So I parked my car in my friend´s garage early Tuesday morning and got on a plane with my mom and her new husband. We had a slight problem at the ticket counter because someone typed his name as Dennise instead of Dennis. Our connecting flight from Houston featured a young autistic guy two rows in front of me breaking into a seizure after eating a bag of peanuts. Two women on the plane were nurses and they laid him in the aisle, stuck various things in him. We were over the Gulf of Mexico, so we turned back and landed in Houston. He walked off the plane, so he was ok.
Back in the air, we flew just to the left of a mess of lightning. It was exquisitely beautiful. The clouds alight with electricity, the sky looked like Albert Bierdstadt meets Einstein with a little Alex Grey and Georgia O´Keefe. Each time the lightning struck, the outlines of the clouds would glow for a moment. It reminded me of synapses firing… a brainstorm… ideas being created… the confluence of two unrelated things, suddenly making new meaning, making light and beauty.
I got another stamp on my passport as we went through immigration. Maybe I´m not so much a world traveler as a stamp collector… tee hee. We drove our rental car from the airport to San Jose (following the guy who picked us up.) Stayed in a beautiful hotel called El Presidente. I figured with a name like El Presidente, it would be a shithole, on account of irony, but it was a welcome oasis of clean sheets, air conditioning, and flat screen HBOness after a long travel day.
Our rental car is a stick shift, the streets aren´t labeled, and the traffic is a little crazier than in the states )though nothing like India.) They drive on the right side of the street here. I take the wheel for most of the trip to Manuel Antonio, which is about 170 km from San Jose. We got lost in San Jose and in the next big city, both for about half an hour… finally paid a taxi driver to take us to the freeway. Nothing is labeled. We didn´t opt for the GPS. I actually enjoyed the adventure. (This is the real reason they wrote ¨Do You Know the Way to San Jose¨)
We drive through the rainforest and the mountains, which are beautiful. One rest stop overlooks the mountains and reminds me so much of a rest stop I was at in Southern India that I´m salivating for chai. There are so many similarities with Central America… the climate and landscape, the Christianity mixed with the local religion, the hints of socialism… Dios Mio, I almost forgot to mention that the coffee is amazing. I rarely drink coffee, but it´s so good here, I´m drinking it like a caffinated fish. Oh, I bou
I wish I could speak Spanish so much… my Spanish is like a bastard child of Sesame Street, conversational French, and some cassette tapes I listened to on the way to Mexico when I was eight. I smile and nod a lot. I do a really good gracias.
We rolled around in the waves last night… the water is really warm. Watched the sunset as we walked along the beach. I played some pool with the gay bartender… not really… I played on my own… I´m just saying… Actually it turns out that they de'crimiminalized um, gayness, here about 20 years ago, and I guess Costa Rica is a big gay tourist destination.
This morning we went on a white water rafting trip down the river. There were a few class four rapids! One girl fell out of our boat in the rapids and floated down the river, bobbing up and down for a bit. She got caught under our boat and then she got rescued by the kayak, which then flipped, and she bobbed through the rapids some more. Our whole boat almost tipped over as the guide was trying to help her. Quite an adventure. We finally got her back in the boat, and her lip was a little bloody. Ok other than that. It was actually a really fun ride and the land is amazing. We saw frogs, spiders, hawks, all kinds of butterflies and trees… And now we´re back at the hotel, Playa Espadilla, which is right next to the national forest. A package tour with surprisingly great features. So I´m off to soak in the pool a bit and try to relax and enjoy all that´s here.