San Antonio de Belen

Trip Start Jan 01, 2001
Trip End Dec 28, 2010

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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Since we saw the volcano we are leaving today to get to the RV Park in Belen, just outside the capital San Jose. This was a very scenic drive on good roads but consisted of lots of hills to go up and down and quite a few speed bumps with very few being marked. In all it took about five hours to get to the trailer park, luckily we knew where it was as it is very easy to miss. Once inside we tried to find somewhere to park, unfortunately it is really laid out for much smaller vehicles and the only spots we could have got in were too wet. In the end we parked on the paved road next to the owner's house, we can still get access to water and electric, but will have to move to empty our tanks not a big problem. We have decided to stay here for a week to have a bit of a rest and catch up on some chores.
1st- A bit of cleaning and shopping today.
2nd- Into San Jose on the moped to visit a couple of museums. The roads and drivers are not really any worst than other towns; as usual the main problem is the lack of street names. That said once you can get one in each direction it becomes very easy as it consists of just numbered streets, Calles in one direction and Aviendas in the other. The first museum is the museum of Pre Columbian Gold. This was a fantastic place; the details in the carvings were excellent, especially when you remember that the Spanish took most for themselves. In addition it also house the Coin collection, this is also very interesting, as well as examples of gold and silver coins and notes you also get information about how it evolved. As an example at one time they used other countries coins by drilling a hole in it and stamping it with the Costa Rican seal. Another example, in the 1950's they used there own money but drilled a hole in some of the coins and these could only be used by Lepers and those in isolation hospitals. They were so good that we spent almost three hours there; unfortunately they would not let us use the video. After a bite to eat our next stop was the Museum of Jade, this is a collection made by the main insurance company. This also is an excellent museum; it not only covers the Jade but also has examples of the gold, pottery and carving. Once again there was very good information about all aspects. Some of the carving of the jade figures and belt buckles was superb and once again we spent an enjoyable couple of hours before returning to the camp.
3rd - Lazy period in the trailer park, catching up on some chores and having a break for a few days.
6th- Set off this morning to go to a Mercedes garage to get some work done. We wanted a leak by the window sorted out, but on arrival we were told that they would be sending us to a coach builder to do the work. A couple from the coach builders, Sanabria, came to the garage and we then followed them to their workshop near Desamperados. It's on the southern outskirts of San Jose. One of the owners spoke very good English and so we were able to explain in detail the problems that we were having, in fact we also added in some extra jobs as they were capable of all body repairs. We were able to sleep in their front yard each night and they were very helpful; in fact the English speaker Raul took us out one evening to visit his in-laws at their house in the hills overlooking the town of San Jose. The view from the house was quite spectacular, he had been trying to take us during the day but it was always too cloudy, it was an extremely pleasant evening.
9th- The repairs were finally finished today, all very proficient and reasonably priced, and it was time to follow them back to the Mercedes garage for some servicing to be done. They did not take us into the yard until 5 pm but we could then settle down for the night.
10th- This morning we were up bright and early expecting them to start work about 7.30 but nobody appeared until 9.30 and even then it was only to take details. Eventually they did do some work, but at this garage it seems extremely slow and to make matters worse we have found out that the heavy vehicle section only works every other Saturday. This means that we have to wait until Monday for them to finish the vehicle.
11th/12th - Did some shopping using moped other wise it was just sitting around in the garage.
13th - The garage started on the vehicle again and managed to get most of the jobs done. The one big problem we had been having was trying to get the speed limiter fixed, in the afternoon Mike ended up speaking to the overall workshop manager about the problem. It also happened that their was a Mercedes man over from Germany working there at the time and between them they were able to get the vehicle computer to work and get the information on how to fix it. It took until the evening of the 14th to get it fixed, but I will give them full marks for customer relations.
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