San Jose to Nosara
Zarcero Travel Blog› entry 4 of 29 › view all entries
January 19th, 1997 – by: jsbuck1
We are in the B&B as planned, but the day did not go quite as foreseen. We were ready to go by 10 this morning, but when we got to the Email place, it had been totally dismantled and they were reconfiguring everything. So they were closed. We left from Santa Ana without a last Email. Going around San Jose, we got completely turned around and found ourselves headed for the airport, Northwest instead of Northeast. Our alternate route was slow and completely unsigned. There were some signs on some streets and some names on the lines on the map, but never for the same road. The compass came in handy. So, a one hour trip turned into a two and a half hour one, but we stayed in good spirits and got to the teleferrico by 2:30.
Except for the proprietor, Ron, who is from Boxboro Mass, and was a little more talkative than we were ready for, it was a very inviting place. It was in a secondary rain forest, with a nature trail down to the Rio Blanco where we stripped off our clothes and took a swim. Their dog came with us and took quite a shine to me. We had dinner there with some of the other guests, one of whom was a painter who had been hired by the tramway to make a painting that would be transferred to silk scarves to be sold at the place. She was quite interesting. The others were mostly interesting as Norte Americanos uncomfortable in the Centro Americano culture.
It began to rain at dinner, and continued through the next day. Our tram ride in a six-person open gondola was preceded by a video talk by the inventor and followed by a trail walk with our guide, Juan Carlos.
The Rain forest
It was as wonderful as a church. The wildlife stayed home but we saw one toucan and many beautiful plants. We rode with a young couple from Canada to whom we had given a ride from the B&B. Norm and Karen, who were on the same wave length as we were about the forest. The four of us stood out in a sea of silver hairs who came on a bus. Dawn spoke Spanish to everyone she could and by the time our tram ride was half way over Juan Carlos was explaining everything in English for us and in Spanish for her.
We spent the next couple of hours driving to a hill town on the continental divide called Zarcero. The roads are good if your expectations are not too high and you keep a constant look out for pot holes.
The country has very little if any European type charm. Those cute little hill towns in Europe are replaced by people who are very open and interested in communicating with us.
When we got to the town about 5 in the evening, there was no hotel to be seen or signs to it, so we did what I am sure we will do again. We drove to a high point in town and looked for it. We saw it but there seemed to be no one there. I asked some people but got no answer that I could understand. Next we went to the Bar/Restaurant Geranios and asked in there. They were busy but they did call the hotel and found that they were lleno, so they pointed around the corner (in a way that you can only do when you are speaking to a foreigner.) We found the hostel and, for $15 plus $2.50 for a locked place for our car, we got a place for the night. (Car theft seems to be the biggest crime in Costa Rica.) We took a walk around the square in a light drizzle. The square was filled with imaginative topiary depicting everything from elephants to helicopters, and then we returned to the restaurant for dinner.
Dinner is complicated because my digestive tract is quite a bit behind schedule and I want very little to eat beside a salad. We were taken under wing by the waiter whom we refer as El Jefe. We explained our situation and negotiated dinner and finally he said that he understood and that he would talk to the chef and we would like the dinner. We never knew until it came what it would be. The hearts of palm were delicious and the rest also.
The hostel was fine. The view not bad and the bed firm, but coffee was hard to find the next morning, brewed coffee that is.
We did meet the topiary artist and Dawn jumped in to congratulate him on the work, and ask him how long he had been working on it. He said thirty years. (Maybe nearly everyday.) We had not the courage to ask whether he was paid for the work. It was right in front of a rather ordinary church on the outside but wonderfully charming on the inside. Maybe it was for the greater glory.
After waiting around the baño at the hostel for a while we launched ourselves again toward Arenal, one of the world's most active volcanoes. We are now hanging out in an inn/motel above the lake, thinking that if the clouds lift we will see lava and sparks and whatever. It is a great place to write. Alas, it is now raining.
We picked up a hitch hiker, Enrique, three times today. He was walking from Santa Ana to Teleran, about a three hour car trip. We never did get the whole story but it was fun to try. Somehow we both thought he was going home for a funeral, but no he was just leaving the church where he had been working. We kept stopping to look at hotels and saying good-bye and then after moving on, finding him at impossible distances ahead. We passed what I think was a coati mundi on the highway and he had us stop and he lured him almost back through the bushes for a photo. He had many things to say about the hotels, but he spoke very fast. We did correct his English pronunciation of the word "cow."
Tomorrow, if the weather does not improve, we head for the Nicoya Peninsula to see Ruth and Ed. We are realizing that we will have to plan the rest of our stay to be in one place longer to keep the traveling part to less of the total, so we can write and study Spanish some more and just be.
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