Trip Start Dec 14, 2011
Trip End Jan 05, 2012

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Guanacaste,
Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wow, we are off to a late start this morning! It is 9:30 AM and I just sat down to breakfast at the El Silencio del Camp after packing and showering. We didn't get back to the hotel last night until around 12:30 this morning. It isn’t raining yet this morning, but it looks like it could any moment.

We started out last night’s festivities at the Lava Lounge in La Fortuna where we had met Bryan the night before, but it was boring so we just had one drink and left for Don Rufinos, the same place we had eaten the night before. Don Rufinos has a great bar where you can sit outside by the sidewalk under cover. We decided to sit there and drink until we decided what to do about eating. It was an active place with a lot of tourists and travelers; it’s considered La Fortuna’s best restaurant.

We got into conversations with several different groups of people, including Dave and Dinah who sat down next to us. They were a couple our age from London and had gone "canyoning" that day. I had never heard of canyoning and am sorry I missed it in the guidebook. Canyoning is repelling down waterfalls; in this case, one that was 150 feet high! They said it was petty exhilarating. Around 8 PM they left to have dinner at another restaurant, but came back afterwards, saw Linda and me still sitting at the same place (we had decided to eat at Don Rufinos again) and joined us for more drinks. We drank and talked until after midnight. They were very fun people.

We also talked with a nice-looking younger couple from Russia; that conversation, unfortunately, was interrupted when Dave and Dinah returned. They were giving us good insights into traveling in Russia.

It is almost 10 AM; I had better go get Linda going so we can hit the road. We drive to Tamarindo today and I am not sure how long it will take, but am thinking something like 5 hours. I hope the weather is better there.

Well, it isn’t bright clear skies in Tamarindo, but close. And it isn’t raining. It is 3:30 PM and I just sat down poolside at the Jardin del Eden Hotel in Tamarindo. This hotel looks like it will be a very pleasant place to spend Christmas. Tonight we will be taking in the mandatory $100 per person Christmas dinner. The setting for the dinner in the poolside restaurant looks very nice. Should be fun.

We pulled away from the hotel in La Fortuna this morning about 10:15 and pulled into this hotel about 3:15 PM, so my guess of a five-hour drive was spot on. We drove through occasional maximum-wiper-speed rainstorms as we rounded Lake Arenal. The drive north up the east side of the lake is billed as one of Costa Rica’s prettiest, and it didn’t disappoint. But, it was dramatically different from our experience making that drive 20 years ago. At that time, the road was mostly dirt and we forded three of four rivers without bridges. Now the road is nicely paved and has bridges; it is winding, but it is an easy drive. And it is very pretty.

It is now 6 PM. We sat at the pool for only a short while after arriving (which was when I was making the previous journal entry). We had to drink our complimentary welcome smoothies, which were very good. But then Linda and I got up, left the hotel, and walked down to the village; she walked through shops while I walked the beach. It’s a long beach with good sand; it will be good for a morning walk/run. It has been a couple of years now since I have spent Christmas morning running a beach after having done it for a gazillion years in a row.

While I was walking the beach a cute Tico, Elizabeth, approached me and asked if I wanted a massage. She has a table and gives massages on the beach. She also would do a service call (for massages, I assume) to our hotel room. I told her I would consider doing that tomorrow. We will see.

I have come down to our hotel’s bar, which is a part of the restaurant. Both are situated next to the pool in a very appealing setting, especially now with the evening lights on.

Linda has just joined me. We will try making phone calls home via Skype for Christmas Eve.
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