After my tea expeditions in Vancouver (see previous entry), I hadn’t received a message back from my couchsurfing host – who had, on a few occasions, accepted my request. With high hopes, I flew to SJO regardless, anticipating not only internet access at the airport, but a response from my host. Alas, neither were waiting for me – couchsurfing fail!
Costa Rican taxi drivers can spot a lost gringo a mile away and I was soon after on my way to nearby hotel. At $30 a night, and being unaware of the $15 hostel not one block away, I was forced to purchase a room (with complementary breakfast mind you).
I came across a distraught girl from The Netherlands who, after a torturous day of travel, was appalled at the price of the hotel rooms; coming from Nicaragua where $8 was an expensive hotel. I had two beds in my room and offered one up so we could split the cost. They of course had to charge more for two people using one room with two beds, but we still both saved some colones. The company was good, we drank some tea, and she cheered right up after the worst day of her four months of traveling.
The following morning, we checked out after noon, and after our homemade breakfast; beans, rice, fruit, eggs, and fried plantains. Joyce, the Netherlander, bused to San Jose and I checked in to the much nicer and cheaper, Alajuela Backpackers Hostel. Don’t ever spend a night at Hotel Internacional JM in Alajuela; what a dump compared to this hostel at half the price. Anyway, earlier this morning, however, I sent out a bunch of desperate, last minute couchsurfing requests. After checking in to the non-refundable hostel, I received a message from one of the surfers not 5 minutes away (by car). Somehow, I managed to get a full refund and made my way to a pay phone. Again, Costa Ricans can spot a confused gringo a mile away and while pondering how much the pay phone cost, a Tico drove up and offered me his phone because someone from Toronto had helped him in the past (thank you Canada flag sewn to my backpack). He even called the couchsurfer for me, told her I was on my way, and he drove me to her front door!
My (new) couchsurfing host took me to this Catholic/Birthday prayer party. I don’t really know how else to describe it. It was a Tica’s 20th birthday party which always falls close to a catholic gathering of friends, family, food, and singing, not unlike Christmas. It was quite a show of family ties. They gather, sing, pray, eat, and love, right out in the open of their Tico home for all to see and hear. The night ended watching Inglorious Bastards in English with Spanish subtitles, which didn’t help when they spoke in French and German, as they do for at least of that movie. Nonetheless, a wonderfully weird evening.
My host was really kind and took great care of me while I was there. The following morning, after she bought me some breakfast, I walked to the bus station in Alahuela and caught the next bus to La Fortuna where I met Janet and Scott, my host family in Nuevo Arenal! The trip was smooth and I met two more gorgeous blonds from the Netherlands on the bus ride. Stunning blond Europeans.