16 January 2007

One More Costa Rican Sleep

After a 5 hour journey I'm back in San Jose - along with the 1.5 other million that live in this city. I'm not sure I could handle the smell on a daily basis - the black diesel spot fuming out of so many tailpipes makes it tough to breath. Give me the coast anyday!

Enroute I picked up two hitchhikers - first a young guy with what looked like a bad case of pink eye (and he did seem to be in some pain) and a second middle-aged gentleman about twenty minutes later. They were both heading in my direction and the jeep was empty so why not? Car pooling is better than using all that energy of a vehicle for just one person.

The drive from Uvita through San Isidro to San Jose was through what used to be called "Mountain of Death" - it is a steep, fog-shrouded highway but luckily for me the dry season gave me many, many amazing vistas of the valleys, mountains and clouds. The speed limit is 40 km/hr so that certainly made me practice calm driving - just as well as the scenery was so wonderful to take in - what diverse landscaping - oak trees, evergreens, laurels and lots of undergrowth and hanging things and plants growing on plants. Those scraggy plants that grow up the trunks of larger trees are knows as epiphytes. Along route I passed many Sodas, fruit and vegetable stands and handicraft shacks - no time to stop since the car had to be returned by early afternoon.

I gave a call to Kaps Hotel this morning and I'm back in for my final night. My $25 US room in the main house is not a brilliant as the first room I had (which funny enough was cheaper becasue it is so close to reception - I think they should charge the same price - the double bed and extra space and room decor is much nicer). At Kaps, I like the security, the cleaniness, the light, the common kitchen and the warmth of the people that work here. It is no hassle. I wish the backyard had some chairs or hammocks to sit in. It is rather stark out there - quite the contrast when you look at the rest of the building which has interesting touches that are funky and artistic but not frilly or flowery. But it is central, I actually was able to drive here and I was able to find the Wild Rider, the jeep rental agency, by relying on landmarks - in this case the Scotia Bank. Not bad given the winding nature of the roads, the one ways, the curves, and the number of vehicles.

I'm a little out of sorts right now - what will I do from 16:49 to 3:45 PM tomorrow when my flight leaves. The 5 hours in the car was a long trip even though the mileage wasn't that much but it was all up and down mountains, through wind and rain, sunshine and heat. I did find a guy to wash my car for c 1000 (around $2.00 US) and I tipped c 1000 as well. This was in San Isidro de El General - 136 km south of San Jose with a population of 45,000. I spotted the banner handmade sign and did a sharp turn left off the Interamericana highway. The steep driveway was a bit of a concern but it seems that my handling of standards has improved since I've had the car.

Even Rafael at Discount told me that the jeep wasn't the one he sent out with me. www.rentacardiscount.com Rafael Mora cell: (506) 880-7336. When you are calling a cell phone in CR it seems that you always need to add the 506 in front.

Perhaps I will learn more about blogging, repack my bags, decide on an agenda for tomorrow morning, book a vehicle for the airport (www.interbusonline.com) - I could do the city bus that runs right by the airport but my brain doesn't want to handle the details and while the taxi is a $10 - 12 US flat rate I think I'll try the $5US shuttle this time, think some more and start easing back into the working world.