Hasta luego, Costa Rica, y gracias por todos los peces

We spent the last couple of days driving back up the coast. We broke it up into smaller chunks of driving, which allowed us to take our time and have a really relaxing trip. We stopped off in Manuel Antonio, just outside of Quepos, and stayed at the Costa Verde hotel. It was really beautiful. The room was furnished with ornate, carved decorations, it was roomy and cozy at the same time, and our balcony had one of the most amazing views of the beach we’ve ever seen.

Everything was made of wood, the desk, the chairs, the ceiling, I swear, they probably thought about making the shower out of wood. This was our favorite hotel by far, this trip. The room didn’t

have outside walls, just screens to let in the breeze and the sounds of the ocean, birds, and probably monkeys all night long. It was decadent and relaxing, We highly recommend it if you find yourself in or near Quepos.

The nearby hotels were all built and themed around things that had been left in the area. El Avion had a bar built inside an old abandoned cargo plane (refurbished, of course). The wagon (train car) had colorful tiles on the floor. Everywhere always had painted pillars, or some happy accent to feast your eyes on.

We took the 15-minute hike down to the beach, and dipped our toes in. As with everywhere else we’ve been, the water temperature was perfect, the air was warm, and we enjoyed just looking out at the tiny islands dotting the shore. If we had had more time we might have tried swimming out to see how far we could get. If Morgan had a billion dollars, he would have bought the island on the right.

The trek back up the hill in the heat of day was a little more intense than the earlier trip down. I feel like we really earned those pancakes at the top at Anaconda restaurant (the only one that didn’t have the thing it was named for… We don’t think…).

The tag line of our hotel was, “still more monkeys than people,” but we didn’t actually see any. They might have visited us while we were sleeping. I’m glad we only have the tooth fairy in the USA, Morgan would have been horrified to think about monkeys stealing his teeth as a child. We spent most of the day lounging in the pool, which seems like a travesty in the world of amazing beaches, but after three weeks of being beaten by waves, a calm, quiet pool sounds pretty nice. We also had the pool to ourselves, which was an extra nice treat.

After having breakfast with Aunt Jemima (for export only), we got on the road to San Jose. The trip was scenic, of course, and it was fun to start seeing things like billboards. Apparently, we will just be missing the arrival of the Lady Gaga and Evanescence concerts. Darn.

Once we were in the city itself, we were glad to have San Francisco driving experience under our belts. Driving really does seem to be interpretative here. We saw a motorcyclist cut through some traffic to go faster by dodging in and out of the cars on the opposite side of the road!

Spotting our hotel was a lot easier than trying to actually park there. After navigating one-way roads (some of which ended abruptly, leaving almost no way out), and the swarming suicidal pedestrians, we finally found the turn in for valet parking. Swanky! The lobby was really gorgeous with delicate carved decoration, live music, and a tiny cafe. There was jewelry on display, and it was much more ritzy than our tiny room.

Our bathroom was such a closet that you had to close the door all the way to get into the shower, but to close the door you had to practically stand in the toilet. The room did feature the widest bed we’ve seen so far, which we promptly threw ourselves on to relax for a hot second, then it was out into the rain to find the Mercado Central so we could browse all the hand-made items.

Everyone wanted us to come into their tiny nooks stuffed with things. Hand-painted feathers, drums, butterflies in frames, woven backpacks… Things were dangling from the ceiling, bonking Morgan in the head. We met an old painter who also sold his wife’s art. He pulled out his photo album to show us how they had met the presidents of Costa Rica and El Salvador, and the Prime Minister. He was really adorable and the paintings were great.

When the rain slowed down, we popped back out onto the street, and saw, if you can believe it, a big and tall shop! It turned out to be just for big people though, not tall ones. We may have misread the sign, but I think in general we really did a great job of interacting with people in Spanish and figuring out what signs were saying to us on this whole trip! By the end we were able to watch tv in Spanish and get most of what was being said. We were able to order our food, ask for directions, tell people how pregnant we were and what we were having, and listen to them tell us about their sister’s babies and how cute they were. If one of us missed something, the other one usually could pick up the slack, I am pretty impressed by how well we did.

On our last night, we ate at a cafeteria and watched movies in our room while Charlie entertained us with new moves he must have picked up from El Kung Fu Panda.

In the morning, after a quick hotel breakfast, we navigated back to the airport, returned the rental car, and got everything stowed away for the trip. We left behind a bag of groceries we had been unable to utilize due to the lack of propane for our stove, but maybe Alejandro, our car guy, will enjoy some pasta and beans.

After going through two separate rounds of security and having to get on a bus to get to the plane, we are now blissfully soaring through the air toward Guatemala. Our flight was delayed, so we will have to hurry to make it to our connecting flight, but if all goes well, we should be back in Oakland by 10 PM tonight!

**update** That was a quick flight! We had one more quick round of security, despite not leaving any secure area, where they took away the Diet Coke we got on our previous flight, and now we are just waiting to board. Seriously though, we got off the plane, and got searched five feet away to get back on a plane…

We are really looking forward to seeing you guys, and to not having to beat the Mosquitos away! Home sweet home, here we come!