Odds and Ends

Trip Start Sep 17, 2010
Trip End Oct 03, 2010

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Where I stayed
Coco's Sunset

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Guanacaste,
Sunday, September 26, 2010

I'm not sure now exactly what the weather system is we’ve got here. Originally, one of the locals told me it was a tropical depression. Today I talked to one who told me it’s a hurricane and has been named Hurricane Matthew.  (Actually he said it was "Huracán Mateo" and I’m just guessing that when they do the news in English they translate the name, even though nothing would prevent them from calling it Hurricane Mateo.)

Either way it sure has been raining a lot.  It’s always rained every day but not all day every day with a constant cloud cover so we never see the sun.

Ever hopeful one day I drove out to Parque Nacional Volcán Tenorio hoping the clouds would clear when I got there.  That’s about a two hour drive one way.  No such luck.  I decided not to try the dirt road into the national park in the rain and, instead, had a nice meal at a local “soda” and returned home.

While driving a section of paved road the 18-wheeler in front of me suddenly was all over the road.  He didn’t look out of control at all but he was zigzagging back and forth across the double yellow line in a very unpredictable pattern.  I’ve been driving here long enough to know exactly what he was doing because I knew that when I reached the spot where he was, I, too, would be playing the driving game – “try to drive a route that misses all the potholes.”  There aren’t just a few, there are a lot, and they’re deep.  I just noticed that I have a bent rim on one of my wheels that probably happened when I either didn’t see or couldn’t miss a pothole.  That will, I’m sure, give the car rental company an excuse to charge me more money. 

Part of the car rental racket here is that they charge you for every dent, ding or scratch on the car but they never pay to fix any of the cosmetic damage.  When you rent the car they just catalog all the current damage and if there’s anything new they charge you.  I’m sure when they’re done with the car they sell it “as is” and just pocket all the money they charged all their customers for repairs.

Another day I explored some of the beaches on the Nicoya Peninsula.  One of them is billed as the most beautiful beach in Costa Rica – Playa Conchal.  A “concha” is a seashell and the beach is made up of billions of seashells that have washed up and been crushed into a course sand.  They probably cover the bottom underwater, too, because I’m told the water is a turquoise blue, which is really unusual for a Pacific beach.  It pretty much just looked gray when there was no sun to shine on it, though.

I also went to a beach that’s a surfing beach during the day and, since 1991, a protected reserve at night because, in the right season, it’s a nesting ground for the leatherback turtle, an endangered species.  I wasn’t planning on staying up all night at the reserve to see if maybe the turtles would come up on the beach that night (nesting season starts next month in October) but I was hoping to go through a turtle museum my guide book mentioned.  It looked to be permanently closed.

The leatherback is particularly impressive with a shell up to about 1.6 meters (5 feet) in length and weighing in at up to 360 kg (800 lb.).

Not many pictures because the constant rain isn’t conducive.  I’ve been intrigued, however, by how bilingual this place is.  English is very common and lots of signs are posted in either just English or bilingually in both Spanish and English.  I took a few pictures of signs for Outback Jack, the Australian Road Kill Grill, and a sign advertising homes and condos for sale at a rather exclusive gated residential community.  American real estate companies (Re-Max and Century 21) are common here and many homes and lots have “For Sale” signs, though some also say “Se vende”.
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