Costa Rica 3 -- October 1, 2005
Quiet day in San Jose and on to Quepos

By Bob Corbett

I passed a quiet second day in San Jose yesterday. Walked a good deal and rode a lot of buses around to get a look. San Jose is just a very poor city. Once one gets outside the central area and for a long way to go, itís just so poor. I was really happy to leave there.

Now, Iím settled and where I want to be and things are picking up a great deal.

I got on my bus at 7:40 AM this morning and we headed out quickly. Within half hour we were driving in beautiful, even stunning country side. We drove over lovely mountains, in valleys and canyons lined with thick forests, rivers galore. At one point our driver pulled over as 8 macaws flew low over us alongside the road.

We got to Quepos, a low raucous touristy small village at the foot of the hill leading to the famous rain forest of Manuel Antonio. Quepos is smack dab on the Pacific Ocean.

Despite those seemly negative adjectives about Quepos, it definitely is more convenient for food and cheaper for everything than the smaller up hill and upscale village of Manuel Antonio.

I made my way to Casa Mary. Letís Go, my favorite travel guide, said: quieter, cheapest in town, clean. I took a private room just for tonight. It has a toilet, two twin beds, cold water shower, and sink!!! I can shave tonight or tomorrow. And it has a nice fan. Letís Go said it would be 3000 colones, but it was 5000. The woman explained that this is not quite low season now, sort of in between, and prices are going up. 5000 colones is $10.80. I wasnít too unhappy.

But, I only took it for the one night (to get rid of my bag and settle today) then I took off and walked just 100 yards down the street. I know the distance since Casa Mary is directly across the street from the Quepos soccer field, and even with the south goal. Casa Hellen, where I was going, was just past the other goal post. I wanted a place where I had some place to sit and read and have a glass of wine, that sort of thing. Casa Maryīs room was just fine, but it had nothing else.

When I walked into the open Casa Hellenīs I was warmly welcomed into the living room and kitchen, and then shown a room. It has a large double bed, and a single. A cold water shower, toilet, sink and powerful fan. I was told -- well ďtoldĒ is not quite the description of our ďconversationĒ where they had no English and me no Spanish, but I was made to understand that the living room, TV and kitchen were all mine to use as I pleased. I was now part of the family. Best of all they have a very deep front porch with several comfortable chairs and tables -- the perfect hideout during the rains.

But Casa Hellenīs is, as Letís Go said it would be -- 6000 colones, so Iím splurging and paying $13.00 a night. Oh yes, I do have a refrigerator and table in my room as well.

I may well stay here a while. I move in tomorrow morning. Then I took the long walk from her house to the ocean front (1 1-2 short blocks). The town is on the sea, a huge beach, but not so beautiful. And now I sit directly across the street from the ocean. No high rise buildings, the largest buildings in town are two stories, but I canít see the water. The beach road is built up about 10 feet like a levee, but I see the palm trees and feel the marvelous breezes.

Iím at Restaurant & Bar Mira Olas. Specializes in seafood. I just finished a gigantic meal. A platter. Lots of plain white rice and mounds of rich black beans in black sauce. I mixed the rice and beans together and added some salsa which was an orangish color. Oh my goodness that was so good a dish. And there were fried plantains which I love, slaw, cucumbers, a large vegetable mťlange and final a simply huge ocean fish filet. Melted in my mouth. This platter was 1200 colones -- $2.63 -- Iím shocked. Iím drinking Imperial Beer ($1.40 a bottle). Iíve had two of those and about to have a third.

Tomorrow Iím moving early to Casa Hellen, thatís how itís spelled, and then taking a bus up to the rain forest just to explore the layout, the situation and to buy a map of the park and trails. Iíll them probably walk home (5 km= for the exercise. But the park will be closed on Monday, so I wonít begin my hiking in the rain forest (which I will do alone, and which I prefer) until Tuesday. Iím just going to take two nice relaxing days.

I really feel HOME now. This is what I came here for. Away from the city, into stunning beauty, excellent food, and much less expensive housing, food and drink. I plan to kick back and savor every minute and every experience.

I canít wait to walk Sloth Trail, famous for the number of sloth you are likely to spot while walking. I donít even know what a sloth looks like for sure. Hmmmmm. Ah, Iíll bet Iíll see some pictures at the ranger station tomorrow.

Not only am I home and happy here, but last night in San Jose I walked the few blocks over to Ridgeway House, very near my place. It was just lovely, so much nicer than where I was, and a good deal cheaper too boot. Iíll stay there when I do have to go back to San Jose.





Bob Corbett