Corporate Peon: Multiples - Updated

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Multiples - Updated

It's good to be home. And showered. And in my bathrobe. My legs are still soooo sore from my excursions on Friday - the way to get to the waterfall was to hike about 1/4 mile in, and then go down 450 steps. And not just average steps - these were built into the hillside. And were largely built out of rocks. Going down was hard enough, but going up? Jesus H Christ, that was hard. I think I used muscles I've never known I had. It was such a sense of accomplishment, though, to do it - sure, I thought about quitting partway - I could see the waterfall from some of the steps, that was good enough, right? Nope. I pushed myself. And I'm glad.

The one area I did not push myself in was at the volcano at La Fortuna, the Arenal Volcano. I hiked the mile, mile-and-a-half in, but I did not climb up over the rocks/lava boulders to see Lake Arenal below and the volcano up a little closer. I'm not all that sure-footed, and it was pretty trecherous. But I still saw the volcano up from just about as close as possible. When we hiked out, it got dark, and we could see some of the red lava flowing down the side. Awesome! The boulders sounded like thunder when they tumbled down the side, and we could see the steam rising off of each impact. Very, very cool.

I took the 8am bus from La Fortuna yesterday to get back to San Jose. It was a little longer, time-wise, than taking the afternoon direct bus, but I wanted to see a little more of San Jose, and that gave me the afternoon to do so. I walked down by the national theater, and a pedestrian mall that is there, and a little marketplace where I bought a couple more souvenirs with my remaining colones.

Speaking of colones, the money was hard for me to get used to. Sure, the dollars and coins are marked - 50, 5000, etc, but the exchange was 474 colones to a dollar. So I would get really confused, looking at a menu - what do you mean, a daiquiri costs 500? 6000 colones for shrimp? Yeah, so you basically just halve or double (depending on which way you're calculating) the cost, but I was an English major for a reason.

I took a few rolls of film, and once they're developed - possibly this week - I'll post any good shots. Yeah, I know, upgrade to a digi - that might happen with the next birthday. We'll see.

I just had my second real meal in two days - for some reason, I don't eat much on vacations. Maybe because I go where it's hot, and who wants a full meal in the heat? At any rate, the comforts of home are nice.

*** Updated ***

Can't quite sleep, so here's some more. One of the best comforts of home is having toilets where you can actually put the toilet paper in them. I missed that.

The hostel in San Jose was decent (I linked it on a post before I left), but not the cheapest place I stayed. That honor belongs to La Pension Santa Elena. At a mere $5 per night, I got a bunk bed (lower, thankfully), and a private bath and shower. The first night I stayed it was just me and a guy from Denmark and a guy from London. The next night a guy from Milwaukee showed up in my room along with two Canadian girls. The staff here was super helpful and super hot.

Although, the hotel in La Fortuna did come complete with a gecko on the ceiling. Honestly, that creeped me out a little - I didn't like the thought of it falling on me while I slept. And besides, geckos eat bugs - if it was there, there must have been bugs at some point, right?

The roads were horrendous. Most were dirt and rocks, with no shoulder. The lanes were unmarked - no lines at all, just one lane each way for most of what I travelled. And the roads themselves were hairpin curves - from San Jose to Monteverde, it was basically a big switchback. Which is fine - they drive on the 'right' side of the road, and I'm used to shitty driving, but the roads barely seemed big enough for two cars to traverse at once. Some of the bridges we crossed - ay yi yi! Rusted metal in a dilapated bus - ah, adventure!

The scariest bus experience, though, had nothing to do with the route or the vehicle. On the way to San Jose yesterday, we stopped at some place. I don't know if it was a town, or a regular stop or what, but a policeman got on. I looked to the girl next to me for help (no, I don't speak any Spanish). Identificación, I was told. And sure enough, folks were pulling out their ID cards. I got my license ready - hell, I wasn't about to hand over my passport - but the cop seemed to be randomly pulling IDs and didn't pick me. That was a little unsettling, especially after many travelers had told me of bus shootings that took place fairly recently.

I didn't buy much by way of souvenirs. Some coffee for mom and sister (I don't drink it); a shirt for dad; two sarongs for me, one of which I'm going to (have mom) stitch a loop in and then (have dad) through a dowel in the hole, so I can hang it on my wall; a couple small items from the Frog Pond for myself; oh, and a stuffed monkey for BBB that may not be given to him. He has a shitload of stuffed animals, and the one I got is black (appropriate), but not sure I want to part with it!

Alright. That's enough for now, don't you think?

Powered by Blogger