From Dorset to Liberia...

Trip Start Jul 21, 2012
Trip End Aug 09, 2012

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Monday, July 23, 2012

Well Central America Summer Voyage 2012 has begun.  Had a particularly long day yesterday.... I rose at 2.15am and successfully navigated myself around New House, had a cup of coffee, grabbed my rucksack and trundled off, stopping off to pick up my driver.  We had a nice, clear drive across Dorset....starry skies that were slowly brightening as the sun started to rise.  After a quick coffee recharge with the Hampshire police at a service station just outside Southampton we whizzed across and made it to Heathrow an hour or so earlier than I though we would.  This meant I had a tedious wait for my plane to depart.  Nearly snoozed off over my bacon and brie breakfast sandwich but eventually got called to board the plane.

Ten hours of flight were to follow.  I flew with United Airlines (I had booked a Lufthanza flight but in the nature of airline alliances this seemed to have been changed) and they didn't overly impress me.  The choice of films was somewhat limited - I watch a Ewan Macgregor film about setting up a fish farm in the Yemen, slept through The Hunger Games and watched some dire Jennifer Aniston film about a commune.  The food certainly wasn't the best I've had on a plane - who designs these meals?  The fact that someone sat down and thought "glazed carrots, strange shaped potato gnocchi and beef brisket in a cranberry gravy sauce" bewilders me, but I happily scoffed my first lunch at about 11am UK time.  Another noted point that puts United below my airline hierachy is that you appeared to have to buy beer and wine....poor show compared to Quantas who will give you a bottle of sparkling Jacob's Creek if you want it.  

On top of the lack of film and the poor dinner options, I was sat next to a Ned Flanders who insisted on calling me Maam every time I engaged in conversation with him.  Most of the flight (9.75 hours of it), he played continuous Plants versus Zombies on his i-padr.  He was from Texas, but is in the process of emigrating to the UK and had been to check out expensive pads in Surrey.  He commented that the UK was cooler and wetter than Texas, which to me just seems to be the tip of the iceberg.  

Finally I landed in Houston, Texas.  By this time it was about 7pm UK time, 1pm Texas time, midday Costa Rica time) I dealt with the US customs business (although I was only transitting, I had to purchase a special ESTA on line before hand, but that seemed to have done the job).  With a few hours to spare, I explored the airport - somewhat lacking in shops etc... although there was a fine outlet selling astronaut space suits.  I weighed up dining options and went for the All American Ruby's Diner experience - a Texan sized burger and fries served with a cold (and rather tasteless) Sam Adams beer.  A couple more hours to spare after my snack, I managed to hack into the airport wifi and facebooked a bit in an attempt to not snooze off.  

I boarded my second flight at 5pmish Texas time and was fast asleep before the plane even took off.  I don't know what the meal option was (or if indeed there was one) as I was asleep.  I was sat next to a Canadian woman in her 90's who was off on a voyage with her son.  After a quick flight which I largely slept through, I arrived in steamy Liberia, Costa Rica and added another passport stamp to my rapidly getting fuller passport.

I was collected by one of the owners of Hospedje Dodera ( a rather plump man with a (possibly) Canadian accent and camp mannerisms) who told me about the fiesta taking place in the town this week.  I declined - beer swilling, tequila downing latinos after a 27 hour day are not my top priority.  Instead I nested down in my first Central American roost and got 12 hours kip.  The room was comfy enough with a nice fan and a TV (but no remote) but has the downside of being on the main road and there seems to be an ant colony crawling up the walls.

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