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Published: February 4th 2018
Woo hoo! I was super excited for this trip but holy crisp was I ever down to the wire to get packed and ready. I had to be up at 4:00am and went to bed at 1:30am. Urgh. I’m usually freakishly organized, but this is my first trip post-new puppy and I didn’t account for all the extra stuff I’d have to do to get things ready for him. Plus, since I had a wonderful friend staying with my wee nugget while I was gone I wanted to leave him a clean house. I barely made it. I didn’t get around to cleaning my baseboards and ended up shoving piles of clean laundry in some random drawers. It also meant that, even though I made a packing list, I was sure when we left for the airport that I’d forgotten something. What, I had yet to find out. The only other time I had such a rushed/disorganized start was for the American Southwest trip of 2002. I actually packed dirty laundry with a plan to wash it when I got to our destination. FOR SHAME!
My “what‘d I forget” mystery didn’t last long - got to the airport and realized
I forgot my luggage lock (1) and neck pillow (2). Phhht. We had two (thankfully) uneventful flights to get us from Canada to Costa Rica. It’s February, and Canadian weather can be mercilessly unpredictable, but we were blessed with clear skies (albeit cold, “my face hurts” temperature) for take off. Our connecting flight was in Toronto (vs the US like a lot of flights) and this was also a nice treat as we didn’t have to do the whole YYZ collect-your-bags-and-go-through-customs-and-security-(again)-before-leaving-Canada thing that is the bane of many Canadian travellers.
We arrived to palm trees and sunshine (and a balmy 28 Celsius). This is peak tourist season and the airport was just packed, but despite the throngs, we made it through customs part 1 and baggage claim fairly quickly. We then had customs part deux (drop off your declaration card and get your luggage x-rayed) which was long and haphazard. The mayhem continued outside where there was a huge crowd holding up signs for the folks they were picking up. Chaos, but T found our driver eventually. He (Oscar) was great...during the transfer to our hotel he gave us lots of great info about San Jose, the local cuisine
and the sights we passed. Five gold stars for him.
Our hotel was on the Avenida Centrale, a pedestrian street in the centre of SJ. Great location as it is within walking distance to lots of sights. We went for a late afternoon bite to the excellent Chelles restaurant (thanks to some fantastico advance research by Shasta) and 3 of us had Casado con pollo, T had a traditional Costa Rican breakfast (see pic, nom nom nom). Delicious and a bargain at just over $8 CAD. They had three mystery sauces on the table...the magnificently spicy and unique “chilli panameno”, the “looks like onion relish but tastes like a spicy salsa” salsa and the “sweet and vinegary and tastes Iike it has fruit but doesn’t” sauce. All Shasta could get from our server is that it’s made with some kind of long vegetable. Obviously we have some investigative work to do.
We then walked along the pedestrian street to the Mercado Centrale which has been around since the 1880s. Lots of stalls and “Sodas“ (food stalls). Once back at the hotel, I barely lasted until 6:30 pm before the long day and no sleep hit me and I
was in my jammies chillin’ like a villain. Great first day!
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