Puerto Limón to Guanacaste via San José
Monday morning and ML has headed off to the office to pick up all the paperwork etc that he would need on the other side of the country and as usual nothing happened quickly and it was near 11 am before we headed off for San José where we were staying overnight before heading up to Guanacaste the following day.
We stopped off at the Buffalo Restaurant for what turned out to be lunch as we were later setting off than we had hoped. I had become very familiar with their décor and the surrounding plant life as My Love had Facetimed me from there nearly every day when he had his lunch as they had one of the strongest internet signals around.
The food lived up to ML’s hype and we soon were finished and ready for the drive. Of course we soon hit the road works and were sat for ages waiting for our turn, of course the wait was the opportunity for sellers to wander up and down the highway selling the wares, and these ranged from fruit, drinks, power cables and lottery tickets.
There was so much to see as we got going again, the houses are simpler than those in Vietnam who love to decorate their homes. Most homes are single storey, if you have as many earthquakes in your country as Costa Rica does (see: Reprieve in Moin) you possibly don’t want a number of floors above you. But they are painted some lovely colours, others of course have probably not seen a paint brush for a while.
Obscurely in the middle of nowhere there were a number of reindeer standing at the side of the road ranging from about 25 cm (10 inches) to absolutely enormous. I was so nonplussed by this that I went on the internet to see if I could find anything about them. Apparently they are made from wood shavings which are wrapped around a wooden skeleton and then nylon thread is wound around shaping the reindeer’s body and antlers. No new wood is used or trees felled in their making, branches or fallen trees and end pieces from waste logs are shredded by a chain saw.
We passed a sign for lizards crossing and the most beautiful mass of spider’s web, at least I think that’s what had spun it. By the side of the road was a dead branch and it look as if someone had laid the thinnest layer of white candy floss over the framework of dead twigs. I managed to snatch a couple of photographs in the hope of finding out what insect is responsible for such a beautiful construction.
Of course there was lots and lots of traffic and we ended up following a bright yellow Imperial Beer lorry for most of the journey right into the heart of San José. Before ML returned to Costa Rica he wanted to get a Garmin satnav which apparently has the best and most accurate maps for Costa Rica.
This was its first outing and we had everything crossed as we neared San José as the skies opened and rain of biblical proportions fell rendering the wipers almost useless. The sky had gone dark and so lights were on and were reflecting of the water on the windows and the road. It was hard to see the car in front of us let alone identify roads so we decided to trust the satnav and follow its instructions and it proved to be the right decision as it took us straight to the hotel.
Back where we started from and with a sense of déjà vu.
What a difference a day makes, the following day the sky was a beautiful clear blue and the sun shining we were rested and ready to start the final leg of our journey. This time we kept hitting toll roads, ML had been this way once before so knew to have plenty of change to hand. It toll was a slightly different amount, I think by the time we got to the last toll ML had run out of change and had to use a note. We had a straight run up and other than beautiful scenery to look at it was without hold ups or anything out of the ordinary. In fact there were certain sections of the road and the countryside that could be mistaken for an English country lane.
Finally we saw the sign for the hotel only to discover that little or no english was spoken by the people in reception, but we got by and after being given our key we head off along a series of stone paths to our room.
We are one half of a wooden and brick cabin with a covered patio at the front and a large wooden table and bench set. Typical hotel room with the addition of a fridge and microwave and coffee machine but no kettle ironing board or iron. It had a large bathroom which also contains the wardrobes and an enormous shower, it’s clean, the A/C blasts our cold air, and it’ll do until we can find something more permanent.
What it did have, was a lot of patterns in the curtains and bedding. The curtains were patterned in a series of abstract shapes in varying shades of orange from neon to terracotta, these were joined by the odd square of pale neon green, the curtains were topped by a pelmet of plain emerald green. The sheets were pale blue with a paisley pattern in darker blue, green and a dark beige, these were overlaid with a quilt printed with faux patchwork squares printed with flowers and patterns in similar colours to the sheets. Somebody isn’t afraid of mixing their patterns and colours, not sure at this stage if this is just local to this hotel or a Costa Rican thing.
After some investigation we find 4 glasses but no plates, cups or cutlery so we needed to find some and some drinks etc. There is a restaurant attached to the hotel but we will only use it in the evening, the rest of the time we will fend for ourselves.
The nearest town is about 4 km away so we head off and after driving around for a while find a small supermarket but as it only has a few parking places. We end up circling around for a while, on the fourth circuit we hit lucky as a parking place empties and we head inside. We track down two sets of cutlery, 2 mugs, plastic plates and teaspoons, coffee filters and coffee. We then wander around seeing what we can buy in Costa Rica, turns out much more than we could in Vietnam and we ended up with a few carrier bags containing bread, cheese, ham, crackers, some biscuits, drinks, food storage boxes and a carton of milk.
We headed back, unpacked our goodies and went on a walk around the grounds of the hotel, cameras in hand as it was a riot of flowers, butterflies and birds. Of course there was much more beside these but we didn’t discover these until later in our stay.
We were quite pleased with ourselves at how quickly we were settled. But I must admit neither of us fancy playing round and round the streets every time we wanted to shop for food but a solution was soon at hand, but more of that later.