Saturday, February 18, 2017

Costa Rica Trip Day 3 - Please Do Not Feed The Monkeys?

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

Woke up to a stark reality everyone has warned us about in Costa Rica. No electricity. I was having a nightmare that I was dying, I could not breathe, and in my dream I fought to take a breath yet could not. I tried to scream, could not, pounding on the windows. Just as I was dying in my dream I woke up and discovered that my VPAP machine had stopped working because the power was out.

The vegan-pushing doctors are still here - 3 of which have already lectured me that giving up all dairy and meat would cure my asthma. Pshaw, asthma since birth is not curable, no matter what your diet is. Though I might try a month or two as a vegan if I thought it might help. Didn't the last few times I tried it.

Today is not the day for that to happen - had a delicious typical Tico breakfast - rice, beans, sausage, locally made cheese, fried plantains, 3 fried eggs, bread and 4 types of fresh fruit. Most important, plentiful Costa Rican coffee. I could not eat the entire meal!

We followed breakfast with a swim in the pool here nearly on top of the mountain, swimming long high up. Views from the pool deck.

After we said our goodbyes to our friends at the Green Lagoon we drove into nearby La Fortuna to a contact we made on our last trip. We bought some pretty crazy handmade pipes and wooden carvings that people loved. After all the feedback we got Jim decided we should start doing imports from Costa Rica into the US. We struck a deal with this wonderful artisan we met last time. Boy, did I buy a LOT of things!

Arenal Volcano seen driving away from La Fortuna.

Once we'd melted the credit card buying samples for Jim's new business idea we started out towards the beaches of Tamarindo, wending around on those winding roads along the shores of Lake Arenal. Some views of the lake.

We hadn't gone more than ten miles through the narrow rain forest road when we came to a very curious sign. It showed a human hand holding something handing it down to small figure of a monkey. The sign had the universal markings for 'Do Not', a circle with a slash through the picture. We laughed over the sign and asked each other if random monkey feeding was really a thing around here.

I kid you not, we had gone perhaps a few hundred feet past the sign around a curve and saw that all traffic was stopped, because, drum roll please, people were feeding begging monkeys by the said of the road. Sadly I had nothing to feed the monkeys because Jim would not share his smuggled in and rapidly melting Little Debbie Nutty Buddy bars with the monkeys.

Here's the stopped traffic being mugged by monkeys.

..and the monkeys.

ETA: that I realize after editing the photos that this one is actually a white nosed Coati not a monkey that was hanging on the side of the road by the monkey feeding spot. 

The rest of the drive was rather anti-climatic after seeing the monkeys. Shortly after we left the lake area we got on one of the few large modern major highways in Costa Rica and did the rest of the drive quickly. That is when the GPS was not giving us the wrong directions!

Once we hit Liberia before sunset Jim saw something he could not resist, to go with those Nutty Buddys of his - The Casa De Whopper - Burger King. Yes, we flew to Costa Rica and my husband had to have a Whopper. Burger King in the CR is identical to the ones in the US in most ways. Unnerving. Not my dinner choice but Jim could not resist!

Once we left Liberia it was up and down and winding around mountains all the way until we reached Huacas, not far from Tamarindo. I could not get GPS to recognize our hotel or the address so I programmed it to a nearby better known hotel.

The hotel looked acceptable in the photos on, but when we pulled into the parking lot we were in for a huge set of surprises. First, the hotel had a gully in front of the parking lot you must traverse to get there, I rammed the car bumper down in the gully and did about $250 bucks worth of damage the insurance didn't cover. Second, it was not a hotel, but a surfers hostel. Third, that deluxe room I booked with all the amenities and air conditioning? Nope, they said I had a reservation for the smallest room with no extras and no air. Fourth, and the most horrible/important - I went straight into a prolonged asthma attack the second we got out of the car.

We were able to upgrade the room to a larger one with air conditioning and a refrigerator, so that was good. I lay down and medicated while Jim brought all the bags in. The hostel was clean, but it was a very basic place, no hot water, you're issued a towel and a sliver of soap. But it turns out you really do not need hot water at the hot beach. Nothing has ever felt as good as the icy shower I took that night. Laying down in the cool of my air conditioned room trying to breathe was how we spent our first night at the beach.

Here's our room. Keep in mind it's the fanciest one in the entire place.

I guess any port in a storm. This is exactly the kind of cheap beach hostel I used to stay in my surfing days long ago. This place was filled with a pile of twenty something surfers. Oh to be young again! I went to bed, Jim went out to mini golf at a place owned by some Canadians he wanted to talk to.

The young man who manages the hostel, the attached surf shop and books the surf lessons was a nice smiling young man with long beautiful dreadlocks named Armando. He asked me about Trump and I explained I didn't vote for him and thought that many of my fellow citizens had lost their damn minds. Armando told me a long story about his one trip to America, he flew into Panama City Beach, Florida, a place I am oh so familiar with, before being picked up by customs. He didn't realize he was being set up to be a mule to carry 15K dollars into the country, he thought he was transporting a package for a friend. Real life crazy stories. I had to point out to him that there's now a reality television show on in the states that films busts of guys bringing cash or drugs in.

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