I Fucking Hate...
Trip Start Jul 31, 2009
86Trip End Feb 27, 2010
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Where I stayed
In a big pile of shit, also known as San Jose
Isla De Ometepe, Managua
Today began a few final days of hellish transport through Central America. Everybody was ready to leave the island and continue on his or her journey so we all got an early bus back across the island. How it took three hours to drive across this little island I have no idea. Actually I do. Ancient bus’s, shamefully bad roads and no money to do anything about it. We got to port, went straight onto the barge, got off the barge, jumped into two taxi’s and drove for about ten minutes. Sadly I had to so goodbye to the rest of the group who were going to a beach town. I was tempted to go with them but it was time for me to leave Central America, Columbia was calling.
The taxi dropped me off on a highway and told me to wait there for a bus. I was a bit suss as to wether or not a bus would come, but after a few minutes of waiting I saw the big blue chariot rattling down the highway. It screeched to a halt when the driver saw me hale. Before I was fully on the bus, in true chicken bus style, we were taking off again. It wasn’t long before I arrived at the Nicaragua, Costa Rica boarder. The next hour was hell.
I paid the guard a few dollars and walked through the gate in between the iron fence that separates the two countries. Then I had no idea what to do. Instantly I was harassed by people wanting to sell me hammocks or exchange money with me. Some offered to show me where to go to get my passport stamped but after Nicaragua I didn’t trust anyone and knew they would try to milk money out of me for any help I let them give me.
Instead I found an office with a number of huge lines in it. Most lines had no signage and the few signs that were up I couldn’t understand. I bought a biscuit and got the biscuit salesman to show me which line I had to wait in. With my backpack and my frontpack weighing me down I waited in the line for about twenty minutes. Then I noticed other people had filled out arrival cards and knew I needed one as well. There were scummy people handing them out but they wouldn’t give one to me unless I paid them to fill it out for me. This was not the rule, they were just taking advantage of my flustered and obviously overwhelmed appearance. I argued but eventually gave in and gave them a dollar or something to fill out the form for me. Another twenty minutes and I finally had the passport stamped. I had no idea where to catch another bus from but after asking a few people I gathered I had to walk down a nearby road. I walked down it for about ten minutes, paid an entrance fee of $5.00 that I am pretty sure was to a criminal organization that just waits on the road and charges people a non existent fee. Looking back it was definitely a con, not something run by the government. By this stage I was so fucking sick of Boarder Town Bastards. Fucking pricks just lived to rip me off. Arg.
I found a bus stop and bought a ticket from the little hut next door. The ticket cost me $8 but when I got on the bus the driver thought I didn’t have a ticket and told me a ticket would cost $5. So the lady selling the ticket had pocketed the extra $3.
Six hours later it was almost midnight and my bus pulled into the shitty capital of Costa Rica, San Hose. This place was fucking expensive and just pissed me off from start to finish, I didn’t even get a photo.
Straight from the get go I had a bad time. After a day of hectic travel I got off the bus around midnight and went straight into a taxi to take me to a hostel. Always when catching a taxi I agree the amount before hand but this was the first city since London I had been to where the taxi’s were metered so I just thought I would pay the meter. The meter was dodgy and after the five minute journey the ‘son of a Costa Rican hooker who looked like a girl but was actually a man’ tried to charge me $20 US. I had an argument with him and got the price down to $5. This was still way too much, it should have been about $1. Then I realised I had spent my last $5 on that make believe boarder crossing and I had to go to an ATM. I felt unsafe just leaving the taxi in the middle of the night in a dodgy area of San Hose with nowhere to go (the hostel I was trying to get into was full). I didn’t want to get in a bif. I had to get to an ATM and this taxi was the only way I could get to one. When I finally found one he wanted $10 again. While we were arguing there were junkies coming up and begging for money, people with no clue what was going on chucking dying roses in my hand and demanding money and scummy hobos rolling around on the ground tugging at the bottom of my jeans. It was all too much. I gave him $20 and waited for the change, he tried to give me change in Costa Rican Peso’s and although I did not know the exchange rate too well I could tell this scum bag was giving me a fraction of the change I needed. I grabbed my money back and with my two heavy bags stormed into a fried chicken shop to get change. They wouldn’t change the money. The hobos had followed me and were waiting outside. They were the only pricks open so I had to buy a shitty burger that cost the same as it would have in Australia and get change. Swearing at the taxi driver who had also followed me I handed over the $10. I wish I didn’t. I wish I had told him to take me to the police station instead to report his con, but I was too dishevelled, the day had been hell. And now after 12 hours of being ripped off I was in the middle of a very dodgy area of San Hose with two big bags in the middle of the night. I just wanted to get the hell out of Costa Rica but had no idea where the bus terminals were or what time the bus’s left so I found another taxi and went to another hostel. I made sure this driver was straight. He was, I got to the hostel it was full, paid more, went to the next hostel, it had a bed.
What a shitty day, worst day since missing the flight.
Saturday, 18 September, Day 236
San Hose, Costa Rica
The bust down to Panama City was not leaving until mid day so I spen the morning looking around San Hose. It was actually a nice city, but not cheap in any way and full of fucking wankers ( I was still well mad about the day before).
Happily I got on the bus, of course the taxi driver tried to rip me off on the way from the hostel to the bus station. This guys meter didn’t work apparently. I didn’t pay him the $3 he wanted, paid him about $1.50, should have paid only $1.00. God I hate taxi drivers. No matter where in the world they are all scum. I later met a guy from Panama where the taxi’s are driven by the same maggoty lumps of old shit. Panamanian told me that everyone, even the locals in Panama get ripped off by these drivers, that made me feel a bit better.
Well and truly sick of chicken bus’s I took a tourist bus from Costa Rica to Panama City. Thank god I did. Even on the tourist bus where they organise everything for you, the boarder crossing late at night took a confusing hour. The boarder town was so gross as they all are, not the kind of place I would ever want to spend a night. Thankfully I was on a tourist bus and we continued into the last Central American country, Panama.