Today we crossed into Costa Rica and I am currently lying in bed in a food coma. So far Costa Rica has been much more expensive, as promised, but with that comes a higher standard of living. Prices here are back to $15/night for a bed and $6/meal. Gas is $6/gallon; whoever blames our government for American gas prices should know that everyone else in the world is making a tenth the income and paying even more per gallon. None of the so far six countries have offered gas cheaper than at home. Mexico was on par, everywhere else has been more expensive. I was getting accustomed to the prices in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. It’s hard to go back and start paying the same prices we were paying for two months in Mexico. Facing the prices back at home will be something entirely different.
The benefit of a $6 meal is that it is far more substantial. I had rice with mixed meat as a main course at dinner and it’s the first time I’ve been this full since Tulum, Mexico. The food for the last three countries has been small meals consisting mostly of plantains and small portions of rice and beans. Costa Rica obviously is a country with some money pumping through it. Its focus on tourism seems to have Americanized it a bit. The traffic is civil. There are luxury cars on the road. We have a TV in the room. A cop told me ‘thank you’ today in perfect English. Tonight Al and I are staying in an authentic random Costa Rican town that won’t be in any guide books. I don’t even know the name at the moment. We’re sixty miles north of San Jose off the main drag with no plan on tomorrow’s direction.
Our border crossing today was about as cavalier as we’ve been all trip. We decided last night that we’d go to Costa Rica today. Figuring we’d manage to wake up around 6:00am, we went to bed without an alarm; we ended up barely catching the 9:00am ferry off of Ometepe. On the ferry ride Alex met a Czech guy who is currently riding a Honda 125 from Chile to Texas. He invested maybe a quarter of the money that we did in preparation, but he’s doing the exact same thing. This time we caught the nicer ferry with an actual car deck. An hour later we were back on mainland. I was relieved to get back because I’ve been borrowing money off Alex for the past week. In Honduras my Chase debit card stopped working. I had told them I would be out of the country until next year but this is a big confused bank we’re talking about. The card worked off and on through Honduras and then it stopped altogether the second I crossed into Nicaragua. I called from Ometepe and go through to customer service and had the issue taken care of finally. But then the only ATM on the island didn’t accept Mastercard. I owe Alex a lot of money now.
I got some back to him today from a mainland ATM, but I’ll have to pull out a couple hundred thousand more Costa Rican colones over the next few days to square up. We spent our first hour off the boat at Revis getting breakfast, finding that ATM, gassing up, and checking tire pressure/waxing chains (the two are generally synonymous now). Then we asked a gas attendant which way to the border and took off. Neither of us had even looked at a Costa Rica map before this crossing. We knew Charlie was in San Jose, so we would follow the signs for the capital city. The border crossing was just thirty miles south of Revis and we were there by 12:30pm.
Over the next hour and a half we paid two different border sherpas $20 total to get us through the confusing border mess. It was hot as hell. We’re getting closer to the equator and the heat here is so much more direct. It really pours down on top of you. In these times I usually unbutton my riding pants and push them down to my boots to cool off in my athletic shorts. With the guide hired, Alex took off with both passports to take care of business. In the meantime I guarded the motorcycles with my pants around my ankles and chatted with other sherpas about the trip. We finally made it through the entire ordeal around 2:00pm and hit the road determined to cover some ground. We knew Charlie was in San Jose, but we had no clue how to find him. We still don’t.
In total I think we covered about 120 miles of northern Costa Rica and ended up in this no name town at 5:30pm. An Austrian ex-pat told us about the hotel here run by drunken old people. The place is nice, worth the $28 price tag. We moved in and then quickly scurried downtown where I bought my $6 gut bomb. Tomorrow we are going to get online here in town and see if Charlie has sent us a line. If not, we’ll come up with a new plan on the fly. This trip is becoming more and more off the cuff every day. We haven’t had a deadline in over three months. Haven’t used an alarm in weeks. Every night can go on as long as we want. It’s vacation. There’s no need to plan when life is this easy.