Saturday, March 11, 2017

Costa Rica Day 8, 9 and 10

Yeah, yeah, I know I'm very late transcribing the rest of my trip notes. Here they are..

January 31, February 1 and 2, 2017

I was still feeling wrung out from the bout of IBS or whatever traveling bug I'd picked up so we didn't do much the next day. We walked on the beach at Dominical before breakfast.

I'm starting to get slightly tired of typical Tico food, even if that's what this hotel is serving us for breakfast and dinner. They did offer us pancakes this morning, which we had instead of rice and beans.

We also started talking to the many artisans at the stalls selling tourist type things at the beach. These are the typical handicrafts, mostly dildos and dope pipes. I have to say pot is everywhere here, I smell people smoking it just about everywhere, asked a few locals and yes, apparently while it is illegal as long as you are not selling it the policia leave you alone.

You get the idea. Not long after walking on the oceanfront and Jim haggling with the artisans while exchanging business cards and contact information Jim just flaked out, passed right out onto that sandy bed in the room. I went outside, taking the time to sit out on the beautiful tables with umbrellas in the courtyard between the rooms so I could take notes on our trip so far.

As I sat there writing in my notebook about our trip a lady looking like she was in her forties came over and started talking to me. I unintentionally made a friend, introverted me. We talked for a few hours in the heat before taking a swim in the hotel pool together. She's newly divorced, struggling with a lot of crazy health problems not too dissimilar to my own, and she's traveling around Costa Rica trying to decide if she's going to relocate there. One very bad marriage, rental income and no kids, I don't blame her. It's beautiful here, much cheaper cost of living here and the weather is fabulous, warm and sunny every day.

I am not mentioning her name for a couple of reasons, mostly for privacy sake. But we really connected and ended up hanging out together for meals and at different points in the day. I was still pretty beat up/worn out by the bout of asthma followed by the stomach troubles at that point, but discovered that the hotel restaurant had some of the oddest flavor smoothies you could imagine. I got a banana-white rice smoothie for my stomach and it killed off whatever was plaguing me.

Jim woke up just in time to walk on the beach again before dinner and then we had dinner with my new friend and some other Americans staying at the same hotel that were taking full immersion Spanish classes down the block at a language school. Then we made a new friend, the hotel's resident gato, a sweet faced kitty that wanted petting all during dinner.

There's not a lot to do after it gets dark here and it gets dark pretty soon around dinner time. Being so close to the equator it's pretty much 12 hours light and 12 hours of darkness. We were still pretty tired and turned in early.

February 1 - Last full day here. After another breakfast and walk on the beach we drove to the next town over Matapalo so Jim could visit a place he found online that he'd wanted to book this leg of the trip with but was full up - Charlie's Jungle House. It's a beautiful place, and we met the owner, his son and a few of the folks that work there and just fell in love with Matapalo. Most beautiful beach and I completely neglected to take any photos or bring my Ipad. There's a large public beach with parking that's deserted and a gaggle of private homes and a few rentals mostly inhabited by Americans right on the beach.

Charlie took us around, introduced us to a couple of people in the area, including a couple that spent three months in their Matapalo home and three or four months back in San Francisco. I was fascinated talking to the wife because she was a retired criminal investigator with the city and we had many things to talk about. Charlie took us to this couple because they've had trouble finding reliable house sitters for the months they are stateside. Right now they have someone for their trip from April to August, but we exchanged contact information for a possible house sit in the future. Apparently you can live for just about free in exchange for housesitting for Americans in Costa Rica.

I really do not want to do that, I made that clear to Jim on this trip. I want to find a place and settle. We did enough moving around during his Army years.

Unlike the sky high rents anywhere near Tamarindo you can rent here quite reasonably. There are very nice townhouses on the hillside overlooking Dominical beach for 300 US dollars a month. You can get a rental house in Matapalo for five or six hundred and we toured a rental right on the beach in Matapalo that I was trying mightily to twist Jim's arm into renting. Pricer than the rest, right on the beach, four bedrooms modern home with all the luxuries you could want and coming open in May, just when we're arriving, a thousand dollars a month. Just think! Step out of your front door and step onto the beach and the warm waters of the Pacific ocean.

There's really not a lot worth saying about the rest of the day, our last beach sunset, packing our suitcases and leaving the next morning after a last dip in the Pacific. We drove back, turned in the car and then started what felt like the never ending wait at the airport.

We changed planes in Fort Lauderdale, zooming through customs at the speed of light and not even being stopped or hassled or questioned once. We were still on TSA pre check status for some reason. Our flight from Fort Lauderdale to BWI was only about a quarter full, we were upgraded to better seats near the emergency exits and ended up chatting with the flight attendant most of the flight.

Horrible reality hit the minute we got back to the BWI airport and called the number for pickup to the parking place. The phone number was disconnected. Finally remembered the name of the other hotel that was also using this pickup and parking service and called them, but it was a frantic five minutes worrying about if our car would even be there. Stepping out into that 30 degree wind after having gotten up that morning and swam in the 90 degree weather was a shock. I wanted to turn around, get right back on that plane and go back to Costa Rica immediately.

We came back armed with knowledge of what we needed to do, information and contacts on moving there. We plan on being in CR for good in about six or ten weeks. It is happening.

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