All Change – Hello Costa Rica

Welcome back if you were a follower of View From A Vietnamese Balcony’ and followed our adventures during our time in rural Vietnam and a very special welcome if you are a new reader. I am a very pleased you have taken the time to start a new adventure with My Love better known as ML and myself.

Following the end of our time in Vietnam we headed back to the UK to catch up with family and friends and wait for the inevitable phone call that would send us off on a new contract. We thought that we may stay in the Far East, hoped for the Middle East again but when all said and done we really didn’t mind where we would be sent. Therefore we were really IMG_7296 (409x640)surprised when the call came and it was Costa Rica. ML has visited projects in South America and in the distant past had worked in the Falkland Islands but Central America was new to us both.

Immediately we headed for the internet to find out the basics and to identify where the project was, it turned out to be on the Caribbean side of the country, visions of white sands, turquoise seas and palm trees sprang to mind. Not sure how accurate the following are but here’s some of what I learnt:

  • Half the population lives in the capital San José
  • The sun rises and sets at roughly the same time every single day due to its proximity to the equator
  • Christopher Columbus visited in 1502
  • They have a basilisk which is a type of lizard that walks on water and is nicknamed ‘Jesus Christ Lizard’
  • It has no army
  • It has 7 active volcanoes
  • An 11 kg (25 lb) nugget of gold was found in 1980, would be prospectors destroyed thousands of acres of National Park in their hunt for more gold
  • For 7 months of the year it rains
  • But most importantly of all Costa Rica is home to sloths

ML was sent an information booklet about the area and the documentation and jabs that we would need. ML was already covered but I saw a number of needles looming large in my future – lucky me. My Love had only a couple of days to pack and head off and I would follow when a house had been found that was suitable for us both. His journey involved 3 flights and a four-hour car journey to get to the project so I waited somewhat impatiently to hear from him.

Apparently the journey from San José to the coast was absolutely spectacular and passes through the Braulio Carrillo National Park which is a huge conservation area.  Apparently 90% of the park is primary forest which means it has not been disturbed and it contains both cloud and rain forest, one active volcano and a number of extinct ones. It sounds absolutely amazing and definitely a place that we will need to explore if possible.

ML hit the ground running and was soon immersed in the project and I set about collecting all of the relevant documentation which needed to be ‘apostilled’- a new word for me, but it just means each document is legalised and certified that it is genuine.

That turned out to be a reasonably easy process, what took the time was finding someone to fill me full of miniscule amounts of toxic diseases so that I wouldn’t catch the real thing. I had to wait three weeks for an injectionsappointment, the clinic only works one day a week and considering after the initial appointment I would need two further visits I didn’t want to have to travel long distances and the next nearest clinic was 60 miles away. I needed Hepatitis A, Rabies and my Typhoid vaccine needed renewing, they tried to convince me that the fact that I would be in transit in Panama meant I should have Yellow Fever as well but I decided against it as the risk was minimal (fingers crossed).

Having given masses of information to the doctor she then terrified me about things hidden in the sand that carried diseases I think it was infected sand flies and the disease was Leishmaniosis, also the risks of the dreaded stomach lurgy. For followers of View From A Vietnamese Balcony, you will remember the trials and tribulations I suffered. I’m hoping for better things from Costa Rica but only time will tell and I am equipped with my friend Loperamide if necessary.

Consequently ML was in Costa Rica for 7 weeks without me and before I was able to travel to him he came home on leave for 3 weeks which was very nice. I was to travel back with him to the Caribbean side but we would be moving to the Pacific side soon after we arrived so that ML could oversee the production of the large stones needed on the project.

Turns out when our tickets came through we were flying via the US so if I’d gone ahead and had the Yellow Fever vaccine it would have been a waste and I would have suffered the possible side effect for nothing and now we needed to apply for an ESTA, my life at present is ruled by bits of paper.

Living in Costa Rica

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