Costa Rican time. Where a bus ride that should have taken 6 hours took 9.
Our bus driver moonlights as a high-speed car-racer-auditioning-for-any-action-movies-that-requires-an-unncessary-amount-of-speed. In Costa Rica, buses play chicken with other vehicles. They get to an impass or a bridge and charge full speed ahead until one of them stops. And yes, this all done while traversing up and down mountains and being inches away from the cliff side.
I want to be kidding. I am not. Couple that with the feeling of dread as I had forgotten my strawberries at the bus station and I was not a happy bus passenger. Also, to be honest, I had started to get heat-sick and I was having trouble eating. Awww memories.
I mean, ok the views were nice. The food I had at the rest stops was nice. But did it have to be terrifying?
By the time we reached Puerto Viejo, it was dark and our hostel that we had booked on HostelWorld was sketchy as hell. Like, beyond sketchy. There were no walls. The bathroom fixtures were rusty. There was only one bedroom and two creepy guys sitting outside. The bathroom stood on its own and was a few feets from our room. Certainly not the attached bathroom, private room we had been sold on. We quickly left, forgoing our 3 dollar deposit and found another place called Casa Verde, This place was beautiful! It was 20$ a night each. The room was nice and cool and the pool was stunning. The location was great. It was private. It was next to the bike rental place. The woman who ran the place was just a splendid host and encouraged my spanish-speaking skills. She was genuinely impressed that I was trying to communicate with her in Spanish. They had two beautiful black labrador puppies that reminded me of my Kylie.
The place was heaven.
The balcony – that was our hammock.
And thank goodness. As a cold-blooded Canadian, I love winter. I love snow. I don’t mind cold. I am not a heat person. I don’t deal with it. And it got close to 50 degrees while we were there. I spent an entire day in the pool and only went out at night. It was just too hot for me. I had heat stroke. I couldn’t eat. It was awful.
The day after we got there, we rented bicycles and cycled to Manzanillo. There was no one else on the beach with us.
There were these wonderful boats. I couldn’t wait to put my feet into the ocean, my first time in the Carribean sea. We spent a few lazy hours, just walking through the trees and breathing in the salt-water air. One could get used to this. And that one would not be me. The heat was unbearable and the sunburn I got after? Brutal.
We cycled back, stopping by another beach and playing in the ocean. Across the ocean was a taco place with 1$ beers. The owner was a guy who came to Puerto Viejo four years ago and kept missing his flight home. I totally get that. But not really. The tacos were fantastic.
A quick shower and change, and a jaunt into the city led us to a bar giving out free salsa lessons. As we were walking around, we bumped into the French couple we had met in San José. They had wisely chosen to rent a ar. Now, I know this may be shocking, but I am severely uncoordinated. My hips can’t seem to grasp the circular motion that is required from latin dance. My legs feel too long to manage in a way that looks sexy and purposeful. My arms – you know, let’s skip this part. Suffice to say, I did not learn how to salsa. The night ended with a very good sleep.
After making arrangements in town, the next day brought us to venture back to the centre of the country to head to Arenal. And thankfully, it was one of the only days that we had bad weather and we were sitting in an air-conditioned van. Oh and I had my first introduction to a new love – empanadas!