01/28/2010 - 02/02/2010 90 °F
The flight from Osa to Manuel Antonio (Quepos airport) departed from a different airport than the one we arrived ... at (I’m still going to try to teach English). To get to this airport we took a one hour plus boat ride up the shoreline and then inland through mangrove forests on a winding river. This was a really fun ride. To get onto the river we had to navigate the breakers at the river mouth, surfing and zig-zagging between big waves. Then we boogied up the winding river in big banking turns. It was a lot of fun. A short van ride to the airport, nobody cared about my heavy baggage again, and we were on the way to Quepos. I fell asleep during the half hour flight.
We arrived at the hotel around 10:30 or 11:00. Oliver, the manager, was a bit flustered because normal checkin time is 2:00. Oliver was flustered a lot while we were there. As Ann put it, “Oliver is not much of a problem solver.” Buena Vista Villas is situated on a steep hill above a private beach. It is a maze. A maze situated on a steep hill is kind of a drag because when you get lost (you will get lost) it’ll cost you a steep climb. Initially we just rolled with it and flailed around on the hillside trying to get from point A to point B, but after a day of this we started calling the shuttle. We had a small room with two queen beds next to each other, quite a change from the spacious, semi-private accommodations we had become used to. It all worked out great though.
The next morning we visited Manuel Antonio National Park. It was the same kind of tour that we did in Corcovado National Park. We followed a naturalist with a spotting scope and saw the sights. We got some great shots of sloths, two and three toed. There was an anteater in a tree ... which really could have been anything, it looked like a ball of fur. Overall it was a nice walk. If you ever do this trip bring snorkeling gear along because when the tour is over there are some good snorkeling spots and it’ll cost you $10 to get back into the park on another day.
Since I was so close to Quepos where my ESL training would take place I wanted to spend a few hours there getting my bearings and locating the important spots. I put some directions and maps I had received from the ESL people on a flash drive and took the bus down the hill to Quepos with Dad and Ann. It was stinkin’ hot that day. I stopped in an internet cafe to get the maps and directions printed out and then we were on our way to find the TEFL International training sight. We found it, up a dirt road a little ways out of town. Next I wanted to find the house where I would be staying for the duration of the class. Are you familiar with “girl directions”? I think all the directions in Quepos are “girl directions”. There are no street signs. Here are the directions to the house where I will be living:
From the bus station, take a left and walk to the corner. Cross the street toward the Banco de Costa Rica. Do not turn, continue walking past the bank. You will come to the soccer field. There is an alley to the left of the soccer field. Walk down this alley. You will pass the post office (correo) on you left. When you come to the end of the alley and the field, take a left and walk to the end of the block. You will see a Pali supermarket across the street in one direction and an orange hotel in the other. From there, you will want to cross both streets. Be careful crossing here. Walk down the street toward the bus park. Take a left and walk past the repair shop. You will see a small entrance on the left. Take this left and walk 50 meters. The first house on the right is the one.
I have just been informed by the girl sitting next to me that these are not girl directions, these are Costa Rican directions. At any rate, we couldn’t find the place. I emailed the TEFL girls and told them I couldn’t find the place. They responded, “It’s right by the Pali supermarket. You can’t miss it.” Whatever. Enough of slogging around Quepos, back to Buena Vista Villas and some air conditioning.
The restaurants in Manuel Antonio are awesome. I think our favorite restaurant was Agua Azul. Outrageously good sea food (and other stuff) in huge portions. $60 for three people with drinks and dessert. I don’t know if there was a Tuna glut in Manuel Antonio while we were there or what but if you order Tuna you’ll get a HUGE chunk. I almost couldn’t finish it. I had to skip dessert. Barba Rosa, El Avion, and the one I forgot the name of were also great. El Avion is built in and around a C-123 cargo plane that was involved in the Iran-Contra Affair starring Oliver North. The sister plane of the one the restaurant was built around was shot down over Nicaragua.
I think it’s safe to say that at this point in the trip we were pretty pooped out. We spent our last few days at the pool. When we weren’t at the pool we were eating or figuring out where to eat or watching the Denver news in our air conditioned room. I’m not sure why Denver news was on there. It was the only English language news program available aside from Fox news (but that’s not really news is it?).
Dad and Ann were picked up by a shuttle early Tuesday morning. That was weird. Two solid weeks with the family and now I’m left alone in Costa Rica. It was a bit of an adjustment to say the least. I stayed in the room until 11:00, taking advantage of the nice hotel for as long as I could. At 11:00 I called for a shuttle and then caught a taxi to Quepos and the Wide Mouth Frog Backpacker. Now I was on my own. Class starts Monday.