I’m writing this from the sitting area at the Lizard King Hotel, a beautiful 2-story space in Puerto Viejo de Telamanca, on the southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. We have finally arrived after many months of saving, some careful calendar work, minor bribery of my co-workers to let me escape for a bit, and convincing one of my dearest friends, Cam, to come along (which may amount to kidnapping, excepting that you can’t kidnap the willing). The air is moist, the coffee is delicious, and I am so glad to have gotten a full night’s sleep.
I’ve gotten by the last several days on what amounts to a series of naps. Sleep was nearly impossible on Saturday night due to a mixture of excitement about the trip and fear that I had missed some vital component. The alarm went off at 4am to get ready and get to my plane from Eugene to San Francisco. A layover in SFO for a few hours, then off to New Orleans to meet up with Cam. We both had work to do and final trip prep to complete — which necessitated a lovely motorcycle ride over the high line — before having dinner and winding down with a movie. By the time we settled in enough to fall asleep, it was only a few hours until our flight out of NOLA.
A quick jaunt to Atlanta and a brief layover before our flight to San Jose yielded plenty of work time, but not much in the way of naps. We also got a good amount done on the flight south — hooray for exit row seats with ample leg & laptop room! The Disneyland-esque line at customs was about an hour, then off to meet the driver who picked up our bus tickets and dropped us off at the correct bus stop. Another hour of waiting, then the extended bus ride to Puerto Viejo. (It was estimated at 4 hours but turned into 5.5 due to traffic.)
At this point, a nap would already be a gift from the gods. And it was, with one unexpected bonus: I fell asleep in a city and woke up to pouring rain in a rain forest. Deep valleys of lush green filled with rising fog; it was difficult to tell where the forest’s self-made climate stopped and the storm-front began. Banana and mango trees, dozens of flowers I’ve never seen before… that’s the way to wake up, friends.
The hotel staff was incredibly kind on our arrival. We headed up to our room, which provides a second-story view of the pool. (You may have guessed by the name of the hotel that the owner is a fan of The Doors; to that end, the pool features a tiled likeness of Morrissey. A photo will follow in another post, or I’ll update this one later.) We cleaned up and headed down the street to a local restaurant and bar. My Imperial could not have tasted better. Fried plantain cakes, fresh guacamole, fresh fish tacos, rice and beans with shrimp — if rice tasted like this all the time, we wouldn’t bother with other foods.
And then it started raining. Water trickled down the fronds and dripped from the leaf tips of the thatched roof leaves. A warm, ceaseless rain kindly eased to a mist as we walked the short couple of blocks back to the hotel. This, my friends, is how you finally fall asleep in Costa Rica. Or, rather, it’s how we made our way to sleep. Not just a nap. A real sleep.
Apologies for the lack of photos at the moment; I’ve been far more concerned with settling in and enjoying the trip than documenting our adventure so far. That should change in the next few days. For the moment, I need to get some work done and have another cup of amazing coffee. We’ve not made hard plans for the next several days, but I’m sure there are plenty of adventures on their way.
Until next time, friends.