Beaches, Borders, Visitors

Trip Start Jan 11, 2012
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Trip End Aug 09, 2012


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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Limon,
Tuesday, June 19, 2012

After a few dramatic embraces and a bucketload of tears, we bid our farewell to Al and Kel as they commenced their long journey back to the Republic. We would be heading in the opposite direction, to Bocas del Toro, an island group off Panama's northwest coast, where we planned to meet the poorly educated Andrew "Jerry" Sprenger and his girlfriend, the small town gal from Lonehill, northern Gauteng, Jenna "I'm tougher than my boyfriend" Hussey.

Just prior to boarding our bus, Don was in desperate need of an ablution facility, fortunately just a number 1. The bus driver was less than pleased and rudely informed her that there was no time for distractions as it was 8:43 in the morning and the bus was scheduled to depart at 8. So off we headed with Don's bladderpainometer sitting at an unpleasant but manageable 7 out of 10. The driver's mother would not have been proud of her offspring when her son lied to our faces by stating that we would stop at a bathroom within 5 minutes. 1 hour later the bladderpainometer was beginning to redline. After 2 hours the needle had broken through level 10 and Don very firmly let me know that she had 20 minutes of fight left in her. Time past agonisingly slowly and eventually a shake of the head meant that it was time to act. I leapt to my feet and using my best broken Spanish, started screaming "Bano, Bano, Bano, Bano"! Even the shameful bus driver could not ignore such an explicit exclamation and he swiftly pulled over just in time to avoid a monumental catastrophe.

The remainder of our journey was far less eventful, apart from being offered marijuana by a 10 year old boy. Agh, there's just no hope for the youth of today. After arriving in a town that has a name that is neither important nor remembered, we boarded a water taxi and headed to one of the less developed islands in Bocas del Toro called Bastimentos. Jen and Jerry proved that they are not only the best auditing partnership since Ernst and his friend Young, but also excellent accommodation seekers, just like the Good Doctor. We definitely plan to recruit some of these fine individuals for our next trip, but back to this trip and in we checked at our hostel conveniently located near Red Frog Beach. The beach understandably gets its name from the abundance of poisonous little red frogs that frequent the shores. Well, that's the idea at least, in the two days that we spent there we only managed to spot one of the little critters, thanks entirely to Jen's eagle eyes and her extensive fauna knowledge that she acquired while growing up on a farm in Lonehill.

The majority of our time in Bocas was spent catching up and sharing stories about our respective travels. Jen and Jer were travelling in the opposite direction to us and were therefore able to provide us with some valuable information about the rest of Central America. Unfortunately this also meant that we would only share two days together before resuming on our opposite paths. We thus have very little to report on except for the fact that Bocas del Toro is a really beautiful island group, there is one red frog on Red Frog Beach, the Husseys now speak with an American accent after spending a few too many months working in New York, Don tripped on the beach after a few too many cervezas and a very drunk Panamanian man kissed me on the face several times. A far too short but very sweet visit soon came to an end and we sadly had to say our farewells to both the Husseys and Panama. Next stop, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, the 10th country of our journey.

A short boat trip, a short bus ride, a short walk over a rickety old bridge and we were in Costa Rica. Not too far beyond the border is the Caribbean beach town of Puerto Viejo, where we planned (and succeeded) to do very little for a few days before two more auditors and a Viking strolled into town.

The Costa Rican food was excellent, the beach was idyllic and we were even able to watch the 2nd test between the Bokke and England, a very welcome surprise after watching nothing but Latin American or Spanish football for the past 6 months. Apart from that we took it very easy in preparation for the arrival of the birthday boy, Paul "Cape Town's only breeker" Brewis and his partners in Central American debauchery, James "follow me at @Jambles_" Charton and their Norwegian friend, Ørjan.

The boys arrived at 18h00, a bottle of local rum was purchased at 18h20, said bottle of rum was empty by 18h50 and then the Saffers and the Viking were out on the town, where Jambles proved that he could balance a cup of rum and coke on an old man's head and the birthday boy jumped onto a bar counter to show off his breeker moves. Don also proved her worth as one of the boys by straight-facing 3 tequilas before beating the Viking at a game of pool. Quite a successful night indeed.

The following day was understandably quite slow, involving little more than a hearty breakfast and a good old rotting session on the beach. This visit was also far too brief, thanks again to our respective directions of travel, but nonetheless we thoroughly enjoyed meeting up with the boeties and certainly enjoyed our first and only real glimpse of Costa Rica. Next up, an overnight stop at a volcano, another border crossing, the Pacific, a colonial town and some more visitors...
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Comments

Ally on

Another good blog Wa...I must say I am very jealous that you guys are still traveling. I've only been back a week but it feels like a lifetime ago, so enjoy every second! And Don keep up the good form with the Cerveza's...I can safely say I have not had one beer since I left South America but will definitely need one at the reunion we need to have when you guys get back. Enjoy!

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