Saturday, October 26, 2013

Day 1 & 2 - Travel

They say that travel is about the journey, not the destination but these days it is really just about getting there. Luckily for us, aside from getting up waaaay too early, our travel day was relatively uneventful. We flew with Delta from Boston to Atlanta then on to San Jose, Costa Rica. We were met at the airport by Alex from Vamos rent a car and brought to their office to do some paperwork and even though this seemed a little disorganized and took longer than expected, we got our Suzuki Jimmy, a GPS and an emergency cell phone and were on our way.
Our first stop was not too far from the airport at Hotel Bougainvillea in Santo Domingo. Once checked-in we dropped off our things and headed out to find an ATM and some lunch. Why is it I can never figure out the currency conversion easily enough to know how many colones I want to get? Oh well, 50,000 should hold us for a little while, right? JSYK, that's right about $100.00, I think.
We find a little cafe and get a couple of sandwiches while trying to use and understand with my limited Spanish. I must have done ok because we ended up with a couple of ham and cheese croissant sandwiches which hit the spot.
Back at the hotel we are a bit tired but decide to walk the gardens on the back of the hotel and I'm glad we did. It's a huge area with walkways through some of the most strange and beautiful plants and flowers that I have seen. We also glimpsed some birds, hummingbirds and butterflies.
After a little relaxing, we head for dinner and then back to the room to catch the end of the Red Sox game 2 which didn't end in our favor. A funny thing, while we were laying there watching the game, we begin to hear this chirping...what the heck is that? Chirp.....chirp.....chirp, damn, it's the smoke detector which seems to have a dead battery. A quick call to the front desk and bellman/maintenance guy comes up and fixes it right up. I'm glad that happened then instead of the middle of the night!!!!
A decent night's sleep and we hit the shower and then down for some breakfast. While it was a quick stay in Santo Domingo, we are off to the Caribbean coast today and the town of Cahuita. It is about a four hour drive but we take our time (some to the roads require that you do) and enjoy the scenery through one of the many national parks here. As lunch nears, we spot a lady on the side of the road with a little warmer out keeping some empanadas and baked chicken warm. With a bit of talking and a lot of pointing we get a really good lunch that cost us about 4.00 US, that's 2,000 colones for those not keeping up.
Nice and full, we continue our way to Cahuita and the Playa Negra Guesthouse. We're greeted by Greg who shows us around, gets us to our room and makes arrangements for a snorkeling tour at the Cahuita National Park for tomorrow.
We settle in and then head to the beach. As the name of our accommodations suggest, we are at Black Beach and yes the sand is black, not an obvious black, but more of an underlying black but still noticeably black.
The whole area is distant and laid back and it is easy to quickly begin to relax.
For tonights dinner we walk a couple of blocks down to the Reggae Bar complete with reggae music, beer and locals smoking weed. I immediately think of my friend Selena here. Even better than the vibe was the food. Dave had a chicken with a anjillo sauce which was just a little spicy and I had the grilled snapper which was soooo good. There's something about getting a plate with a whole grilled fish on it that makes my mouth water, and this was no ordinary fish. It was grilled so well that the skin was just to die for and I don't know what they used to season it with but I'll have more please! So, a good dinner, a couple of beers and we head, back listen to the wild noises around us and head off to sleep as our day tomorrow will start a little early.

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