Please don't stick a fork in us!! We're not done!!
Trip Start Jan 23, 2007
120Trip End Dec 24, 2007
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Woke up pretty early to get on our way, as we hoped to be at our destination (about 4 bus rides and 7-8 hours away) before dark. After saying goodbye to our housemates, we caught the 8 o'clock bus south to Rivas and pretty quickly made our connection to the border. The formalities took a little longer than usual because the border crossing here was a bit more of big deal, as it is the only road link between Costa Rica (and hence Panama) and the rest of Central America.
The difference between Nicaragua and Costa Rica on the wealth side of things wasn't as marked as we had been lead to believe it would be, but the countryside and vegetation seemed a lot more lush, and life (as observed from behind the bus window admittedly) seemed a bit more ordered and less hectic
We had about a 2 hour wait in the bus station in Liberia, Costa Rica's major northern town, before heading off to Playa Tamarindo at about 4.15pm. Here the fields and rural buildings did begin to show a bit more signs of the prosperity Costa Rica enjoys over its neighbours, and the private jet parked on the runway at Liberia hinted at the greater wealth enjoyed by (presumably) some of its visitors.
Unfortunately we did arrive in Playa Tamaraindo just as night was falling, so didn't get too much of an idea of the layout or look of the town, but we were excited to find an exceedingly good hostel a little way from the bus stop. While a little more than we are used to paying, for our first night away from the tedium of Granada, the $28US for a hot water bathroom and a large indoor swimming pool seemed great value (and free internet - hurrah!)
After settling in, we went out to find the world famous 'Nachos as big as your ass' at a local restaurant and put them to the test against a Duncan-Peterson combo appetite. While they were undoubtedly mountainous (a large dinner plate piled as high as it was wide) we were still kind of hungry, and so began to think of absurd ways to challenge their assertion, like bringing in a donkey or a hugely obese man and saying we wanted 'Nachos as big as that ass!'
Saturday came, and was very relaxing - can't remember at what hour we awoke, but we took a long walk to the beach before the obligatory rain set in at about 2
Sunday we decided to be a bit more energetic, but this was almost derailed by the truely enormous breakfast we had for a bit over $5US - both of us had a massive american breakfast (bacon, eggs, fried potatoes, tomato, toast etc) and a 3 gigantic pancakes covered in maple syrup with a botttomless cup of coffee to wash it down.
Sam started off at a canter, devouring the savoury portion and plowing into the pancakes. Half way through the pancakes, with an enormous lead, Sam hit the wall - so much pancake, so much chocolate sauce, so much maple syrup - every morsel become an effort. Frances, meanwhile was far more the champion stayer, hoisted the spinnaker and sailed off into the sunset - finishing her plates without drama.
Determined to finish, despite being so comprehensively beaten, Sam grizzled and struggled to stop the entire breakfast reappearing - Frances ever the motivator cheering from across the table 'Come on, what are you?You wimp!', 'I thought I knew you!', 'What are you going to tell our kids if you don't finish this? - I'm always going to remember this!'
Thankfully, after battling away for another 25 minutes, Sam limped across the finish line and bunged the last bit of his pancakes mouthward - finally ending the ordeal for both of us
Having eaten about 3 times times our recommended daily calorie intake for breakfast, we did finally manage to go and have a long walk (more of a waddle by that stage). First we needed to catch a boat across a (apparently, according to the souvenir t-shirts - usually a credible news source....) crocodile infested river mouth to Playa Grande - the extension of Playa Tamarindo beyond said river mouth.
The walk up the beach was lovely, with bright sunshine and the inviting waters begging to be swum in. Unfortunately as we were turning back, about an hour and a bit from the river, the thunder and lightning started booming and crashing away. Sam's skill as a meteorologist took a further knock, as he predicted the storm would miss us (as the wind was blowing the wrong way) seconds before the first big drops of rain fell.
About 5 minutes later, it started persisting down, and as we were huddling under a grove of coconut trees, discussing the advice given to us by our Houstonite friend back in Granada in case of thunderstorms overhead (i.e lie in a ditch and start praying), a lightning bolt, without a word of a lie, struck an rock offshore about 200 metres directly in front of us
While neither of us were all that pleased at prospect of being struck by lightning, or maybe because of it, we decided to hasten down the beach in the direction of Tamarindo as the booms and crashes subsided. We had to wait a fair while before a boat came to pick us up in the pouring rain, but at least there was no more signs of the lightning, or of crocodiles.
We had Subway for dinner, but Sam was pretty miffed when we got duped by a 'read the fine print' deal and ended up paying far more than we thought we would - damn it!!
Happy with our first stop on the last leg of our Central American adventure, we await the rest of our travels here with eager anticipation!