1 month down, 2 and a bit to go

Trip Start May 23, 2010
Trip End Aug 31, 2010

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Where I stayed

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of San Jose,
Friday, June 18, 2010

After collecting more insect bites overnight in Manuel Antonio, we made our way under grey skies and drizzle back to San Jose.  We had a relaxing day and evening and made plans to visit a local cinema to watch the A-Team movie.  However, when we arrived at the cinema, they were showing the premier of some awful Jennifer Lopez vehicle called 'Plan B' instead...no thanks.

The next day was our last full one in Costa Rica, and while the country wasn't able to supply any of its traditional insect irritation, it did give us the hint that it was time for us to move on with a downpour of such intensity and duration that drains overflowed and gutters became rivers, thoroughly outdoing its previous monsoons.  We were having lunch at a football-themed soda (like a cross between an American diner and greasy spoon), watching the dismal England match against Algeria, when the rain began. I recall from my English A-Level that there's a literary device called pathetic fallacy, where the weather reflects the mood of events.  Well, England certainly were pathetic and any thoughts that they could win the World Cup were definitely pure fallacy.  The best bit was the commentary.  The England vs USA match we'd seen had a comedy commentator who over-rolled the rīs in everything: "Esteven Gerrrrrrrrarrrrrrrrrrrrrd, GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL INGLATERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRA!".  Bizarrely, when Peter Crouch was subbed on the field, the commentary played a chimpanzee noise...maybe it was a comment on the team as a whole, or else they couldn't find a giraffe sound effect.  This time, however, they decided to pipe in commentary from the radio, like in the old days of Test Match coverage on the Beeb.  A strange echo effect made the most mundane passages of play (of which there were many) seem dramatic.  At the end of the match, a local old boy wandered past and asked "England, man...what happened?".  I was lost for words.

After the match, we saw another cinema showing The A-Team, but unfortunately it was dubbed into Spanish.  The posterīs tag line was "There is no Plan B".  The irony wasn't lost on us!  A little later, I had to venture into town for our laundry and in just 15 minutes got drenched to the bone.  Then I broke a camera filter.  It was not a good day, but Emma's patience with my Donald Duck-like temper was the stuff of saintliness.  Luckily, a nice meal in the evening also cheered me up.  Time to move on.

Despite the rain, the first month of our trip has been amazing fun, though Emma and I have made some observations about backpacking again after a 7 or 8 year hiatus:

 - about 80% of the other backpackers we've seen in Central America have at least one, often very badly done.  Are they issued as going away presents?

Laptops - you're now something of a leper if you don't take your computer backpacking with you and have WiFi everywhere you go.  I thought most backpackers were poor student types!

Dreadlocks - I know you're on a budget, but a shampoo and a trim isn't going to bankrupt you.  The same individuals will inevitably be found in beach towns making bracelets, playing one bongo drum (badly) and/or think it's uber cool to spend their evenings whirling round those bits of string with fire at the end.  It's not cool.  Get a real job.

Spanish - on the subject of hair, in any group of Spanish backpackers, there's always one girl with a pierced eyebrow and very short hair, which goes into a scraggly tail at the back and is shaved to grade 1 at the sides.  It's a good look...in prison.

Airport Departure Tax - in many countries, having spent a lot of much-needed money on tourism to stimulate their economies, they like to give you a fond farewell by gouging you for a steep departure tax as you leave.  If you don't pay, you don't leave.  Isn't that called a ransom in the Western world?

Hot water - it's not that hard to sort out in accommodation, is it?

Israelis - for most of them (but not all), politeness is optional.

Latino music - mostly RīnīB, every other song seems to have the lyric corazon (heart) in the chorus.  My Spanish is nowhere near good enough to understand much else, but maybe this is just part of wider campaign about prevent heart disease.  However, given the enormous amount of beans in the Latino diet, I can only assume this isn't the case since the playground song taught us that they are extremely good for the heart (albeit with less desirable side-effects).

Bathrooms - it seems that when they devised waste water systems in Central America, they didn't envisage the need to use any pipes wider than a drinking straw.  Hence, the dreaded 'waste bin by the looī.

Age - Iīm 30 now and looking at the above, becoming a grumpy old man.  Luckily, I still have a fresh-faced 20-something with me to keep me in check!
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M on

Things can only get better.....xxM

Richard Hunt (Cousin, not Dad!) on

Have you ever thought of casting for One Foot in the Grave Andy? ;-)

Paul, Gareth, Jen and Peter on

Hello!!! We are all having a BBQ in London - obviously with a South American twist. We have watched the A-team and the football in English :) muchos funos (hee hee). Lovely to hear about the insects - by the way we have a toilet that flushes (yey :)) - miss you.

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