The next morning, after a cold shower, we had breakfast in the hotel courtyard. A lovely woman who spoke limited English gave me a bowl of fruit with yogurt and granola. Justin got scrambled eggs shaped into a small mound (like a Hostess Sno-Ball!) with about half a tomato mixed in. It was a beautiful morning, with clear blue skies and soft warm breezes.
After breakfast, we set out to see if we could find me a toothbrush. Tuesday morning, in all of our getting ready to go, I’d brushed my teeth and then put the brush back where it belongs—in the cup next to the sink. While we’d been wandering the night before, though, I’d seen a shop that seemed to sell household goods. Most of the shops we passed Wednesday morning were still closed, but that shop was open and they did sell toothbrushes. The man at the counter spoke no English, but we made our purchase and walked back to the hotel. It cost us less than $1.
And then I felt really accomplished! We’d managed to do all of the things the day before—travel and dinner and find a good place to stay. And now we’d made a purchase! We were doing great!
We had nothing else to do until our taxi arrived at 10:30, so Justin poked at the computer some more, I read my book, wrote in my journal, watched a little TV. Eventually we packed up and made our way up to the front desk. We made sure that we were all square there and handed in our key and went to wait out on the front porch. We actually ended up sharing our taxi to the airport with a couple of ex-pats who had also been staying at Los Volcanes. They’d moved to Costa Rica two years ago and were on their way to vacation in the States for a little while—visit friends and enjoy the October weather.
Once at the airport, we were supposed to wait for the bus from the Poas Volcano Lodge, where we’d be spending the rest of the week.
I forgot to mention yesterday—on Monday before we left, we still weren’t sure what the situation was with our rooms at the Lodge. We’d never really been clear on whether we were supposed to call them and reserve our own rooms or whether Maggie had taken care of that. And Maggie was impossible to get a hold of for about a month before the wedding. So the night before we left, we got online and made an online reservation for rooms. Before heading to bed, I got an email back requesting that we call once we got into the country. When we got to Los Volcanes, we tried calling several times before we managed to get a hold of someone who could tell us that yes, we did have rooms all set up. And yes, the bus would meet us at the airport at 11:00 to bring us and two other people to the Lodge. We called again Wednesday morning to confirm that the bus would be picking us up.
So we got to the airport well before 11:00 to wait. And we waited and waited and waited. Justin tried calling the Lodge but had troubles with the phone. He got surrounded by several men who tried to be helpful but managed to be even more confusing. One of them used his cell phone to call the Lodge and told us that the bus was coming, but we were never really clear on whether that meant the bus that we were waiting for was coming or that he’d called us another bus entirely to come and collect us.
Eventually, at about 1:00, Justin saw a man holding up a sign for a man he recognized—Ted K., Maggie’s uncle. He and his wife, Susan, were flying in and were sharing the bus with us (I’m really glad he knew this because I didn’t have a clue!). So he grabbed the man with the sign and pointed at the name of the Lodge, which was written under Ted’s name, and communicated that we were also trying to go there. He walked us up to where a man named Carlos was waiting with a van. Carlos took our baggage and put it in the back of the van, and then we walked down again with the man with the sign. I got nervous at that point because we were leaving our luggage with a man who was going to keep on driving loops around the airport until Maggie’s aunt and uncle arrived. Our luggage! But Justin was sure that these were the people we wanted (again, I’m so glad he knew Maggie’s uncle’s name) and we went back down near the doors to wait for them.
Their flight was delayed, which was why the bus was late. They made it in before too much longer, and they found the man with the sign, who came and grabbed us from where we were standing next to the wall. Carlos returned with the van (and all our luggage!) and we started our way up into the mountains.
It took about an hour to drive from the airport to the lodge. It was a beautiful drive, though, and the company was really nice. When we got to the lodge, we checked in, met up with Maggie and were introduced to Ian. We found our rooms and settled in a little bit. Amazingly, I managed to completely fail at getting pictures of any part of the Lodge. Not our rooms or the main rooms or anything. I have pictures of birds and plants and mountains and anything you’d find looking *away* from the Lodge. But nothing of the Lodge itself.
Not long after we’d arrived, all six of us set out in the car Maggie and Ian were renting to get some lunch. We found a restaurant not far from the Lodge that was completely empty except for three or four guys working who were watching soccer when we arrived. But they said they’d serve us lunch, so we grabbed a seat.
About that time, it started pouring down rain. It had been sprinkling lightly when we arrived, but then the heavens opened up. We had to shout to hear each other over the crash of the rain on the roof. And right about then was when I really knew that I had packed entirely wrong for this trip. I thought, “Costa Rica! It’ll be warm!” and I packed tank-tops and shorts and a skirt. I had a couple other items that were warmer, but not enough for the whole trip. So I sat there in the restaurant *freezing* in my tank and light cardigan.
The food was great and we had a great time chatting with people. Ian was wonderful enough to run down to the bottom of the hill to get the car and drive it up to the parking lot we hadn’t seen at the top of the hill near the restaurant. And then we all had to swim our way through the rain and across an enormous mud-puddle to get to the car.
When we got back to the lodge, I changed clothes and put on the one sweater I’d packed with a thicker cardigan over it, and went into the lodge to sit in front of the fire, wrapped in a blanket. With my book. I didn’t move from that spot for hours. Some people sat with me for a while before heading off in different directions, to their own rooms or downstairs to the game room for pool or ping-pong.
We ate dinner at the Lodge. Except for Justin. Dinner was insanely expensive, and at that point of the trip, we were really concerned about how far we’d be able to stretch what little we had. He sat next to me at the table and ate a few forkfuls of my food—I kept trying to push more food at him because I felt guilty. I had planned to not eat at all either, once Justin told me his plan to skip the meal. He convinced me to eat, but I managed to foist a little of it at him.
dinner we all retired to our own rooms. Justin and I managed to both get a hot shower, and then settled in to sleep.
Most of the other guests arrived that night, but we were asleep before they arrived.