Hector, potential "dognapping" victim!

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

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Alajuela,
Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I sure many of you thought that I had nothing left to say....well, you are all wrong. I've kind of been dead to the world, hanging out with my wife. I guess she kind of deserves my attention after I left her at home working and supporting me while I've been out eating donuts.

The first day Nic was in Central America, we decided to take it easy and just hang around Alajuela, Costa Rica. Her plane didn't land until 5:45am and after a long night of flying, her arms were really tired, sorry! She was really tired so we decided to chill. We started things off by heading out to find some desayuno típico (typical breakfast). We came across a soda (greasy spoon or diner) that I had eaten at the evening before and it was delicious. I asked Nic what she wanted to drink and she said, "Ask the waitress what they have". Well the waitress starts naming drinkings like guanabana, calala, cas, etcetera, etcetera. I had a total mind-melt because I just looked at Nic and assumed she knew what the lady was talking about and I asked her, "so what do you want?" I didn´t realize that I hadn´t translated a single word for her. I guess I´ve been down here too long, I just assumed she was speaking English.

Wow, after 8 plus weeks, I really missed my wife. It was amazing to have someone to share my adventure with and this time everything was coming at me through a totally different lens. It was like getting a nice jolt of adrenaline or caffeine for the road weary traveler.

Alajuela has about 300,000 inhabitants and it was the first midsized to big city that I´ve spent time in. We actually really enjoyed Alajuela. It´s only about 5 minutes from the airport at 5 in the morning. The people are really nice. There is tons of shopping if you´re into that. And it was clean. Especially when I compare it to even the nicer tourist towns in Central America like Antigua, Copán Ruinas, or Granada, it´s cleaner fo shizzle!

We rolled into the Parque Central in Alajuela around 10am and already people were hangin´out in the park. It´s amazing how people make time to hang out in parks in C.A. People were feeding pigeons, publicly displaying their affection and even scoping out cute dogs worthy of "relocation" to Gladstone, ND. There was even a woman on a stage giving a sermon about el señnor (the lord). I´ve seen this quite a bit in C.A. and I have to admit, the people are really charismatic and convincing. I was almost buying what she was selling.

So...as we leisurely let the day pass by in the park, we saw this handsome little dog cruisin´through the park and of course, we invited him over for some "heavy petting". Nic was kind enough to give him a name, Hector. He was soon snuggling on the bench right next to us. Even the dogs in Costa Rica are cool; this is just one really cool country!

On my travels things have kind of developed organically and taken shape all on their own. Usually someone suggests something and then as I investigate, something amazing happens. My friend José from Mexico had mentioned how wonderful Peruvian cuisine is and when I found out that Alajuela has 3 Peruvian restaurant, the deal was sealed. Nic is a pushover for trying new food. Sometimes we joke that we got married just because we really enjoy eating together.
Of the 3 restaurant´s we chose Inka´s simply because it was geographically convenient. Nevertheless, we couldn´t have made a better choice. We strolled in and had the restaurant to ourselves. The ambiance was definitely romantic. It had an "haute-cuisine" feel to it and the service was amazing. The only anomaly was the strange Michael Bolton-esque music mixed with the lively commentary of a soccer game.

As far as the food goes, it was amazing. The presentation was artistic. The portions were ample and when they say seafood, they mean seafood. Nic ordered the seafood rice and I order the seafood pasta in red sauce. I asked the waiter before I ordered if I would be getting another plate of the not so lovely red sauce, aka. "ketchup". He assured me that the sauce was a fresh tomato sauce and for once Central American red sauce came through with flying colors! Anyways when I say "they mean seafood", we´re not talking 2 shrimp and a piece of fish. The whole plate was heaped with calamari, octopus, shrimp and fish. I actually had trouble finding enough pasta to mix with the seafood. The best part, price! In the states we could have easily left the restaurant dropping at least a Ulysses S. Grant but in this case, we left for less than $25 and that includes fresh squeezed lime-ades, tax, tip and full bellies.

Well, after that amazing meal and a long bus journey to San Juan del Sur the next day, we packed it in around 10pm. Buen provecho (enjoy your meal) and we´ll talk to you from SJDS!
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