The anonymous and omniscient “they” claim travel is broadening. That was certainly the case with the third leg of our journey.
Our driver promised it would not take longer than thirty minutes to get to the airport. But San Jose traffic is usually insane, busy and a white-knuckle ride under the best of conditions, I insisted he come extra early. Consequently, we arrived nearly two hours before our flight. Had we come at the more logical time, we would have missed the show.
The waiting room at the puddle-jumper airport was standing room only. The center of attention was a family returning from the peninsula, its great surfing beaches, and other pastimes. The police examined every bag and then the police dog gave their luggage a thorough sniff test as well.
After the family passed inspection, a young guy, who resembled a human pack animal with more luggage than one person could easily manage, was the next star. The police removed a plastic bag containing green stuff and a bag of pills. Eventually, he passed as well.
Then the waiting passengers had to place all luggage and personal bags in front of the room. The police dog walked around sniffing the luggage. Sometimes, the dog lost interest in sniffing and tried to wander around. Perhaps he became bored or suffered from Attention Deficit Disorder.
Sansa Airline’s runway ends on a cliff which makes takeoffs and landing gasp-worthy fun, depending on the winds.
Costa Rica is the only place I can truly relax. But my stomach clenched when I came across a palm-size scorpion in our son’s house. He claims to have an understanding with the scorpions. If they refrain from stinging him, he releases them. However, if they sting, they die.
My aversion to bugs comes with a different rule. If you come in my house, get ready to go to bug nirvana. But, this was not my house and my rules did not apply; not even when a sumo wrestler of a tarantula ambled by my bed. He too lived to see another day.
In Costa Rica, Christmas Eve is the big day, filled with celebrations on the beaches or wherever. Christmas is reserved to honor the baby Jesus. On the beach, people improvise artificial shade with palm fronds layered on top of sturdy wooden stilts or erect tent canopies on metal stilts. Why? Costa Rica is almost at the equator, and it is hot. Except for early mornings and just before sunset, walking barefoot on the blazing hot sand is a special type of excruciating dermabrasion. Hubby calls it a free pedicure.
Hubby’s legs and feet are blinding white and only see the light of day in Costa Rica. Consequently, it did not take long for his legs and the tops of his feet to turn beet red. But his burns morph into suntans that last forever.
Few things compare with early morning walks on the beach. We discovered a Christmas tree some clever person built out of driftwood. There was a moment while the brain accepts the tropical setting for Christmas trees and decorations. And then you do a happy dance.
New Year’s Eve is another holiday Costa Ricans take seriously. The party begins at sunrise. To make our connecting flight on New Year’s Day, we took the last puddle-jumper flight back to San Jose. As we waited for our plane to land and disgorge another group of tourists, the cab and tour bus drivers enjoyed adult beverages while awaiting their fares. Hope our pilots hold off partying until after we land.
After our boutique hotel experience, New Year’s Eve we opted for a known hotel in San Jose. It was nearly perfect. The elevator was a 4×4 box with the capacity of 500 kilos or eight passengers. Cannot imagine how eight people and their luggage could fit unless they balance luggage on their heads. When you push the elevator button, it takes longer for the doors to close than to reach your floor.
Whether you are an intrepid driver or a terrified passenger, driving through San Jose is a harrowing experience on the best of days. But on New Year’s Day, the streets were almost empty, and the drive from the hotel to the airport was speedy and dare I say calm.
Guess most folks were sleeping off their revelries of the night before.
On our flight home, we flew over a string of active volcanos in Nicaragua; imbibed more Bailey’s; and landed to breathe the allergy-inducing air of home.