Wednesday, September 30, 2009

La Fortuna

Yesterday was insane. I arrived at the airport in San Jose, planning to take 3 separate buses to get to La Fortuna. On the plane, I realized I was feeling pretty nervous (read: terrified), and it occurred to me that for all my globetrotting, I've never gone out of the country by myself. It was a kind of new feeling, but I decided there was nothing to do about it except ignore it and try to get through San Jose quickly. It's supposed to be a dirty, somewhat dangerous city. When I walked out of the airport, I was accosted by about 30 taxi drivers, all trying to talk me into their cabs. I had to wade through them to get anywhere. I picked the one with the nicest face and asked him where I could find the bus stop and an ATM. The directions to the bus stop were a little ambiguous, but I could spot the ATM, so I headed there. I then headed back to try to get better directions to the bus. This time a couple of the taxi drivers started following me, so I did the first thing that came to my head - walked back inside the airport to the "official" airport taxi stand to ask how much they charged. I was willing to give up on the bus because I was getting frazzled. However, when I discovered that the taxi cost $19, I got my balls back. I asked for directions again, and breezed out of that place headed for the bus stop. The bus pulled up just as I got there, and I hopped on. It cost 90 cents.

The walk in downtown San Jose was the only part I was worried about. From the bus stop where I got dropped off to the one I needed to leave from, it was about 7 blocks. My Lonely Planet advised not walking this stretch at night, but it was daytime, and it was only 7 blocks. After wandering around for a while trying to orient myself, I finally managed to get back where I started and start the 7 block treck. Now I'm pretty city-wise, but this place was SHADE-Y. I walked fast. I finally spotted a guy in business attire walking ahead of me, and I hurried to get close to him. Then I tailed him for a couple of blocks, until he started to look annoyed. Then I asked him politely in Spanish if he could tell me where the San Carlos terminal was. That nice guy walked me right there and dropped me off! From there, the journey got a lot easier, although it was very long. There was a direct bus to San Carlos (Ciudad Quesada) leaving as soon as I arrived. A nice Costa Rican gentlemen helped me check my bag and even saved me a seat in the front of the bus next to a window. He was from Ciudad Quesada. In San Carlos, I literally walked off of my bus and onto the next to La Fortuna. Unfortunately, I was getting pretty hungry, and I'd had to pee for about 3 hours, but I wasn't going to complain about not having to wait for a bus! The drive up here was amazing and really beautiful, and as far as I could tell, I was the only foreigner on any of the buses.

When I arrived in La Fortuna, I spent about 45 mins looking for my darn hostel, which was ridiculous, since it was a few blocks from the town center. Then I got a much-needed shower and met up with 2 guys from couchsurfing (www.couchsurfing.org) for dinner and drinks. It was a fun night! I met some of their friends, went to a poetry reading in Spanish, and then we went to their apartment and played Apples to Apples :) I had to punk out early though, because I was exhausted. It's nice to have some friends here though! Now, I'm headed to meet a shuttle to my first volunteer job. It's a place near the volcano called Rancho Margot - you can check it out at www.ranchomargot.org. It's about 30-45 minutes from La Fortuna, so I'll probably make it back down here on my days off. I'll be there for the next month, and I think I'll have internet access. I'll try to post pictures soon...

Aura

4 comments:

Sandra Morris said...

Hey Sweetie,
So GREAT to hear from you. Yesterday was a REALLY long day!
Sounds like your guardian angel was able to keep up with your many travels. I'm so happy you are there and am excited about hearing about your job.
We miss you terribly already; thanks SO MUCH for sharing your summer with us. I enjoyed being with you- it reminded me of our drive to Mexico, only longer and better.
Take care and post often.
Always, Mom

Sara said...

Yay! Glad you are there safely. Have a blast and keep writing about it so I can live vicariously through you, I've been sitting in a computer lab crunching numbers for hours and need the distraction :)

Carrie said...

Wow! If YOU thought the place was SHADE-Y! AGH! It is like you are on your own episode of The Amazing Race!
So, what is the volunteer job thing you are doing???? I hadn't heard of that, but read on the newer post about it...
Explain please! Sounds interesting!

cassielc said...

Aura,
That sounds so exciting. I visited the link you provided and that is so amazing! It looks very nice there and I hope your travels go well!!