A day of travel

Alajuela Travel Blog

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One of my favorite things is being in the car, driving up the main road that leads to Pierre Elliott Trudeau International airport knowing that in just a few hours, I'll be leaving on a plane, heading off on my next great adventure. I often look up and watch every time a plane flies overhead, wishing I was in that plane heading off somewhere. Destination: anywhere, really. Anywhere. This time, it's really my turn and I am elated.

The departures are always the same. My dad is very quiet throughout the drive, no doubt worrying about his 'Little Girl' as she's always running off somewhere and most often, by herself. Once in awhile, he'll start to ask about friends and inquire about their travel plans to which I patiently remind him many of my friends don't or can't travel. It's endearing, these talks. He loves me very much and a father naturally worries, but this isn't my first trip alone and he knows I am very sensible. I can take care of myself.

This time around, he doesn't ask. He's getting used to this but we both know he will always worry just a little. We can't help but worry about those we care about. His hug is brief but firm as he helps me with my backpack from the trunk of the car and tells me to have fun and contact home via Skype as soon as I can. I smile and speak words of reassurance and then I turn with backpack strapped to my back and take the first few steps on my adventure. I know the adventure starts well before the trip itself but when I finally arrive at the airport, I know that it's here. It's real. This is it!

The flight to Newark is short. I suppose I consider all flights short after having spent way too many hours cramped on a flight to Hong Kong but Newark really isn't too far away. I am thankful I don't have to collect my backpack and I am free to wander and explore for a few hours before I board the next plane and make the final leg of my journey. Newark is busy and my connecting gate is actually next to the arriving gate so I know not to wander far. I hit the ladies' room first and then I spot a huge Guinness sign. Mmm Guinness. What a fabulous idea! It's lunchtime and I figure, hey, why not? So in I go, grabbing a corner table at the charming Irish Pub. I pull out my mini laptop and while it boots up, I order a nice cold pint and a salad. I relax, fiddle around on the laptop, take a picture or two and remember Dublin. I should visit Dublin again.

After lunch, I wander some more. The adventure has already started. I should explore! There are shops and caf├ęs, all throughout the terminal but one in particular catches my eye. Ron Jons Surf Shop. Hell yeah. In I walk and when I emerge I've got my first souvenirs: a Roxy cap and sunglasses. Functional. After awhile, I get tired of wandering and plunk myself down at a WIFI station and browse and chat with family and friends while I wait. My stomach is tossing and turning in anticipation. I can't stop smiling. After so much hard work, I did it. Surf, here I come!

The flight is 4.5 hours to San Jose, Costa Rica and by the time I arrive, the sun has set. My feet step into the terminal and my eyes are wide, gazing around in awe and wonder like a kid in a candy store. My steps are quick, feet half dancing, half skipping across the floor as I try to beat the crowd to customs. I just want to be out! Luckily, though the snaking customs line appears long, processing time is quick and I am skipping off to baggage claim within 10 minutes. It's quick to find my bag as well and in no  time, I am stepping out into the cool night air, looking for a taxi.

Now I read my guidebooks and they warned me about the taxis. I am to look for the orange taxis. Those are the legitimate taxis. I'm the sensible one. A single female traveler needs to travel smartly. They're clearly marked and so I have no trouble finding a taxi. It's after 10pm and I need to get to the hotel that's been booked for me by Montezuma Expeditions as part of their shuttle pack. It's in Alajuela and supposedly only 5 minutes away. The hotel is to reimburse me for the taxi fare.

I'm eager. I'm excited. I get to practice the Spanish I remember from the 4 years I studied in high school. Too bad it's been almost 10 years. Still, I remember quite a bit and am able to communicate. The taxi driver is charmed and in 5 minutes, I really do arrive at the hotel, the hotel receptionist, opening the gate for me with a smile. He had been expecting me.

It's late and I am hot and sticky now form lugging the luggage and from traveling all day. I ask about the free wifi and am directed to my room where I crash and shower. The room is very clean and I am impressed. But I forgot to ask about the WIFI code and am unable to connect to the internet. No matter. I need to be up bright and early the next morning anyway to take the shuttle to Mal Pais. Mal Pais! I want to surf tomorrow after I drop off my bags. I think I will.
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photo by: diisha392