Friday, March 24, 2006

costa rica March 22-29, 2006

Lightening strikes and the journey gets off to a bit of a rocky start.
My flight out of BRO is delayed due to an apparent lightening strike on the HOU to BRO run -- causing the mechanics much consternation.... for well over an hour past the scheduled departure time.

There is only one flight to Liberia airport today, and it is going to take off without me.
Nothing to be done but weigh my options - 1) spend the night in Houston 2) give up and go home or 3)grab a seat on a later flight to San Jose (still in the Costa Rica but not anywhere near where I am expected) and take it on faith that the contest organizers will be able to formulate a plan for me by the time I arrive.

I call Kirk and Walter who are both already in Houston and expecting me to arrive in time for the flight we were all supposed to be on to Liberia. I tell them what I have done and Kirk expresses dismay -- his grasp of geography is less fuzzy than mine and he says San Jose is a 4-5 hour drive from the beach -- and has something of a reputation as being not the safest of areas.

Nevertheless, I forge ahead with my plan, initiating a last-minute baggage re-tag and catch the 6 PM flight to San Jose. The flight is full but I still manage to score an elite upgrade and gratefully sink into a first class seat for the 3.5 hour flight. A good omen, I think. Kirk has already emailed the event organizers from Houston and I do the same to make sure they know when and where I will arrive and after that can only hope someone will be there to meet me with instructions -- I have no phone number or backup plan.

After waiting in line for nearly 45 minutes to talk to immigration, I collect my luggage - which has miraculously arrived in the same location as me - and step into a mad chaotic throng. Lots of pushing and shoving and taxi offers and my hopes begin to dim but one determined young man has pushed to the front with a hand-lettered sign that reads "Lucinga Wieringa." I have never been so happy to see my name misspelled!

So three guys in San Jose - one of whom is a friend of the boyfriend of Yumi who is one of the organizer's - have somehow been persuaded to spend their evening making the airport run to pick me up and take me to the Hostel Alchemist in the heart of San Jose. The hostel, newly opened in a large old house, is in fact so new that it is empty. Plenty of room at the inn. It turns out that one of the guys who has picked me up is the owner of the hostel who is understandingly glum about its current state of emptiness. I learn this from chatting with the third gentleman who happens to be the only other tenant - a Dutch student here working with a human rights group as I understand it. Okor (?) is fluent in Spanish and speaks English like a native which is a very good thing as the other two gentlemen speak English about as well as I speak Spanish.

We chat this way for a while and eventually I ask if the hostel has a website so that I can mention/link to it in my blog and say nice things and, as it turns out, there is sadly no website yet - so expensive! and suddenly I can see a way to show my appreciation for their efforts on my behalf. With Okor's assist I plug my laptop into their router, login to my godaddy account and perform a quick domain name search and someday soon I and the other future residents will be able to link our blog entries to

I am assigned a room, issued a set of sheets and say buenos noches to my hosts. Early in the morning they will take me to the bus station and by early afternoon I will be in Coco with my sweetie.


Blogger Sam said...

All right SF, glad to hear you are OK. My brother flies into Liberia and then drives to Nosara, but you still seem vague on where you're at (Coco?). Have fun, take pictures, and take care,

5:36 PM  
Blogger Samuel Zamora said...

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3:03 PM  

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