Playful Costa Rica - Calgary to San Jose, Tuesday - Thursday 2016 November 8 - 10


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Published: September 19th 2017
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Texas coast Texas coast Texas coast

No wonder it floods!
Because of the very early flight tomorrow I stayed in the recently opened Calgary International Terminal. Its vast expanse of gleaming glass, polished marble and flooding light was disorienting. I requested directions to the Marriott Hotel from the information desk, and then had to asked a passing maintenance man. The hotel's decor was a continuation of gleaming white and aluminum, even up into the room. Almost immediately I left to explore the new terminal to make things easier in the morning. I learned from the United agents that I would have to check-in at 4:15 a.m. Yeesh! 3:30 wake-up call.

I went down early for dinner, pretending to still be on daylight-savings-time (just changed last weekend), to trick my body about early rising and three hours of time change. I sat at a table beside the glass wall fronting onto the airport concourse. I felt like I was part of “Promenade”, an art installation near the Drop-In Centre, because people passed at random intervals pushing luggage carts, pulling suitcases, or rushing to their destinations. As it happened, when I ordered a steak sandwich, the waiter told me that I was the first customer to have it, since it was a new item on the
Texas coast Texas coast Texas coast

Beautiful shapes in the Gulf waters
menu. Delicious and properly cooked, it was served with stir-fried onions and peppers on focaccia, and a wonderfully fresh green salad. Red beer from the Half-Hitch Brewery in Cochrane paired well with the spicy sauce on the steak.

Now it is only about 9:00 in my time, and I am feeling tired already. This, plus staying at the hotel, should give me a few hours of restful sleep.

Houston Wednesday 2016 November 9

Things started well this morning. I got out of the hotel as early as planned, waited a normal amount of time to check-in and tag luggage. Security was as expected. Forgot to put sanitizer on my hands, so my fingerprints wouldn’t register on the Secure Traveller customs machine. An airport staff member pressed my fingers down hard enough to register – he had nice warm hands! Flight fine and edited lots of photos.

I had six hours to wait in Houston airport, which I filled with drinking tea, walking, eating lunch, walking, memorizing a song for choir, walking, drinking tea. Lunch consisted of three large fish tacos with a fresh tomato sauce, as recommended by the server, and a great IPA beer. With my
Lake Nicaragua Lake Nicaragua Lake Nicaragua

My only "visit" to Nicaragua
second cup of tea I failed at both Sudoku and Futoshiki, probably because of growing brain fog. Finally, I could go to the gate. Checking the departures display for the nth time, I discovered the flight was delayed due to weather. From all my walking, at least I knew where the service desk was.

The Turrialba volcano near San Jose had erupted, and United stopped their flight. Because it was “out of our control”, they offered only a discount coupon for a hotel and the use of a courtesy phone. The hotel coupon process was managed by a private company that offered Sleep Inn for $58 ($71 with tax), including a free shuttle to and from. The phone included long distance to let me inform the tour guide; he was upset because the San Jose airport was open and other flights were arriving.

The hotel was better than expected. Fortunately, when booking I had asked about their restaurant (nonexistent) and bought a sandwich at the airport. The shuttle driver advised us that too many passengers wanted to take the 6:00 a.m. shuttle for the size of the van, so it will be first come first served, with the
Costa Rica Costa Rica Costa Rica

Preview of the country - green with clouds
leftovers being taken at 6:15. I plan to have a very early night again!

San Jose Thursday November 10

After a decent sleep, up again at 5:15 and rushed through dressing to get to the reception before other people. By waiting outside in the dark, and enjoying some rare fresh air, I did get on the first shuttle to the Houston airport. There the check-in people were confused about how to handle us, but the security people were aware that we should use the boarding cards dated yesterday – because our flight had been delayed not cancelled. Back at gate E12, a lot of people were waiting, at least some of whom had slept in chairs and on the floor. (Uggh!) Tension hummed as an hour went by, everyone hoping the flight wouldn’t be further delayed. Just when I was absent for a preventative washroom trip, pre-boarding was announced. (Hooray!)

On the plane I heard a loud voice behind me speculating that there had been no volcanic activity, since all other flights ran as usual, and that United was covering up for a technical problem that would have cost them big bucks in compensation. Scepticism was whispering
San Jose San Jose San Jose

A large city scattered over the landscape
along the rows. My thoughts of conspiracy theory were submerged in happiness to be on our way.

We had gorgeous views of the Texas Gulf coast, lucky to be spared the clouds that covered the Gulf itself. Sooner than I expected we were over land, south of Mexico presumably. On the seat display, I followed the terrain from Nicaragua. The mountains of the cordillera appeared and disappeared under ever-larger puffy white clouds.

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21st September 2017

Airlines and fingerprints
Yikes. Travel interruptus is never nice, but at least it sounds like you rose to the occasion. For the Trusted Traveller kiosks that don't take a photo of my eye, I now swipe my forehead before putting my paw on the glass. I'm sure my skin isn't, you know, greasy, but it seems to help. I didn't know that sanitizer trick.
25th September 2017

Fingerprints
Thanks, the forehead trick is also a good one.
23rd September 2017

Costa Rica
I visited Costa Rica this past February for a sand and sun vacation and loved it. We flew direct from Calgary with West Jet to Liberia which was about a 40 minute drive to our resort at Play Hermosa. The resort we were in was not great for food, but the beach was awesome and water so warm! We did a couple of tours and really relaxed - a lot. I think there will be a return trip soon!
25th September 2017

Flights to Costa Rica
I will remember the Liberia flight if I ever go again. I must say the Houston route has turned me off.

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