Thursday, February 05, 2009

Costa Rica pt. 2: te amo, Arcedol

[01/25/09, transcribed from trip journal]

When I went downstairs for breakfast, I was delighted to find this sign underneath the bacon:

Engrish…it’s not just for Japan anymore!

After grabbing several slices of “beacon” and a bowl of cereal, I sat down and ate quickly because I needed to meet up with our group at the bus. Jose introduced us to Marco, the man who would be our driver for the remainder of our tour. He didn’t speak any English, but he took every woman’s hand as she got on to help her keep her balance, so he was aces by me.

I don’t have much experience with bus travel, but this was a rather nice Mercedes model with a clean (thank Christ) bathroom and large, plush seats. I scored one by myself, and as I looked out the window, I overheard someone asking Jose why the Coke seems so much better here. So it wasn’t just my imagination! He said it’s because they use cane sugar, not corn syrup, in Central America.

Our morning was spent at a small zoo/animal rehab center. It was a lovely zoo, but I couldn’t help but be disappointed since I can see zoos in the US. I dutifully took pictures anyway.

Any Spanish speakers in the hizzy? Don’t eat what meat?  I’m assuming some sort of lizard because of the shape of the sign, but I’d like to know for sure.

Mah butt…let me show you it

After walking around the zoo for a while, I came across these insane signs. Be warned, the very last one is nightmare fuel.

Yes, that turtle is holding a Viagra tablet.


Afterwards, we drove through some really nasty looking neighborhoods. People on the sidewalks turned to look at us as we sped by, and without exception, they either smiled and waved at us, or stared at us with undisguised hatred. It was really jarring.

We had lunch at a restaurant with a gorgeous view, and I ate steak, black beans and rice, and rice pudding. I talked to Roxanne (the other woman traveling by herself), and she seems really cool. She’s awfully sexy, so all the Costa Rican waiters were refilling her water glass every two seconds in an effort to look down her tight Bebe top. I also talked to Stacy, the recent college grad that I disliked because she was thin and pretty, and now I feel bad because she’s really sweet.

Next on our agenda was downtown San Jose. We went to the Gold Museum, which was actually kind of boring. As I peered into yet another case filled with gold coins, my lower back began to hurt like hell. I thought, Bet you anything it’s going to rain.

And sure enough, when we exited, it was pouring.

We had an hour to wander around by ourselves, so I retrieved my umbrella from the bus and started walking. I noticed a pharmacy sign, so I dug out my battered copy of Spanish for Travelers and strode up to the counter.

Hola!” I said cheerfully. “Um, dolor de espalda, por favor.” The woman stared at me, and realizing that I had just asked her for a backache, I added in English, “Something for backache.”

Sighing heavily at my cloddish ways, she turned around and plucked a box from the shelves. She pointed at the words “acetaminophen”, and I nodded. I paid and then went in search of a convenience store. I bought a bottle of Coke, swallowed one of the enormous tablets, and continued walking.


I stopped to admire the National Theater and lazily twirled my bright pink umbrella between my palms.


By the time I got back on the bus, I had a big dreamy smile on my face. I felt like my head was filled with helium, floating above my neck on a string. Beaming, I plucked the box out of my bag and looked at it again. Turns out that there was also codeine in them there pills.


Back at the hotel, I went online for a bit, napped, and went downstairs for dinner. Usually I don’t mind being by myself, but I have to admit that I felt awfully lonely sitting there. I wish I had someone to share this experience with.

I finished eating and returned to my room, where I took a long hot bath and then watched a cake decorating contest on the Food Network. They had to make a cake that exemplified the Cirque du Soleil spirit. It was actually kind of cool.

Tomorrow should be more interesting. We’re off to the rainforest!