Luxury lodging and alcoholics

Trip Start Sep 28, 2007
Trip End Jun 25, 2008

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Where I stayed

Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Spurge! That is the title of the boxed text in the Lonely Planet shoestring guide to recommend Hotel Aranjuez where we stayed at in San Jose. It wasn't our choice to stay there - GAP organises our accommodation, but we were not complaining.

It's  comprised  of vintage wooden homes put together, nicely presented  rooms, an ice maker, free internet and local calls, a beautiful garden and best of all, a buffet breakfast was  included in the room price. It had delicious fruits, juices (guava was my favourite) and cereals, assortments of cold and hot dishes, cakes and pastries and they made you pancakes and omelets on demand.  It was fantastic.

Plus, we got to eat it under a sun umbrella in the  lush garden, watching hummingbirds, tanagers and a resident squirrel, all of  which I photographed to varying degrees of success.

We managed to pull ourselves away briefly to explore San Jose. We thought it seemed more like a western city, perhaps a bit like Auckland 30 years ago.

Just after stopping at a park we ran into a drunk Costa Rican man and a younger girl who were so excited to talk to us. The man would have been in his late thirties with short black curly hair, a boyish face and ruddy cheeks. He was dressed in a rumpled suit and asked us where we were from. When we said New Zealand he whooped for joy and gave us big bear hugs, though we think any country would have got the same rapturous response. He kept saying it was the best day to be in Costa Rica but he didn't tell us why, and the girl gave us her email address after we'd been chatting five minutes.  Later we came across an alcoholics anonymous sign in Spanish that made me laugh, thinking of the man absolutely trolleyed at lunch time.

After wandering along the long pedestrian street of stores we went into the traditional market. They had medicinal herb stands where standing in front and breathing in the smell was heavenly. They also had a cabinet with a replica of Jesus Christ inside in the middle of the market by the butcher and fruit stall that looked out of place. The market also had a number of saddle shops and lots of nice leather belts and bags.

Coming back we looked at the main cathedral and a smaller one and the main town theatre. It had vivid green parrots roosting on the top, instead of pigeons, as you would get at home.

I was impressed to see a statue of a street sweeper in the main square - not normally the type of person honoured.

The final bizarre sight of the day were the men's briefs on a mannequin made to look from the front like an elephant face with a trunk sticking out in a suggestive manner.  It's hard to imagine an occasion to wear them, but a first date wouldn't be one.
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