Adventures of Starvin Marvin and Hambone Berger

Trip Start May 13, 2010
Trip End Jul 31, 2010

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Alajuela,
Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Nicole is in the "house" and she is the reason I haven't been posting entries. So...let me get you up to speed from when I left to get her in Costa Rica.

I was smart enough to catch the super early bus out of San Juan del Sur to head to Peñas Blancas. It's an incredibly slow and busy border crossing. But at 6am it's quite pleasant. I almost made a really serious mistake in Costa Rica though; I almost forgot to get my passport stamped. I actually got on a bus to Liberia but a lady had seen that I didn't get my passport stamped yet so she said go get it stamped or you will ride 1.5 hours to Liberia and they will send you back to the border, oops!!!

The Costa Rican side of the border was a breeze. They really have their poop in a group unlike the Nica side of the border, I've crossed it 3 times now and the only easy occasion was at 6am. I noticed that once I crossed to the CR side things started getting a lot cleaner as well. The landscape is cleaner, the busses are cleaner, although, they still stop to pick people up. It's amazing that even on an international bus like TransNica they still stop to pick up passengers, very odd. My roommate/landlord at Casa Loca, Maiz is from the San Jose area and he told me the trip from the border to San Jose would be about 5 hours so I packed it in for another long ride but I had no idea! We stopped to pick up so many passengers that 5 turned into 6. But wait....We got delayed by a "phantom" construction project and 6 turned into 7. We waited for an hour and I had to pee so bad, I thought it was going to ooze out of my skin because my whole body hurt. I asked the driver if I could get out and he said sure but I couldn't get myself around his Costa Rican accent and he spent 5 minutes explaining to me that I could not walk down the steps of the bus because it would throw off the passenger counting device near the top of the steps. It looks kind of like the security devices in retail stores. Anyways I had to climb over the stair rail to sneak around the counter and jump down the stairs and pee in full view of traffic and a bus full of passengers, hooray for small bladders!

After that I got to Alajuela, bladder emptied. The bus took me directly to Juan Santamaría airport. I had to scope it out so that I could pick Nic up the next morning. While I was their I thought I'd jump in the ATM and get some cash. ATM#1: denied! ATM#2: denied!! Now I was about to pee my pants again but for another reason. Nic was coming to Costa Rica for 3 weeks and I couldn't get money out of the ATM. Well somehow I got myself to a hotel and asked if I could leave my baggage while I went to get some cash. I had to walk a mile in the rain to get to the ATM, en route, I got a good splash of dirt water, right in the face; the gods must have been angry with me! I could feel an incredible nervous tension as I slid my card into the ATM. I punched all the necessary numbers and I waited anxiously to hear the universal "rattle" of money being dispensed. At last, "cha-ching", hallelujah Alajuela!

I went back to the hotel and gathered my bags and setoff to downtown Alajuela for Hotel Trotamundos. The people that I've met in Costa Rica have been the friendliest thus far. In fact, I met an elderly woman on the bus and asked her if she could tell me how to get to parque central and she literally walked me from the bus to the park. It's really crazy because all the people are nice in C.A. but Costa Ricans are not only nice, they are also "cool". You can even hear it in the way they speak. For example instead of saying de nada or (of nothing, literally) for your welcome they use (con mucho gusto), it's my pleasure. They also use pura vida (cool) in everything and life in Costa Rica is definitely pura vida. I am beginning to understand why English speakers, especially Americans love Costa Rica. But I do have to say, I didn't meet as many English speaking Costa Rican in Alajuela as I was expecting to meet. Good thing the airport process was simple for Nic because I told her that a lot of people speak English, not totally true, oops!

I caught a free taxi ride at 4:30am to get Nic at Juan Santamaría. The taxi only took 3 minutes to get to the airport so we are definitely staying in Alajuela before we fly back to the states. I picked up my baby at 6:00am and she even welcomed me with her customary fake binocular look where she cups her hands around her eyes. Yes my wife is a real cracker! In fact, she came up with the title. She says that I'm super skinny now from my donut and street-food diet and she is the hambone because she is carrying a little well, "ham" on her bones.

Side note about eating. Peruvian food is amazing!!! Inka's in Alajuela was awesome, more seafood than you could ever want, for less than the price of lunch at Applebee's. Also southern Nicaragua and Costa Rica have cheap eateries called sodas and they all have this giant jar of chilero or (pickled and spicy onions, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers and peppers). I am literally in hotsauce heaven!

Gotta go, the wife is waiting.
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