Reluctantly leave Nicaragua, feel sad. Hit infamously slow border crossing between Nicaragua and Costa Rica (because of age old rivalry, feuding, mutual discontent) queue in several seemingly needless passport queues for hours, enter Costa Rica.
Still need to locate the 7 hour bus to San Jose, step out of super-cooled passport office, hit heat, see 70 person bus queue, shoulders sink. A pumped-up Chevvy wagon containing 3 young guns from Australia swings into a free parking space next to my feet, they spring out.
“Yo!” I say,
“Yo!” They reply,
“A donde va?” (“where are you going?”)
“San Jose, you need a lift?”
“That’d be awesome, Gracias!”
Goodbye 9 hour queuing and bus session, Hola open road, new amigos and freedom to roam. Much rejoicing.
(On the road we passed a large jail on the Pacific coast, near Puntarenas the biggest port in Costa Rica, perched on a hill, great views over the port and sea. n.b. Location. Location. Location…)
Arrive San Jose, Barrios California, party on.
(Barrios California reminded me of the amazing Friedrichain district of Berlin, ample street art, dark alternative bars and streets lined with friendly people with individual fashions. Excellent.)
Having both grown up with Mike who spoke of his family in Costa Rica , we were overjoyed to go and stay with the half Welsh born Lloyd family, who own the British School in San Jose. We enjoyed fine dining in a lovely house in the city which bought me enough time to create the latest figment of my imagination..
..today’s Souvenir update coming from our time in Costa Rica, check check, we love guns!
How did it happen? Over dinner at an American Biker Bar we’re tucking into some Buffalo wings, when we get to the subject of guns, the boyfriend of the Daughter of the family, mentions he runs the gun website for the whole of Costa Rica, and to illustrate the fact, pulls out a polished black 9mm pistol from his pocket. Sweet. Game on!
7am the next morning we climb Volcan Paos, to find the clearest views ever seen by my hosts, who marvel at a part of the crater they’ve never seen before. Feeling very lucky I took some panoramic shots and offered them along with a batch of fresh Welsh cakes as a gesture of goodwill in return for the overwhelming hospitality. Next stop Rancho Amazonia, blasting quarry come shooting range.
Picking up Sam, some imported Stella Artois (for proping) and furthermore the arsenal of sports 9mm’s and a semi-automatic AK47, we headed to Ammunation(?)to pick up the shells. Loaded, we weave our way through the insane traffic across and out of town town to the danger zone shooting range. We spent the afternoon terrified of the seriousness of handling deadly weapons, but also learning from a great tutor, laughing and blasting watermelons! Evidence of the happiness…
After San Jose we headed to Puerto Viejo, a crazy party town on the beach in a rain forest near the Panamanian border. The memorable moments that don’t involve partying being the beautiful cloud forest landscape on the way in and out, and the Spear-gun owning Isreali who we’re still traveling with now, marine kill count 5, stories to come in the next update. Writing this in smoggy Panama city, heading to Colombia tomorrow by boat via the San Blas Islands we hope, wish us luck.
In other news:
* Blood was shed on the soil of Costa Rica, after a dancing disagreement with a local narcotics dealer. Nothing serious.
* Coffee plantations have trees as borders which shade the plants for part of the day, as the coffee bean doesn’t like continuous exposure to the sun.