Thursday, 31 March 2011

Golden rules are there for a reason


After 3 nights of A/C coolness it was time to leave San Juan and cross another border. The local bus dropped me off on the Pan American highway and after a short wait another bus came along and took me to the frontier.

The border was a “land of confusion” with people everywhere trying to get you to buy a bus ticket or attempting to sell you the paperwork you needed to give the immigration staff. I ignored them all, well until I got to the immigration building. Once the paperwork was completed and my passport had an exit stamp I ignored all the bus touts once again and walk over the border. By the time I got to the Costa Rican side I was a little bit hot and sweaty.

The formalities were over very quickly and after a 30 minute wait the bus to Liberia pulled out of its parking spot. The windows were large and they opened up all the way, which was fantastic. For the 1st couple of miles the other side of the road was full of lorries, all parked up waiting to cross the border. This meant that any other traffic, like cars, had to travel on our side of the road....

A few hours later I was in Liberia and was walking the 500m to the bus station for the local buses. I decided to get some money out of an atm. Normally I am pretty good at getting used to the local currency, apart from when there are lots of noughts on the end. I had wanted to get C$200000 out but I missed out a nought and only got C$20000 or £25. so I tried again only to be informed by the machine that I had insufficient funds?????

I decided that I would try again once I got to Playa Del Coco.

Playa del Coco is a place I have been to before. Back in 2004 I spent a month there hanging out, diving, and drinking in one of the best bars I've ever been in.

As the bus rode into town I noticed some big changes, like the shopping malls, the large condo development and the new banks and supermarkets. I got a room in the same hotel I used last time and for C$56000 a week I got a good room which now had a sea view (because all the beach shacks were now gone). As I needed to pay for the room I went to the bank to get some money out...only I wasn't able to....I still had insufficient funds?

(Going online I discovered two $200 withdrawals had been made that day but not by me. Turns out my card had been cloned and was being used in Panama (and then later on in Peru). The end result was my card was cancelled, I'm glad I still had my credit card. My bank were on the ball with this one and when I had talked with the fraud department on Monday they refunded me the money fraudulently taken out of my account.)

The next day was Friday and after a cash advance on my credit card I had money....and the Vida Loca bar had beer!!!

Golden rule number 19: never go back to a place where you had a great time because it will never be as good.

Sadly I was the only customer......Damn!!!!

Luckily there are other bars in this small beach town and the weekend was spent checking them out.

On Tuesday I went diving, the water was bloody cold (which was actually really nice) but the visibility was terrible and it was really hard to see anything that wasn't right in front of you.

After spending a week here I've decided to spend another week here. That way when Semana Santa comes around and all the Tico's head to the beach I'll be in the mountains.

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