Day 3-the Casa Montezuma Mystery

Trip Start Jan 14, 2013
Trip End Apr 11, 2013

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Casa Montezuma?

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Wednesday, January 16, 2013

After a record 13 hours of sleep for each Millhouser, we awoke our second morning in San Jose feeling refreshed and excited. A quick breakfast at the now familiar hotel buffet, and we started off to the town of Monetzuma, which is on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, a several hour trip from San Jose.  In order to save time, we planned on taking a ferry from the town of Puntarenas across the Nicoya gulf to the town of Paquera. 

But first we had to stop by Walmart, to stock up on supplies.  Yes, Costa Rica has not one but several Walmarts, and they look, perhaps not totally unsurprisingly, just like our Walmarts!  We did have several security guards watching our car which was surrounded by a tall metal fence, which was both reassuring and disconcerting. 

Due a miscommunication between Paul, myself, and Terri (our Garmin navigational fairy), we rushed from Walmart to the port of Puntarenas in order to catch the ferry (a good two hour drive), only to realize instead of just minutes, we actually had hours to spare.  Which was just as well as the ferry fills up quickly during the high season and it is a several hour wait for the next ferry if you arrive too late to secure a spot.

On the hour long ferry ride, we met a lovely Canadian ex-pat who lives in the town of Montezuma with her darling eight-year old son.  This woman has lived in Montezuma for several years working as a yoga instructor at one of the more posh hotels in the area.  Kindly, she gave us her contact information and encouraged us to contact her if we needed anything.  This becomes noteworthy later on . . . 

Once in Paquera, we still had another hour-long drive to Montezuma, and the girls were getting grumpy and tired.  We made a quick stop at a grocery store to get a few supplies to survive our first night at our new home.  Only we quickly realized there had been a terrible mistake.

We had rented (or so we thought), Casa Montezuma, a beautiful three story, three bedroom home situated on 2 private acres of land in the jungle just steps from a private beach.  Pictures of the home showed monkeys, lizards, and birds gracing the foliage just outside the open windows.  Instead, we found ourself in a rather drab, one story, two bedroom house in the middle of a Tico neighborhood.  The only animals were chickens (the coop a mere 25 feet from our bedroom window).  The manager Humberto, spoke impeccable English and was excited to show us around and was so eager to please that we swallowed our raw disappointment until we could figure out what went wrong with our reservation.

Resigned that we had to spend at least one night in this place, the girls and I tried to take a shower to wash off the travel grime.  While taking a miserably cold shower (turns out, there was no hot water), I looked over and screamed, "Paul, SCORPION!"  Sure enough, hiding behind the bathroom door, was a 3 inch black scorpion.  Paul rushed in and quickly caught the scorpion while I calmed Vivian's hysterics.  Once captured, Vivian was fascinated by the little bugger, and she spent a great deal of time chatting with him, and she even insisted he join us for storytime.  Click here to see a video of the scorpion!

To make a long (painfully so, for us!) story short, we learned that there are two Casa Montezumas:  the one we thought that we had booked, which is indeed very nice and has been around for some years, and the one in which we found ourselves.  The manager of the latter apparently has a habit of adopting the names of existing local businesses and marketing his version on the web.  We wound up staying two nights there and one night at another intermediate place before finding a home for our remaining ten days in the area--tune in next time for the details!  Luckily, we still took advantage of the beautiful beach at Montezuma, and met some new friends--Russ, Tania, and 4 year-old Leo--who turn out to be from Colorado!  They've been coming here for three months or so a year for the last 10 years, and have even built a lovely house in the hills above Montezuma.
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