Costa Rica, Day One: August 15, 2014
We got up at 3:30 am for our trip and to walk Mimi. She didn’t seem to mind at all that it was still dark out. My stomach felt queasy so I didn’t have anything to eat – or any coffee. Oh no! Without coffee, there may be a headache later today.
Our taxi arrived on schedule at 4:30 – things are going well…so far.
Our flight was only 37 minutes which was a good thing because our second flight was 3 terminals away, another security check and only 2 hours. The plane was very small so we had to give them our “carryon” luggage to pick up later on the tarmac.
For such a short flight, it was pretty smooth. We landed at JFK, picked up our luggage, literally on the tarmac and weaved our way through makeshift canvas walkways to try to find the Delta terminal. Very crowded. Finally left security there, went outside to try to find the AirTrain. Lots of stairs so the rollabout suitcases had to be carried. The signage wasn’t that great, either so we had to ask for help – several times. We finally made it to the JetBlue terminal with a bit of time to spare.
The next flight was smooth, too. HOORAY! I’m not good with turbulence to say the least. If someone is screaming, it’s always me. The row of young women in front of us and behind us thought that the flight was an airborne bar. They had been drinking before the flight and continued during the flight. The steward even ran them a tab, something I’ve never heard of on a plane before. The ones ahead of us were watching a show calledPaternity Court on TV and it was quite hilarious, apparently.
At some point, as we were landing, they were looking at the map and thought that we were 4147 miles above sea level, rather than feet. Apparently we were coming in from outer space.
On the jetway, heading to the terminal, one revealed that she had been smoking vapor cigarettes in the bathroom.
I hope they have a wonderful 10 days here – if they remember any of it!
The airport went smoothly, very similar to Barbados with Customs and Immigration. Lots of people offering to help (for tips, of course) but we knew where we were going and were able to weave our way thgouth the crowd.
We found the van for Avis. As soon as I got in, the headache struck, big-time. A combo of no coffee all day and the air freshener in the van. It was so strong, even I could smell it.
Our trip to Avis went well. I got several Extra-Strength Tylenol in me. Our car is a black Nissan sedan. We’d requested manual but they didn’t have any. That turned out to be a good thing later.
The rental agent, Douglas, set up our GPS unit to take us to our condo and we were off. We found Coco Bay Estates and got through the security gate which consisted of a guard, an orange cone and a stop sign (arrete in Spanish)
Check-in went well, the people friendly and helpful. We followed their van up to our place for the next 2 weeks. I say “up” because our place is carved out of the side of a small mountain. The road has several hairpin turns. The final one to our place involves a hill and at the top, you can’t see the road or anything coming below. AARRGGHH
Here’s a PDF of our site_map. Our parking spot is on the 4th level of “Segovia”. We had to take an elevator down to our place on one – 102. There was a sign in the elevator that said if the power goes out, it will reset itself. Uh-oh.
The van driver showed us into our place and around, although some of the stuff turned out later to be untrue. One the surface, it’s very nice here with 2 big bedrooms, each with it’s owh bathroom. There were only 3 hangers for the 2 bedrooms so we could have 4 people here, sharing the 3. There are no drawers for storing clothes so I stacked up my clothes on open shelves in a walk-in closet.
A nice living-room area with comfy sofa, washer-dryer, nice patio with glass doors in every room. The A/C works well. Hooray!
I fell asleep for a nap almost immediately.
We decided it was time to go get something to eat. Turns out, the restaurant here closed at 3pm. <sigh> We would have had to drive there, anyway. The roads look unsafe to walk on, even without the hill. So, we decided to go into town to a grocery store. It was about 5pm local time (7 at home) and dusk. We retraced our steps from earlier and saw a grocery store. This was a very local store, everything written in Spanish, which was to be expected, but we had trouble finding things – we never found peanut butter. We did get hangers, though so we now have 13.
When we got out, it was completely dark. People walking in the narrow streets, and riding bikes…and we got lost. We must have missed a street or 2 and our GPS wasn’t recoginzing any of the items I tried typing into it, in English OR Spanish. Our place wasn’t listed under lodgings. At one point, had we continued on the street we were on, we would have driven into the Pacific Ocean.
We were both getting very testy. I had a little headache still, was hungry from not eating all day (that earlier stomach queasyness) and exhausted. It was 10 pm (midnight our time) when we stopped at a small pizza place. Our waitress spoke Italian so she couldn’t help us with directions at all but pointing at the menu got us a pizza. From my long-ago Italian college class, I was able to dredge up enough to get Tom an orange juice. I just went with agua. She was able to find another patron who knew enough English to give us directions.
We changed our order and got the pizza to go. Back to our place, gathered up some of the groceries – the ice cream was melted of course. Into the elevator (no AC) and it wouldn’t move. It took a few minutes but we finally got that going. Into our place and Tom went back for the rest…and called me from the elevator. It was stuck so I went out in my barefeet to push the elevator button from the outside to make it move.
When he went back for the rest, he walked up and down the 4 flights of stairs to avoid the elevator.
Finally, about 11:00 (1 am, our time), after putting the groceries away, we had cold pizza for dinner.
I entered the info for WiFi do finish up my “church work”. The computer showed a strong WiFi signal. Excellent. Except it didn’t actually connect to the Internet.
Luckily, I have a data plan on my iPad and I’d added some Global Minutes. I used that as a hotspot to connect my computer to the internet and finish that work.
Off to bed and dreams of my mother scolding me for sleeping too late.
At Sea, Thursday March 6 ~ Panama Canal Cruise
Weather Forecast: Sunny High 82 / Low 77
Sunrise 7:15 am / Sunset 6:58 pm
New Time Zone, one hour ahead
From the Navigator: Throughout the day, Coral Princess will continue to maintain a southwesterly course across the Caribbean Sea towards the island of Aruba. The Caribbean Sea is part of the Atlantic Ocean and lies between the Islands of the Greater and Lesser Antillies and the coasts of South and Central America. It covers an area of over 2,500,000 km2 and is considered one of the World’s most marine-rich bodies of water.
We spent this day mostly wandering around and eating.
Tom had a Veteran’s Gathering that started about 15 minutes before Pop Choir so he started there then joined me in choir.
We learned the difference between port and starboard. According to our guest lecturer, “starboard” is from the old practice of having a steering oar on one side of the ship with the right side thought to be chosen simply because most people are right handed.
The word starboard comes from Old English steorbord, literally meaning the side on which the ship is steered.
The captains didn’t want to damage their oars, so they usually docked with the left side facing the port – and that became the port side.
I saw an interesting brown bird. Tom said he thought that it was a frigate bird but that they couldn’t get wet. When I saw the bird dive into the water and come up with a fish, it disproved one or both of Tom’s thoughts.
This may have been what Tom was thinking of:
Frigate birds cannot plunge like pelicans, when wet they can’t take off without difficulty. If their wing span got fully wet it might drown them. Even with a 90 inch wing span water sopping adult frigate birds may have trouble from taking off in water. Surface dipping and fixed habitat feeding may explain species limitations in survival.
Eventually, we ended up in the library. Very comfortable chairs! There were headphone ports with some kind of music available, as well as footstools.
I settled down in my chair with my book and most likely dozed off for a bit. Next thing I knew, 2 (or more) women were talking behind me. I heard the entire life story of one of them, I think.
Then, I had a little headache and an ache at the back of my neck. We went to MUTS to see Mamma Mia! and my headache got a lot worse so we left.
By the time we got back to the cabin, the headache circled my whole head. I took 2 Tylenol (the only thing I’m allowed to take post-kidney cancer) and lay down a bit with a pillow over my head. Then 2 more.
About 7ish, I was feeling mostly better so I got up and we went to eat, followed by the movie Captain Phillips starring Tom Hanks.
We decided that one of the library talking-women was wearing a perfume I was allergic to. Tom will be more aware of potential scents in the future.
We had a small bit of rain…