Travel day, Montezuma to Quepos.

I sat down at the table, looked up at the ceiling fan overhead and told it “I love you.” Out loud. It was about 7:30 AM.

Sweat was my companion throughout the travel day when I left Montezuma. First was the soporific bus, where I chatted with an elderly Cuban lady, understanding about 30% of what she said, between the noise of the grinding engine and the Cuban accent (where’d the “s” go?)

The bus took two hours, then it was a two hour wait until the ferry left. That’s 4 hours, and the guy in Montezuma had told me it would take about 5 to get all the way to Quepos. I was skeptical to begin with, but I quickly realized he had assumed I would take the expensive tourist boat-shuttle across the bay. No way! (By the time I arrived I was questioning my dedication to public transport.)

The ferry took an hour, during which my vocabulary was melted down to words like “sweltering, oven, breathless, roasted, drowning in one’s own sweat without a breath of air.” Good people watching. (Including 4 leathery expat Americans who discussed fishing at length, dogs, and then the various personal firearms they were buying, selling, and throwing into the mangrove swamp.)

Then a shared taxi with a Slovenian couple on their honeymoon and a Canadian (and all our bags) across Puntarenas, where an old man pushing an ice cream cart looked astonished and offended that cars would transgress so far as to drive down the street that he had set up shop in the middle of. The taxi driver on the other hand, was not at all surprised at his presence in the lanes.

Then a hurried meal at the shack across from the bus station, where all the wind I’d been missing on the boat showed up to blow the shredded cabbage off my plate, but I didn’t mind because it excused me hunkering right down with my face practically in the rice, which tasted great, and the pineapple & maracuya smoothie was divine. (And in googling it to check the spelling I finally just learned that a maracuya is a passion fruit.)

Then it was the bus to Jaco, and onward to Quepos, estimated length: 3 hours. On my first bus down from the Nicaraguan border last week I sat in front of a guy making odd sucking sounds, as if he was trying to vacuum some morsel of food out of his teeth. This may be a Costa Rican thing, since on my 4 hours to Quepos both my neighbor AND the guy on the other side of the aisle were doing it. Nearly continuously. Surround sound spit sucking. Tssk. Psssth. Sssssssst!

Costa Rica is purportedly a remarkably safe country, except for the rampant petty theft, so I sat with my bag overhead in clear sight and reassured myself that it was okay to arrive after dark, which I normally try not to do. About two hours after sunset it started raining. Hard.

I looked out the window in bemusement in Jaco at seeing a massive glass-fronted complex that housed gigantic installments of Pizza Hut, Quiznos, and KFC. The Pizza Hut looked like the sort of place one goes with one’s family to celebrate graduation. A hallucination out of the rainy night.

I checked in my guide book for hostels in Quepos and realized someone mixed up east and west somewhere along the way between the map and the words. Then the taxi rank that I was going to orient off wasn’t there either, so I walked and peered a bit into the rain until I realized I may have just accidentally checked out a bus station prostitute (I hate it when that happens) so I bowed out and asked for recommendations.

First I tried a tourist couple, but they were oddly clueless…I suspect they thought I was a con man. Next try: Subway. Another hallucination from another continent. The giant talking squirrel making sandwiches directed me two blocks down then one block up. There I found a continued lack of hostels, but an adorable elderly fellow pointed me towards an economical hotel called La Malinche. (If my memory serves, La Malinche, which may translate into something like “that cursed nasty lady”, refers to the indigenous woman who translated for Cortes, vastly facilitating his genocidal conquest of the Aztec Empire. She makes a nice hotel though.)

It was above budget, but with the dark and rain outside, I decided to splurge. Private bathroom! A delight, even without a toilet seat. Wall-mounted fan! Which sounded quite literally like a propeller plane, even on its lowest setting. I dreamed all night of the Red Baron and strafing trenches in 1916.

My definition of splurging.

Tomorrow 7 km onward to Manuel Antonio, with a beach and a famous national park.