20 April 2012

Costa Rica days 14-16

And finally - the tail end of my amazing journey!  I hope the end of this story is everything you've expected it to be :) 

The Volunteer House - my temporary home!

the pool at the volunteer house!
 <Day 14: hopping on a bus>  I'm SO glad I thought to set my phone alarm, because once again I did not wake up to my watch alarm!  It's so quiet!  I really only had time to change my clothes and walk to the Super.  Heidi had wanted me to wake her and say goodbye, so I did and she locked the door behind me.  I talked to a nice couple who were also waiting for the bus.  They gave me a pretty silver ring with a horseshoe on it - "to remember."  I'm not sure if he meant to remember Corozalito, or to remember him... but I'm going with Corozalito :)  The horseshoe kind of looks like a C anyway!  The bus arrived - a school bus - and the man I'd been speaking with loaded my suitcase for me, then we were off!  I slept pretty much the whole way, I couldn't help it!  There were a TON (maybe 2 tons) of people on the bus.  Most continued on to San Jose.  I asked about a bus to Nicoya, and was told 7am.  Perfect - it was 6:30, so not a long wait at all!  One step closer to the ultimate goal of Samara!  Got on the new bus at 7 - it was much nicer and had comfy seats!  Not many people got on in Nandayure, but the bus was over full by the time we reached Nicoya.  People were standing 2x2 all the way down the aisle!!  I got off in Nicoya and started looking around for a Samara bus.  A man approached me, asked where I was going, so I said Samara.  He said he was a taxi driver, had to go to Samara to pick up some people, and so he could drive me for cheap!  He said the next bus to Samara wouldn't be until 10am (it was 8:30).  I said sure, and we walked to his taxi.  I double checked - it was red and had the taxi logo... good to go!  It was about a 30 minute drive, we talked a bit.  I'd asked to go to El Ancla; Katie and Ari said they'd stayed there.  Unfortunately it was full, so I went next door to Locanda - they had space for me!  $30/night for my own room with a private bath - sweet!

my room at Locanda
I called mom and dad, and Chad to give an update on where I was.  Then I set out to explore town.  I first wanted to find the dive shop, so I started looking.  The first tour company said the owners had just returned from a trip and weren't offering dives right now.  But they suggested I go to a restaurant called Mar y Sol because they might be there, so I walked to the far edge of town to Mar y Sol.  At first, no one could help me - I think they didn't understand "diving" - I was told the dive shop was called Pura Vida Diving.  Eventually I said "para bucear," and the lady said the owners moved to Panama and the shop didn't exist anymore!!  Another guy in the restaurant gave me directions to a dive shop.  I paid for my food, and walked straight there.  Luckily, they were there!  I put my name in for Saturday morning dive - 8am.  Oscar, the dive master, said he needed to finish repairing his boat, but everything else was ready.  He told me to come back at 5pm to try on gear.  Then I went shopping! :)  I bought souvenirs and gifts.. and some things for me!  I returned to the hotel, dropped off my things and changed to my swim suit.  I slowly walked along the beach, taking pictures and enjoying the relaxing time.  At about 4:30, I went to the info center to get a bus schedule.  She said the direct bus left at 4:30am on Sunday, and would take 5 hours, so I'd need a different option on Saturday.  She told me to go to thebusschedule.com and check.  I went to a shop that had computers available for 1 mil/hour.  I checked out the schedule, and it said the Sunday bus left at 4am and would arrive to the airport at 8:20am - perfect!  By then it was 5pm, so I went to the dive shop.  I tried on gear and got my gear bag all packed!  Oscar said he was just missing a filter for the gas tank, but someone was bringing it.  He remained mostly positive that we'd be ready for diving on Saturday, so I did too.  I was so pumped!  Left there and went to the bus ticket office.  The lady told me to come back tomorrow because she was closed (and she wasn't very nice about it).
I walked back to my hotel with the intention of showering, but there were 5 cockroaches in my bathroom!! 3 of them were actually in the shower.  No thank you!!  So I just changed my clothes instead.  I left the light on too, so the cockroaches would leave.  I had dinner and a few beers at my hotel.  Since it was after dark, I didn't want to venture out alone!  The others couldn't come out, because Andres still wasn't back.  A very nice Canadian (from Victoria) woman and her 21 year old daughter invited me to join them at the restaurant.  She told me that she's taken each of her kids on a trip when they turn 21, so the 2 of them were spending 10 days in Samara.  I'm pretty sure they're rich... their son is spending a year traveling around Australia (and the family visited), the other daughter is working in Botswana (and the family visited), and the daughter who was there spent a year in Spain and 6 months in Peru!  The only continent she hadn't been to was Antarctica (my dream life...)!  They're also paying $300 for a private driver to Arenal for the whole day.  They were very nice, and it was fun getting to know more people.  I returned to my room after dinner and went to sleep - with the light on!  Damn cockroaches had me all freaked out!

<Day 15: que mal dia!>  I woke up at 6:30, took a shower, and got ready for diving.  I walked to the dive shop and Oscar said "bad news, I didn't get the filter."  No diving.  He said tomorrow, and of course I can't.  He apologized a lot, but that didn't help because there was still no diving.  I walked out of the shop and just started crying.  I called mom and cried to her.  Then I went to the bus ticket station.  She said on Sundays there isn't a 4am bus, and that I should leave at 1pm today because it's dangerous to arrive in San Jose much later.  Which meant now I also can't do a canopy tour to make something fun of the day!  Again, crying uncontrollably.  Again, calling mom and crying to her.  I also called Katie and let them know I wouldn't be in Samara tonight.  Then, I had a couple drinks on the beach (yes, at 10:30am) and some fries. I packed up, and asked for a taxi to the gas station ($6) to catch the bus.  I arrived at the gas station at 12:45 for the 1pm bus - it never came.  A taxi driver saw me waiting, and said the next bus wouldn't be for another hour!  It was 1:30pm by this time.  So I got in with him and the other passenger to Nicoya ($4).  I couldn't help crying again, and also fell asleep.  At the bus station I saw Ricardo - my taxi driver from the day before.  He said the bus to San Jose wasn't until 2:45 (I verified by looking at the schedule), and that it was standing room only - for 4 hours through the mountains!  He said he'd take me to Limonal, where there would be more buses.  I asked how much, and he said 30.  I agreed, and got in the car.  I cried more (behind my sunglasses).  It was quickly turning into the worst day ever.  We found a bus in Limonal to San Jose.  I verified with Ricardo $30, and he said no - 30,000 colones is what he meant, which is $60!!  What the... worst day.  It was nearly all the money I had (luckily I even had that much!).  So I got on the bus ($7) and asked to be let off at the airport.  I slept some, and also admired the scenery through the mountains.

When I arrived at the airport, I asked for an ATM and a taxi (because I didn't have any money to pay him).  I got out 16 mil colones so I could also pay for the return fare the next day.  The taxi drive asked for directions and I gave him what I had.  Apparently it wasn't enough, so he called Virginia.  I think he spoke to Rodrigo, and received enough directions.  I got to their house and was given a very warm welcome - by far the best part of the day!  I paid the taxi ($16), and went inside.  There was another volunteer - Helen, from Germany.  She'd spend 4 weeks in the institute and 4 weeks in Corcovado with a nature project.  She said it was extremely remote - 10 hours on a bus, one night stay in a town, then 3 hours in a 4x4 vehicle and 1.5 hours in a boat just to get there!  The food arrived by boat once a month!  Sounds great!  On Monday, she and another friend go to New York for 4 days, then return to Germany.  I ate dinner - super rica, as always - pasta, platanos, salad, guanabana (a fruit - very sweet and delicious), and some tortilla chips.  As before, great conversation with Rodrigo and Virginia.  I left my contact information and got their email address.  They are such great people and excellent host parents!  They told me I am welcome any time I return to Costa Rica to stay with them.  I went up to bed when everyone else did and got a good night sleep!  I set my alarm for 6:30am.
My room at the homestay house

<Day 16>  I woke up at 6:15 and decided I would shower.  My towel is going to have to travel wet - hopefully it doesn't stink when I get home!  I went down for breakfast - fruit bowl (guanabana, banana, papaya and pineapple), vegan gallo pinto, and soda crackers with pineapple jelly.  Delicious, of course!  I finished packing and Rodrigo carried my suitcase downstairs for me.  I took a picture with them and one of them.  38 years married!  Rodrigo will be 60 soon (6 May), and Virginia will be 54.  I said goodbye, and a friend of theirs drove me to the airport for 5 mil ($10).  I bought some last minute souvenirs and boarded the flight.  The lady sitting next to me asked me to close the window, and then she turned on her light... wtf.. I guess it was "reflecting on her."  psh, oh well!  Anyway, I forgot lunch was served, so I had a choice of chicken or beef... I just took the salad with no dressing.  the movie Monte Carlo was played in flight, so I watched that.  Not bad!  I have a 4 hour layover coming up in Dallas, then 4 hours to Seattle - where I have to pick up my luggage and check in for the flight to Spokane.  I have 2 hours in Seattle, and will get to Spokane at midnight (and I have to work tomorrow).  I can't wait to see my love!

There you have it my new friends!  I truly hope you've enjoyed reading about my journey.  Have you ever volunteered in a foreign country?  I'd love to hear about your experience, or answer any questions you have about mine!  Leave me a comment, follow my blog for future travel adventures and share the love of seeing the world!

No comments:

Post a Comment