Day 6.1: Packing and Pipa Frija. One final breakfast at the Lizard King as the morning clouds rolled in. All was well-lit, if slightly blued by the new divider between earth and sky. We worked a little, talked a bit, packed our gear. My heart was tempted to sink with the imminent departure from paradise, but we were not yet done with our adventure, just moving on to continue it elsewhere. Checkout was a couple of hours before the bus departure time, and our hosts were kind enough to let us leave our gear at the front desk for ease of exploration before we left. A walk around town to pick up a few trinkets, then back to collect our gear.
The entirety of our vacation, I had insisted upon finding one treat in particular: a fresh coconut with a straw stuck into it. Somehow, we had gone the entire trip without happening upon one. My cause seemed doomed when we got to the bus station. Unless…
A cooler strapped to the front of a bike sat out from the awning of the bus terminal area, where dozens of people waited for their transport vehicles to arrive. On this cooler sat a partially shelled coconut. My eyes lit. Cam kindly watched our things while I ran over to try my luck. “Un pipa frija, por favor?”
“Sure, no problem! For you, one dollar.”
“Of course! Give me that one.” (A 500 colones coin is taken.) “Is this your first time here”
“Excellent! Welcome to Costa Rica! Pura Vida!”
And then I tasted one of the most wonderful drinks known to humankind. Mission: accomplished.
Day 6.2: Over the River and Through the Rainforest. The returning bus to San Jose was packed, in part because of a limited service schedule for Good Friday. (Traveling through a Catholic country during Holy Week… shows you how much attention we pay to religious holidays.) We lined up, only to stand in a tropical shower for 15 minutes or so before boarding. Truth be told, I loved every minute of it. We got settled on the bus and kicked back to enjoy the ride through the rainforest, this time with a little more daylight and energy than we had on the way in. Cam even got some cotton candy for the ride, courtesy of the carnival we found, which also happened to be located along our walk to the bus terminal. With the exception of one stop by the police, who were checking passports, the ride was smooth sailing all the way to San Jose. And that rainforest… there is nothing like it. (I’d really like to ride a motorcycle through it. So much beauty all around; it seems a shame to pass by it all from so high an angle when you could be completely enveloped in the greenery. Next trip.
Day 6.3: “And This Is Where You Will Do Your Yoga at 8am.” We made exceptional time getting to the city and made it to our hostel with ease, a 15-minute walk from the terminal. The Selina San Jose is one of a chain of hostels throughout Costa Rica (and possibly other countries) aimed at distilling the best ambiance and tastes of hostel travel into one tight package. And they succeed. The check-in desk shell was formerly a VW bug; the walls sported elements of mod art, kitsch, and hipster-chic, including graffiti and bananas; the staff shirts are emblazoned with the ever-provoking instruction, “Ask Me Anything.”
Our lead in this space was Raj, a friendly and energetic man in his early 20s who showed us through the building and up to our room. “This is the bar and lounge… pool table, board games… here is the movie room, where we’ll show movies at 6pm and 8pm tonight… oh, and this is where you will do your yoga at 8am.” A pause. “If you want to.” He gestured down the hall leading to an oversized upstairs patio directly across from our room. Though covered in furniture on our arrival, Raj assured us that the yoga was quite popular. He suggestion also felt more imperative than anything–and who were we to refuse?
Sunset over San Jose is beautiful. The city is surrounded by mountains, and neighborhoods are interrupted by slices of jungle. We took in the sights from the pre-yoga patio, cleaned up, and made our way downstairs for happy hour and dinner. Most of the city was shut down for Holy Week, making the Selina’s in-house bar and restaurant the only space available, which was more than acceptable. All this travel was exhausting.
P.S. Thanks for sticking with me through all these posts! Work and life activities have not slowed since my return to Oregon, so I’m a bit behind on cataloguing this particular trip. After the Costa Rica entries are done — and I think I’ve only got a couple more — I’m looking forward to sharing with you some of the other projects I’ve got in the hopper.