1 month down, 2 and a bit to go
Trip Start May 23, 2010
32Trip End Aug 31, 2010
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Where I stayed
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
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:
Tattoos - 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!