A Travellerspoint blog

My trip to Costa Rica Part 2

January 9 continued and January 10, 2006

After arriving at Casa Girasol, the manager confirmed that he had found out the taxi driver was not able to get to the airport to pick me up. I never did find out why he did not make it. The reason it was so hard to find is because nobody in the neighborhood knew anything about a place called Casa Girasol and there is no sign on the building. The manager said that this was because he did not want just anyone going there off the street. If the taxi driver had called the manager right away on the phone he had right there in the taxi instead of asking people outside in the neighborhood, he would have found it a lot more quickly.

The manager of the bed and breakfast showed me to my room, a nice, large private room with a double bed and my own bathroom with a shower. The room was clean and neat with a view of the mountains.
In the bathroom was one nice, clean white bath towel, but no wash cloth or hand towel. It was late and I was tired.

January 10, 2006

The next morning I was woken up very early by the sound of a train. It was blowing its horn a lot and later I was told this was because there are no railroad gates where the railroad track crosses the road and the train has to blow its horn a lot to warn drivers. I got up and got dressed and went downstairs to breakfast because it is a bed and breakfast. For breakfast, there was bakery bread, guava jelly, tea and coffee. That was my first time having guava jelly and it was delicious. After breakfast, I spent some time on the computer, e-mailing people to tell them I had arrived safely.

Later that day, I walked to the bank. The manager had told me where it was and that I would have to take my passport. Walking along I noticed there was at least one security guard watching every street and the businesses had their own security guards. I did a little walking around the neighborhood out of curiosity to see what it was like there, then went back to the street where I was told the bank was. There were several office buildings in that area, so I asked 2 people in Spanish to help me find the bank and the second one told me correctly which building it was. It would have been very difficult if I did not know Spanish. When I walked into the building, I discovered that the bank that occupied a space inside the building had a security guard outside the door who let you in after you told him why you needed to go in there. Also, there were metal bars extending from the ceiling to the floor inside the bank all the way behind the glass wall and door. I had no problem cashing my travelers checks. I could speak Spanish but for those who cannot, the bank does have people who can speak English there.

After walking back to the bed and breakfast, I sat on the patio for a bit and then walked to McDonald's. All this walking was very tiring because it had been so icy the month before at home that I could not get out and walk and only hoped I did not fall on the ice just walking to the mailbox or to my car. I ate at McDonald's and then walked back and my legs were aching when I got back.

Since I did not have a wash cloth or hand towel, I decided I would have to use my beach towel as a bath towel and the white bath towel as both a hand towel and wash cloth. It seemed really strange having to use a big bath towel as a wash cloth. I took a shower and washed my hair and when I stepped out of the shower, I was afraid I might fall because there was no shower mat to step out onto when I got out of the shower. There were not enough towels around to put one on the floor to step out onto. Fortunately, I never did fall.

By this time, I had noticed for a fact that lots of people there had car alarms. I had never heard so many car alarms going off. I later found out that this is because there is a lot of car theft there. I did not know so many people there owned cars, but in the city at least, they do, although there is a good bus service and taxis available. I was told by someone later that owning a car is a status symbol there, so that even people who do not have much else make sure they have a car.

With all that walking, this was enough for day 2 of my trip. I was so exhausted, not even the car alarms could keep me awake.

Posted by Honey27 03:59 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged lodging Comments (0)

My trip to Costa Rica

January 9, 2006

semi-overcast

I am writing this while my trip is still fresh in my mind. Unfortunately, I could not spend enough time on the computer any place I stayed to do this because other people were always wanting to use the computer.

I arrived in Costa Rica on January 9 by airplane. I had received an e-mail from Pierre, the manager, at the place I was staying, called Casa Girasol, in Sabana Sur in San Jose, stating that a taxi driver would be waiting for me at the airport with a sign with my name on it, to transport me to Casa Girasol. When I walked out to the taxi area, I looked and looked and there was nobody there with a sign with my name on it. A man came up to me who was bilingual and offered to help me. I told him that I was supposed to have a taxi driver waiting for me with a sign with my name on it to take me to Casa Girasol, but there was not anyone there with that sign. He looked and looked also and finally came back and called Casa Girasol and he talked to Pierre and I talked to him. All Pierre said was that he was there for me, and we looked and looked and he simply was not!

The bilingual man then took my two suitcases while I held my tote bag and led me to a taxi. He talked to the taxi driver and then told me that the taxi driver would take me to Casa Girasol for $16 US. I found out that the taxi driver did not speak a word of English and it was a good thing that I had taken Spanish 1 and 2 at the community college. When we got to Sabana Sur, he could not find Casa Girasol although I told him the directions that were printed on my copy of my hotel confirmation and I showed him the phone number. He asked people where it was but not one person had any idea. He finally called the phone number but then drove right past Pierre who was standing on the sidewalk right in front of Casa Girasol. When I told him I thought that was him, he replied that it was just a guy needing a taxi, but I thought he was wrong. He went around the corner and then stopped and called Pierre again and found out I was right, that was where Casa Girasol was.

I pulled a $20 bill out of my shirt pocket to pay the taxi driver, as I had been told that was how much the ride would be, although I was shocked because it had not been very far and the meter said the cost was only 1401 colones, which is slightly less than $3 US money.
The $20 bill was wrapped around another $20 bill, which I did not realize until I had taken it out of my pocket. The taxi driver replied he did not take US dollars, only colones, even though the bilingual man at the airport had talked to him and told me he would accept $16 US money in payment. I told the taxi driver what the man at the airport told me, and he shook his head and said he would get the US dollars changed "for me", then he smiled like he was doing me a favor and took both the $20 bills. He went into an internet cafe with them that was right behind a natural foods restaurant not far from the corner. When he came out, he gave me back only 4,000 colones--500 colones equals one dollar, so that is $8 he gave back to me out of $40, so he actually charged me $32 US for the trip from the airport that was only supposed to cost 1401 colones or less than $3 in US money according to the meter! Bienvenidos! That sure was some rotten welcome to Costa Rica!!!

Posted by Honey27 16:35 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged lodging Comments (0)

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