infinite kindness, I run back over to the bus terminal and race to the toilet, handing the lady the coin for the toilet and rush into the banos. I guess I didn't notice until afterward that it was the "caballeros" that I had run into!

The buses on the MUSOC line are all made by Mercedes Benz. This bus was brand new, elevated and very clean and uncrowded. It even made a banos stop! The buses ride up and down the mountain surprisingly slow and supposedly carefully because this is a very dangerous road, with hairpin turns and fog at different sections. These buses have thermometers that record the temperature whenever it changes. On this trip the temperature ranges from 37 degrees C. down to 17 degrees.

I meet Tom in San Isidro. It's been 34 years since we've seen each other. Whoa!