Leaving the U.S.

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Warm feeling from gift shop at Costa Rica Airport

The trip started quite auspiciously with the Prime Time shuttle not only being on time but me being the only passenger.  My driver was uncannily polite like out of some SNL skit. 
"Miss Nicole, is it okay if I drink coffee while driving?" 
Me: "Sure."
Driver: "Thank you, ma'am.  Thank you ma'am.  You know coffee, it's not that good when it's cold."  (Ten seconds later)  "Are you really a Yalie? I saw it on your license plate. I've never really used that word before, Yalie."

Me: "Yes, I did  go to Yale."
Driver: "Oooh, the President went there, didn't he?"
Me: "Yes."
Him:  "Oh, I am very sorry.  It is very rude of me to be taking these liberties of asking you so many questions." 
Me: No, that's okay. 
Driver: "Oh, Miss Nicole.  I forgot to say, thank you very much for taking Prime Time and allowing me to serve you.  I have one more question to ask of you, I apologize, Miss Nicole.  Do you want me to take the 10 to the 710 or to the 110?"
Me: It doesn't matter to me.  Whatever you prefer."
Him: "Oh, thank you, Miss Nicole, thank you."

Then we rode in silence for most of the way until a departure with similar fanfare and pleasantries.  I would not have been surprised if he cried at our parting.

The airport check-in for TACA was a good prelude to Latin America: crowded, loud, disorganized and then all of a sudden the stars of inefficiency would align and shepherd you through the endless masses at the cost of the inefficency of the whole system.  

I had a stopover in Costa Rica in an airport with stores that were exactly how I would expect them.  With chilled out music and lots of souvenirs related to coffee, turtles, and wood.  In fact, it reminded me a lot of Hawaii airport gift shops.  I wonder if my warm, chilled out feeling would become the same sort of annoyance I feel for the super hokie "Hawaiian gifts" store.  In any case, after very little sleep, the chilled out ambience was very welcoming.  I even ended up buying something, an American book!

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