Day 69: Isla Ometepe - San José
San Jose Travel Blog› entry 95 of 120 › view all entries
Today was a loooooong day of travelling. I had to be in San José, the capital of Costa Rica, tonight, to pick up my mate Arnaud (http://www.travbuddy.com/argloos) who will be joining me for the last 3 weeks of my trip.
When I had calculated the time I'd be able to spend in Nicaragua it had made sense to spend 2 nights on Isla de Ometepe, but now that I was looking at the distance I had to cover today it didn't seem like all that good an idea any more.
I was on an underdeveloped island, in the middle of the largest lake in Central America, and I had to get to a city 400 kilometres from here, in another country! The last time I crossed a border in this region it had taken me the best part of a day!
And I was worried what would happen if I wouldn't make it to San José today. How would I be able to reach Arnaud? I didn't know if he would have his mobile phone with him, but I certainly didn't. Didn't know his number either. I had last been in touch with him in Granada, two days ago, would he understand if I didn't show up at the airport tonight?
However, it turned out there was no need to fret. I took the first boat off the island, at 5:30 in the morning, and in San Jorge I was able to bargain with a taxi driver to drive me to the border for 10 bucks.
The border crossing went smooth and easy, and on the other side of the border there was a bus waiting, which brought me to the capital in just over three hours. So I arrived in San José with half a day to spare!
Figuring Arnaud would need some time to acclimatise I booked us a hotel room with private shower and toilet, rather than the gritty type of dorms I'd been staying in over the past few weeks.
Not that the hotel I'd picked was much to write home about, but at least it was cheap and it was central. And its name had a nice ring to it, Gran Hotel Imperial, I reckoned Arnaud would approve of such a place.
So thanks to my unexpected early arrival I was able to get some laundry done, and do a bit of necessary shopping. I'd thrown away the clothes I had worn on the volcano yesterday, and after two and a half months of travelling my wardrobe was wearing a bit thin.
I took a taxi to the airport where Arnaud's flight arrived right on time. It was great seeing him again. I started my very first back-packing trip together with him, so it seemed only fitting that I'd finish my last long solo trip (for the time being) with him as well.
As we'd both had a long day of travelling we decided to have an early night and do all the sightseeing tomorrow. Arnaud had brought some nice goodies with him. Some magazines, a new CD which had just come out which I'd been dying to hear but hadn't been able to buy anywhere, a letter from my mum... I had only been away from home for two-and-a-half months, yet home felt like such a distant concept to me. I just couldn't fathom that in 20 days from now I'd be back in Holland and had to go find a job. Crikey!
But the best thing Arnaud had brought was a bottle of 10 year old Balvenie Single Malt whisky. Hey, if you travel, you have to travel in style!
I had bought some local hand-rolled long-filler cigars today, so we spent the evening very decadently smoking cigars and drinking whisky on our balcony.