Sunday, January 13, 2013

Travel to Playa Montezuma

It's 1130am, and Im sitting at the snack bar of "Playa San Lucas", an artificial beach pool club at the tip of the Puntarenas peninsula. I have a few hours to kill, as I missed my boat by just a minute and the next one isn't until 2 p.m. This is a good time for an update.

Last night was fun. I stayed up until the hostel bar closed last night, chatting and playing games with the other hostelers. It's amazing how much fun you can have with stranger, and how close you can get with them in such a short time. I only stayed at that hostel for 2 nights, but in that time, we all managed to make close friends and even form a clique!

After we got back from the hike yesterday, Kim and I saved some money by finished the food we made for dinner the night before, and then I had a beer on the porch, swinging in hammock pushed by the strong dry wind. Many of the other hostelers had been there two or three nights as well, and everyone was talking about plans and where they were headed next. The Germans were headed into the center of the country for hiking on the cordiera, Baltimore was going across Laguna Arenal to La Fortuna, and Ty was headed back to Nicaragua. I had met a few fun girls ziplining that day, and they planned to stick around for a few days more. Only Kim, the Swiss guy was headed in my direction, but the lucky duck is traveling by bike, so he got to ride down the mountain and see the whole beautiful coast and bay at hos own pace, with the wind on his back. Dang, what I would have given to find a bike and join him. Anyway, I decided to meet him in Playa Montezuma, though ee were making our ways there separately. But more on that later...

Back to last nights activities. We played a new game that only the Germanic folks seemed to know. I don't remember the name, but it meant something like "bluff". We had two dice, an opaque cup, and a cover for the cup (we used a book). Play went like this: shake the dice, look at it without anyone seeing and declare the number on the dice. Your number must be higher than the number rolled before you. If you rolled a lower number, you had to bluff. It was a drinking game, so the point was to call the bluff of the person before you around the circle and make them drink. However, as in all bluffing games, if you miscalled a bluff and they were telling the truth, you had to drink. A few other rules and tricks were thrown in to make the game trickier and funnier, but that's the gist. We played for hours it seemed, then switched to BS. All in all, a fun night!

This morning I got up and had the meager hostel breakfast, then inquired about the bus to Puntarenas. Waah waaah, the bus left at 6am and the next one wasn't until 3pm. My only option was to take a taxi ($60) down the mountain and flag down a bus on the Carretera Interamericano. Or, walk the 30km down the steep, windy, unpaved road, with crazy drivers careening around every corner. So of course, I chose to walk.

Kim and I walked to the road leading down the mountain together, and said bonne chance, as he hopped on his bike and began the ride of my dreams. I lotioned up with sunblock, stocked up on granola, empanadas, and water, and began to hoof it. I didn't get 5 minutes out of town when I encountered a jeep that had passed me as I was leaving town, doors open, waiting to welcome me and offer a ride. I climbed in back behind the driver and put my backpack in the baby seat behind the driver's wife. It was a tiny little Datsun 4x4 jeep, so I was asked to hold onto the machete that previously occupied the seat I was given. I could tell instantly that these were good and trusting people.

We bumped and bounced down the rocky mountain road for an hour, dust hanging in the dry air thicker than fog.

They dropped me off at the turn in the road I needed to take to get to my destination, and the bus I needed pulled up before my friends even pulled away. 45 minutes later, I had arrived in Puntarenas. In fact, if I hadn't wanted to explore the town a bit, I would have made it to the 11am  ferry that will take me across the bay exactly on time as well. Actually, I did make it on time (my foot was on the boat!) but they wouldn't let me go without buying a proper ticket at the boleteria across the street. They were casting off and wouldn't hold the ferry for just one sunburnt gringo.

No worries, there is another ferry to Paquera in just over an hour from now. When I reach Paquera, I will travel another half hour or so by land, and check into a hostel or cabana in Playa Montezuma. In the meantime, I'll sit here in the shade, enjoy my cervesa, and watch futball with the Ticas.

Pura Vida

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