We got up to clouds of volcanic ash looming over the mountains before trickling into the open windows, and had breakfast with Carlos and Marvin, again Tico food of beans, rice, plantains but with scrambled eggs and local sausage. The food everywhere here is amazing, so fresh without anything coming prepackaged or as a prepared food. The fruit! ahhhhhhhh.. but more on that later.
Jim and I had to get a move on because he had an early morning meeting at a school that teaches English in San Jose, a job interview. Unfortunately by this time we'd already decided that San Jose was off the table as a place to live because of the crazy traffic and how crowded the city is.
Just getting to the school, Idioma, was another driving and GPS nightmare. A quick word about GPS in Costa Rica. Sometimes it works right, and sometimes it runs you in circles, taking you to a very wrong place. It took us wrong. But it worked out because we found a public parking lot, parked and the kind man running the place hailed us a taxi.
It took three hair raising taxi rides costing about two bucks each before we got to Idioma and Jim did his interview, now 35 minutes late due to getting lost. The first cab driver took us to the wrong place. The second guy knew where it was and got us there. During that ride I got quite a laugh over graffiti of penises and angels on nearby walls. Such a weird juxtaposition!
But it was the third ride, back to where we'd parked the car that was typical let's rip off the tourist behavior. We told the guy where we wanted to go and he quoted the price of 2.50 American dollars. We didn't say no even as we knew this was more than the other guys charged. Typically he didn't turn on the meter. I guess if you're going to be taken advantage of as a foreigner by a taxi drive fifty cents is pretty paltry in the scheme of things.
Wish I could have gotten photos of the barrio near downtown San Jose. Tin shacks, dirty deep gutters and characters on the street. Saw one older gentleman with long dreadlocks and missing teeth and that wasn't the odd thing about him. He walked around the center of town wearing his cat around the back of his neck like Mrs. Drysdale of the 'Beverly Hillbillies' wore her mink stole. And the cat seemed perfectly content to be toted around like that!
We left for Arenal right after the interview, bidding the nice guy running the parking lot adieu, leaving him feeding the pigeons. Parking ended up costing something like 50 cents. The road between San Jose and Arenal can best be described as what my daddy used to term 'A drunk contractor following a snake through the woods.' Extreme 'S' turns around the hillsides, plenty of one lane bridges and our tiny economy Hyundai puffing up and down the steep grades.
You know it's never a good sign when your GPS warned you that the next 10 miles is unpaved roads.
We got to the hotel - The Green Lagoon, just in time to discover the other guests are a doctors conference from the US. Doctors, hmmp, and their entitlement issues. I was not looking forward to interacting with them, me the ER runaway. To make it all worse they are all what one of our dear Tico friends termed 'Granola Lickers' - hard core militant Vegans.
I don't care what you eat, or what you don't eat, just please let me alone to make my own food choices no matter how foolish my choices might seem to you. Yes, the hotel actually fed us separately too. While I was there I overheard some of the Spanish speaking staff puzzling over the extreme diet of those doctors.
Shh, don't tell the doctors that Jim and I were drinking on the pool deck mango and rum!
After checking in I went birdwatching. I saw and took video of many different birds, even saw a flock of toucans up close in the wild. The hotel puts out overripe fruit for the birds. Only got one shot of the birds still and it does not show many. I'll explain tomorrow what happened to the photos I was shooting.
We went to dinner at a local restaurant with a friend we'd made on our last trip down here. A nice Mediterranean place just past the bull fighting ring. After much pizza, salad and sangria I sat outside on the hotel terrace to watch the bats dive bomb bugs for their dinner. Going to bed now with the windows open to the raucous songs of the frogs in the rain forest just outside.
Our hotel room at the Green Lagoon. Nicest room of the whole trip.