Pacific: Ghetto buses, sunrises, Dustin, an Se Van

Trip Start May 21, 2003
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Trip End Oct 29, 2003


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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Friday, June 6, 2003

June 6: Tried to catch the bus to Panama City, but turned out to be full...so, we settled for Jaco/Mal Pais...which is cool for me b/c I haven't been to the Pacific side yet. I get all of our shit packed up and call Felipe(he's my fav cab driver b/c he speaks English so I can actually communicate with him)...he gets me to the coca cola bus station where I'm supposed to meet chant...but he doesn't let me out of the car without a thorough warning(this is quite possibly the shadiest place in San Jose). So, I get out and head for the ticket office where he informs me that the last bus to Jaco is full....oh shit, now what are we gonna do? So, I decide to have a seat and wait for Chant so we can discuss what will now be plan C...the minute I sit down, the scaries start circling and I'm not gonna lie, I got a little nervous b/c at this point it's dark, I'm alone and I scream backpacker. So, this is when my guardian angel walks up and literally stands within two inches of me for the rest of my time there. I didn't catch his name, he was a security guard there and after a little broken conversation, I was able to ask how dangerous this bus station was. He informed me that had he not come over and stood by me, there were guys there ready to grab my stuff and run...I told him that I had a tight grip on my stuff the whole time, and he just let out a little laugh as if to say, "do you think that's gonna stop them?" So, Chant finally shows up and we try to get standing room on the bus....unsuccessfully...then, after the bus is full of mostly ticos, we are now informed that we, the backpackers, can buy a ticket and another bus will be coming...at this point, I'm wondering why I wasn't told that to begin with, but whatever...so I head back over to the ticket counter, buy a couple of tickets and watch as the nicest bus in costa pulls away...only to be followed by the nastiest bus in costa(see pic) about 15 minutes later....and some of the shadiest people I've ever seen crawl off this thing...I mean the nice white, clean bus pulls away looking like it's bound for heaven and the bus from hell pulls up, smoking, stinky and full of scaries with techno music blaring. This is the point where every backpacker waiting to get on this thing breaks out into hilarious laughter...what else is there to do at this point besides see the humor in it. After about a 3 hour bus ride, we're there...we throw our stuff in a room and out to get a bite. We ended up at this great little place that gave us free chips/dip and bread...doesn't sound like a lot, I know...but that's a pretty big deal here...we decide that we're gonna be good and only have one beer b/c we're on a budget and have an early bus to catch in the morning....but, I swear, fun finds us.....and to make a long story short....we ended up staying out until sunrise and caught the bus after breakfast and two of the worst bloody mary's I've ever experienced...but we were in no position to complain since we made this guy open early just for us...after choking those down...chant had a small slip and fall that involved a lot of laughing and required a change of clothes, then we were on a bus to Puntarenas to catch the ferry.

June 7: We get to Puntarenas and the ticket office is now in the process of being torn down, so we are a little confused as to where to get tickets....we run in to Dustin, surfer from Florida, buy some tamarindo juice, sunglasses, find tickets and we're on the ferry...which is where Justin proceeds to make us a rum and coke(yeah, that's really what we need right now...did we forget to mention to him that we haven't been to sleep yet) I have to mention how refreshing the ferry is...it's really more fun than transportation....especially if you get on the top deck....kind of cruise shipish...after about 2 hours here, we make it to the other side where we are offered a cab directly to Mal Pais...for only $10 a piece...that sounds a lot better than waiting on a bus($2.50)...sometimes you have to splurge......First we stop for a 6 pack but we're soon in Mal Pais and just in time for a couple of hours of body surfing for chant and I while Dustin surfed. We made it to a great little place for dinner where we met Deb, grad student from NY, and we brought her along for the ride...made to Tabu where we met ???? (I'm so bad with names, but I did get a pic)

June 8: We wake up, get breakfast at Franks(the only place in town that takes plastic..sorry, dad) chant and I rent a couple bikes and Dustin is off to surf...I had quite possibly the worst bike in all of Costa, if not the world...first of all, these are mountain bikes b/c the roads here are all torn up, which would have been fine had it been a mountain bike that worked...every time I went up a hill, this thing switched gears automatically...and not in my favor....on top of it all, it squeaked so bad the bike actually sounded as if it was crying...so, after a couple hours of that, I was done and we headed to Charlie's for smoothies and then to the water for a dip. We ended at Franks again for dinner(once again, sorry dad) with Kiley, Chant, Dustin, Kimmy, Deb, Stanford and Berkley(a couple of guys that I have to refer to by where they go to school b/c I can't remember their names)...several shots of guaro later...we end up at the beach for the rest of the night...good times!Chant says: they guys names are...Rowin (Berkley) Seth (Standford)

June 9: Wake up...Chant, Dustin and I end up on the front porch camped out with pillows laughing at his video camera footage, and in all honesty, probably still a little buzzed. This is about the time when the "grumpy" neighbor screamed at us and told us to quit being so "American"...okay, I never saw this guy leave his room the whole time we were there....so if being awake to enjoy your life is "American" then I'd rather be American than from wherever he was from...anyway, after eating breakfast we had to catch a bus home...so, we say our good byes and prepare ourselves for yet another boring bus ride....but what we don't know is that our driver will proceed to run off the road a total of about 3 times...little kids were actually sliding around and I almost fell out of my chair...no one on the bus could figure out why he kept swerving b/c there was nothing in the road...fyi...halucinogenics and bus driving just don't mix...at least wait till you get off work! So, after surviving that, we board another bus...then its to the ferry where we meet Steve. He has a car and offers to take us to San Jose, which is perfect...now we don't have to take the bus! About halfway home, we get pulled over after going through a toll booth(se van does look a little sketchy-see pic)...a little bit of a problem b/c every permit/license that he is supposed to have is expired. After a lot of smiling and apologies...the cop lets us go with a warning. We get back home and Steve takes us to dinner...which was technically supposed to be business, but turned out to be mostly a lot of sushi and saki with his lawyer. Really nice...by far and away the best food since I've been here!
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