A lot has happened this month that does not involve internet trolls. Hurricane Nate hit Costa Rica just as we were trying to get home for medical appointments, banking and investment business and family visits. It did not go well, and then we got word as we were sleeping at the San Jose airport that my Maw in Law was at the end of her days. Things went nuttier from then, including a hurried trip to Texas and a family death. These are my notes hand written on those days sleeping at various airports. Going to take days to unpack.
Thursday, October 5th, 2017 – Tamarindo Costa Rica
Today seems to fully encapsulate the frustrations and challenges of living as an expat in Costa Rica.
It's been raining for days off and on as a tropical depression formed off the eastern edge of the country in the Caribbean. We have been told that in addition to the usual rains of the rainy season we are getting high winds and heavy rain bands that started Tuesday night, just as we climbed into the bed.
This trip has been planned and tickets purchased three months ago, we cannot cancel or reschedule because too much needs to happen.
Wednesday is crunch time. We needed to pack to fly out on Thursday afternoon for our 90 days out of country, pay our electric, cable, water and rent and pick up money for the trip. The bus tickets to the airport had been purchased a couple of weeks beforehand.
We pack and fret over the rain because the road in front of our house is flooded over to the depth of around 6 inches.
Once the rain eased up from monsoon to sprinkling we grabbed our umbrellas, waded down the street, making straight for the taxi stand and go into Tamarindo proper to pay bills.
The taxi driver lies right to our faces. We ask him before getting in if he'll take one mil (about $1.75), and he says sure, he'll charge us a mil. We go a block or two, the rain picks up again and he (Gus) announces it's now going to cost 2 mil. Why? Because it's raining. Seriously? Me? I would have gotten out of the car and given him 25 colonies tops before hailing another taxi.
Jim says okay, but only because we're pressed for time. Remember this taxi driver, Gus, because he makes several appearances this week.
So we go to town, for the high price Gus is charging us we make him wait at the bank and stop at the coffee stand before going home. Bills paid at the bank, traveling money received, both dollars and colonies and we stop for our afternoon coffees. Jim loves his mocha frios. Gus asks very charmingly if we'll buy him one. We chuckle and buy him a coffee too.
Turn out that paying the electric bill is a good thing. After a month of hearing our fun and lovely German landlords have heart failure over our use of the air conditioning we end up with an electric bill of sixty bucks. I laughed hard at this because literally everyone has been moaning about how expensive electricity is here. It's peanuts compared to our electric bill in Northern Virginia.
Packed and went to bed around 11 pm, after having cleaned the house. We were laying in bed when the lights suddenly went out. Pitch blackness, jungle darkness, for one night I will not need my light blocking eye mask to sleep.
The roof has started leaking in a few spots, so upon getting up the next morning we checked the pots and pans strategically placed to deal with the drips. The landlord tells me than only once every few years during a terrific storm with wind the roof leaks. I see I'm going to have to add that to our list of things to fix if our contract to buy goes through.
We arise at 4 am, getting dressed for the trip in the pitch blackness. The plan was to walk out to the bus stop to catch the 5:30 am bus to San Jose and get off at the airport stop to catch our 12:30 pm flight to BWI and our kids.
After getting up and ready in the dark we hoofed it outside in the still pouring rain, trudging through high water to the bus stop. Jim's shoes were sodden. I'd been a bit more practical, wearing my Tamarindo uniform of rubber flipflops and beach dress. Even sheltering in the overhang of the bus stop our suitcases and ourselves quickly got soaked. We waited and waited and waited with a crowd for over an hour. No bus, no one answering the phone at the bus station.
After an hour a lady taxi driver we know well, Annie, stopped and said no buses were running in Tamarindo because of washed out roads, but she could try to take us an hour away to Liberia, where we could get a bus to San Jose on Ruta 1.
Piled in our baggage and squeezed in with a couple trying to get to Nicaragua and off we went through the raindrops. Downed trees everywhere, several times we had to skirt around the trees on the shoulder or drive through after waiting for road crews armed with chainsaws. Water covering the road in many places, lapping at the edges in others. When we were almost to Liberia we discovered that a bridge was washed away and we had to turn back around.
Annie tried to take us to nearby Santa Cruz where we might be able to catch a bus, but yet again we got nearly there and came upon a closed road. Houses stood three and four feet underwater and many places were huge churning lakes of roiling brown water.
We finally had to stop and regroup near Filadelphia, stopping at the only open soda to get cold pastries and drinks. Annie warned that we needed to eat up hearty because we might end up stuck on the way back to Tamarindo.
To be continued......
To be continued......