Arrival as told by the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

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Where I stayed
Catalina's House

Flag of Costa Rica  , San José,
Saturday, August 29, 2009

On the descent into Costa Rica I was sad that it was dark. I could see the street lights spreading and sloping up the dark shadows of the mountains. I was certain that it was beautiful.

Inside the airport, the customs line was really long. I kept popping cough drops because my throat was dry and I did not want to cough. They had so many signs about Swine Flu that I was certain that if I so much as cleared my throat that I would not be allowed in the country for fear that I was a carrier.

I felt like the passport checker guy was flirting with me. He winked at me. Yes, maybe he had something in his eye, but …it was definitely a wink.  Lo siento  mi amor pero   I am spoken for .

After I picked up my luggage, I was outside and officially in Costa Rica!

The school sent someone to get me. She stood over to the side with a sign that said "Abigail" (the Spanish spelling of my name) I am kicking myself for not taking a picture. I walked over to her, identified myself and we hugged…tightly. And then she started rubbing my hair…ummm…it was interesting and by interesting I mean creepy. It was not a caress like she wanted to go steady and not quite a hair mussing like I was her child , but more like a fact finding dig-scratch-pat.  She called our cabbie on her cell phone. Rodulfo's brother (that was how he was introduced) pulled up minutes later.

(The license plate said “fresh” with a dice in the mirror…something…something…something this cat was rare…something…something…something…yo homes to Bel-air)

There was another lady that they picked up.


She’s from Boise, Idaho…nice.

Slightly (and by slightly I mean completely) manly…nicer.

Rocking a Mullet…nicest.

Baggy jeans, sandal shoes with socks and a lumberjack shirt…added bonus.

Cha-Ching,  I have got me a clubbing partner…except…not so much.

The ride from the airport was about 30 minutes. We rode through town, passing The Hampton Inn, The Marriott, Hewlett Packard, 3M and of course Denny’s (apparently killing Americans  with nast just isn’t enough ; they are striving toward world domination through waffle warfare and breakfast battles) Those scenes were juxtaposed with the tin roofs of small houses, hole-in-the-wall bars, open food counters, restaurants and small corner stores. People were scattered about enjoying their Saturday night.  I should have taken a video, but I was taking it all in and was too excited…Me in Costa Rica…all by myself… On an adventure.

The residential area where my host mother stays is quiet. There are no street signs or discernible addresses. It’s funny, no matter the culture, men never want to take or get directions. The driver got a bit turned around and when my greeter tried to help he ignored her and we just drove around in circles for a while. Fine with me. I was trying to get my bearings and the lay of the land.

When we finally got to the house

(I pulled up to house around 7 or 8 and I yelled to cabbie” you homes smell you later)

And my house mother came to the door, I could have sworn she was made of sugar. Catalina. A small woman; when I hugged her I felt like Sasquatch. She showed me to my room and made sure that I wasn’t hungry. (ummm…so just a side note…Catalina  speaks no English and my Spanish has become limited in my old age) I gave her a small gift and she hugged me again (Love her!) and we sat and talked for a bit. Politics, family, Michael Jackson’s nose…All quite interesting.  The conversation was mix of hand gestures and choppy Spanish for me.  At times when I did not understand, it sounded like “blllllll stick em…ha ha ha stick em” but we got through it.

She left me to unpack and I got all situated; while of course watching the subtitled Michael Jackson 30th anniversary celebration on A and E (cuz there is definitely cable and wireless internet here) Then I put on my nightgown and got into bed.

(I was finally here, to sit on my throne as the prince of Bel-Air)
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