Friday, May 16, 2008

Pura Vida!

DH and I worked from home today. Of course, work-related emergencies erupted this week mercilessly, up to the point of departure, but we plodded on like troopers till 12 pm on Friday, after which, we physically checked out (I had mentally checked out way before!)

No vacation is without last-minute inconveniences. I had $500 cash on me, but DH wanted to withdraw more just in case. He of course, put this off till the last minute. He had booked a cab to drop us off at the airport. Predictably, the cabbie was running late and instead of letting us know this, he kept dangling the carrot - oh, only 5 minutes away, no 3 minutes away - in fact, just look out your window, there I am - and a good 45 minutes after he was supposed to arrive, was panicked and took our car instead. Of course, forget the ATM and race to Newark airport!

Finally, just an hour before departure, we were racing to the gate to board Continental Flight 1796, to San Jose, Costa Rica. On the flight, we sat next to Mario, a Costa Rican by birth, who had lived in the US for 30 years. Time flew by in conversation with Mario, a lively, cheerful, entertaining fella, as he regaled us with tales of his childhood, filled with moonshine, sumptuous farm meals and good old farm days.

At Juan Santamaria International Airport (the airport was named after a drummer boy, who became a war hero by chance - trivia I picked up from my book on Costa Rica), we cleared customs without delay and boarded a cab to the Hemingway Inn. As the orange cab pulled out of the airport, we marveled at the well-laid out highway, orderly traffic and meticulous traffic signs. We turned into several narrow streets before we reached Barrio Amin. Hemingway Inn, a converted Spanish villa, was located on this street. After checking in, we had dinner at the Garden, a restaurant cum bar cum ummm...night entertainment place. A seductively-clad waitress served us club sandwiches and Fanta (fancy that!). Of course, we stuck out like sore thumbs, so immediately after dinner, we left.

We spent our first night in Costa Rica, kept awake by an unhappy howling dog.

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