Costa Rica 17 -- October 15-16, 2005
A bit of a rest day

By Bob Corbett


I walked a lot in the center of San Jose again today. Lots and lots of people on a warm sunny Saturday, until about 1 PM. Then a very light rain almost mist came, and I hurriedly walk the mile home to get my rain coat. By the time I left the Casa Ridgeway it was raining fairly hard.

I still walked a bunch and ended up at 3 PM at a restaurant close to my place. It was really cute. And huge. Huge place, on corner, open on two sides. About 40 picnic tables on first floor, has a second, but I didn't go up.

The picnic tables on the perimeter, right at the sidewalk, seat four. All the ones in the middle seat 8. Two guys with guitars and singing soft love ballads in marvelous harmony circled table to table, but seeing this guy alone at the back table along the sidewalk, didn't come over. I was delighted, and was a free rider for everyone else's tips as they particularly dwelt on the table of couples.

There are large old sepia and black and white photos of old San Jose on each table with some sort of laminated plastic covering. English and Spanish subtitles identify the photos. There are old tin cups like in western movies, hundreds of them nailed in rafters, and in between hang bags of onions and lots of whole stalks of plantains. The roof is held up by rafters, square 6x6 timbers, dark wood. Very attractive. The waiters, all guys, are dressed in gaucho outfits. Nice atmosphere.

I ordered a platter with 1/2 roasted chicken. Came with marvelous mashed beans and salad and corn on the cob, for which they had a quaint name I can't recall. Chickens here are huge. Breasts in stores are a full kilo, 2.2 lbs. routinely, and my lunch 1/2 chicken was no exception. Given my breakfast today, that's my meal for the day.

And what a bargain. With generous tips and two beers, $10.00

I headed home soon for the night. Worn out. Will have walked at least 6 maybe closer to 7 miles by the time I get home. When I got to the restaurant the waiter, in perfect English, said, that's some watch you have. I explained it wasn't a watch, but a pedometer to measure what I walk and I showed it to him, he was shocked, just stunned, he said, how long did you walk? (It was on 4.32 miles). I said, oh not too long today, just around downtown. He was dumbfounded, no, he said, miles, not kilometers?

I said yes, but 4.23 miles isn't that much. What, he looked closely and roared. I thought that was 43.2 miles and you were superman. We had a great laugh.


I walked back into the heart of town about 10 AM and was greeted by a great spectacle. Marching bands, 40 - 50 of them on the main very wide street, but on which the buses, but not cars were still running!!!! It was the celebration of Christopher Columbus day, and like the U.S. they must have that horrible tradition of holding the holidays on weekends instead of on the date they occur, in this case Oct. 12th. (Sorry about that, it's one of my pet grips!)

There were drums in every band, and most had girls carry harp-like things that sounded much more like xylophones, and most had girls dancing wonderful salsa steps. Brilliant costumes. It was so fun. I was walking slowing against the flow of the parade, which was headed to a park very close to my Casa Ridgeway, and there, each band got on a stage for one number to be judged. It will take most of the day!!!!

I shopped around looking for a place to change money, but no luck. so I got out my guide book and discovered that there is a bank, only one, in La Fortuna, and it will change money and travelers checks. That cleared it for me to go, so I next found a place and purchased my bus ticket. I leave at 8 AM tomorrow morning in a mini-van that will pick me up at the Casa for the 4 hour trip. The van is air-conditioned and only seats about 8 people. At $20 US I thought that was one heck of a deal.

It is very hot and sunny right now. But, I'm out for the day and have my raincoat with me, just expecting the afternoon rains to come. I'm going back to the place where I ate yesterday for my only meal out today, about 3 - 4 PM and it's only noon now.

I've mentioned how Spartan Casa Ridgeway is, but I had forgotten the priceless sight in the toilet. As USED to be very common in Western Europe until the 1990s in the low budget places and is still the common practice in much of Greece and most of Eastern Europe, you are not supposed to put any tissue paper into the toilet. The sewer pipes are too small and paper clogs them up. So there is a waste paper basket you put soiled toilet tissue into. Back in the 1970s the baskets didn't even have plastic liners, but they all do now.

Well, this is the case at Casa Ridgeway, but wasn't the situation in Quepos. But I never read the note carefully until last night. It says:

Please do not put anything in the toilet that is not necessary, and this includes used toilet paper which should be put into the waste basket. If you make an error, please do not flush until you have fished the paper out.

That just cracked me up. I couldn't stop giggling for 1/2 an hour. I guarantee you I will not make any mistake!!!!!!

I'm hoping to get a room in La Fortuna at Gringo Pete's. There is a woman staying at Casa Ridgeway who just came from there and loved it, said Pete's is beautiful and has lovely rocking chairs on an open air but covered balcony for visiting and reading. But it does sound like I'm in for another (and probably much longer stay) at a place with shared toilets and showers. HMMMM, wonder if Pete's allows one to flush the paper down!!!!

Oh my only noon and I can't wait for dinner!!!!!





Bob Corbett