March 7, 2009 - Saturday - Tamarindo to San Jose - After arriving at
Pavas Airport in San Jose from Tamarindo, I take a short taxi ride to
Hotel Casa Roland, which only costs 2,000 Colones (about $4). After checking in, I
have to lug my own bags to the room. This hotel is really funky. There are
corridors and lobbies all over the place, and the rooms are decorated with fine
art and antique furniture. Ceiling fans are used everywhere, including one in my
room. I take lots of photos.
It is about 30°C in my room - a welcome relief from the stifling heat at
Tamarindo, however I still want to cool things down a bit more. I figure out how
the air conditioner works and get the room temperature down to 25°C. I then have
a bit of a siesta and also work on my computer, since the hotel has high speed
wireless. It's sure nice to travel in a country that is so well connected to the
Internet, although perhaps I shouldn't spend so much time on the computer.
I have dinner at the Paragon Restaurante, which is recommended by the
hotel and is right across the street. It is a fancy place and they give a 10%
discount for hotel guests, but it is empty except for one couple and
myself. I have a glass of Chardonnay wine, a chicken breast entrée with roasted
potatoes and vegetables, and an Americano to finish. The total with taxes is
US$15.29 after the discount - cheap! I leave the servers a couple of US$ as a
tip and get out of there. The service is impeccable, the food is excellent, and
yet there is nothing Costa Rican about the restaurant, so it doesn't appeal to
me. It's as if I was eating in a restaurant back home in Victoria.
March 8, 2009 - Sunday - San Jose to Victoria - I'm up at 5am because I
set my iPhone alarm, and it changed to Daylight Saving Time overnight. Costa
Rica doesn't observe Daylight Saving, so the alarm is an hour early. I went back to bed for
a half hour, then got up, had a shower, and finished packing. I hauled my big
bag down to the lobby and then gave the room one last check before leaving. I'm
prepaid, so check-out is easy. They call a taxi for me and I'm at the
international airport in a half hour. The taxi was off the meter and I paid
US$20. The hotel said the fare would be about 10,000 Colones, so that's about
the same cost.
They pull the American Airlines 757 to the Gate 3 jetway at 7:30am, so things
are happening. As they board passengers at the Delta gate, they are doing
another security check of carry-on bags right in the jetway. They don't allow any liquids such as
bottles of water and pop as you board aircraft in San Jose. They
searched all bags again, even though we have already passed through security before
getting to the gates. They sell this stuff in the gate area but won't let anyone
take it aboard - goofy!
Mexicana, Frontier and Delta all take off while I wait for my flight departure.
My American Airlines flight leaves San Jose on time and arrives in Dallas/Ft. Worth a few minutes
early. I'm seated next to two young Tico guys on the flight out of San Jose.
There are some terrific views of Lake Nicaragua, and the coasts of Honduras,
Belize and Galveston. They serve an omelet for breakfast which I sure
appreciate, since I missed the breakfast they were going to serve at the hotel
in San Jose starting at 7am.
In Dallas/Ft. Worth I'm departing from gate A9 for Seatac, which is located
in the original terminal. It's not as grand as the D terminal where I departed
for San Jose on my way down a couple of weeks ago. I take the train to get to
this terminal. This train is much better than Seatac's since it is elevated and
it is also behind the security lines, so I don't have to go through that ordeal
again. Oops I should be at gate C17 instead of A9 - I get back on the little train and
15 minutes later I'm at the proper gate with time to spare! Those flight
attendants from my last flight steered me wrong. From now on I'll just check the
display boards once I get into the airports. Only refreshments are
served gratis since this this a domestic flight. Beer, wine, cocktails and sandwiches are all
extra charge, so I buy a deli sandwich for
US$6 (quite good).
We were flying through slush as we approached Seattle, but it cleared by the
time we were on final approach. Needless to say I'm wearing my coat in the
terminal! It's controlled chaos at the Horizon Airlines gates, but I have time
before my 11pm departure to Victoria. Lots of people are waiting for flights to
Kelowna, Edmonton, Montana, and other destinations, and there are snow delays
all over the place. I strike up a conversation with some folks who are flying to
Montana after vacationing in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - their first trip outside
My flight to Victoria leaves on time, and thank goodness my checked bag shows up
in Victoria all in one piece. I clear customs and take a taxi home, arriving
around 1am. It's been a marathon day, so I go straight to bed. When I get up in
the morning, there is snow coming down - welcome to Canada!
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