We left Jaco with Mario about ten and told him we just wanted a leisurely drive back to San Jose, and that we wanted to stop at the soda that we'd stopped at on our first day for lunch. He started out with his MP3 player playing some really offensive rap crap that was in english. I mean, this stuff was the epitome of why I hate most rap-fuck the bitches and stab the cops shit and n----- this and...well, you get the picture. The Innocent Bystander was giving me some eye english that let me know in no uncertain terms that he was not going to be able to put up with that for two hours, and sure enough, after about the third song, he told Mario to pull over. The IB got out his Iphone and pulled up a playlist of Latin American music and the gringos actually introduced the tico to some new (for him) artists. After we got going again, he held up his MP3 player again and explained that he had borrowed it from his ten year old son. *blink*
I asked him how many kids he had and he said ten. Johnny and I both looked at him, eyebrows raised. "DIEZ?" we both asked. He nodded and repeated it. Ten. Then he looked at the IB sideways and said "No TV." It took half a beat, and we all burst into laughter. No TV. What a card.
We stopped at the roadside soda at the top of the mountain and found that they had all the same souveniers that we'd bought in Jaco for about a third of the prices we'd paid. We all decided to have a casada one last time (because we had big plans for dinner) and discovered that this little hole in the wall had the best food we'd eaten thus far! The IB even finally got some queso frita (a fried white cheese) that he'd been hunting the whole time we'd been in Costa Rica. After a wonderful meal, we proceded on to the hotel.
We stayed at the Hotel El Rodeo, a four-star, ecologically sustainable hotel ten minutes from the airport. Mario took us in and helped us get checked in, then told the IB to hang on a minute, that he had a present for him. He ran out to the taxi, and when he came back, he had his hand behind his back. When he brought it to the front, I started crying, for there in his hand was Igor, his little iguana that rode everywhere he went in his taxi. We insisted that Igor needed to stay with him, but he insisted that we take him, and that the IB take him to Nigeria and let him ride on the boat with him. I sobbed like a baby. We exchanged email addresses, and said that we would take him with us on all of our travels and send him pictures of everywhere Igor goes. It was SO HARD to tell him goodbye. I am tearing up just thinking about it. Mario es mi amigo y amo a Igor.
The hotel was very nice. It was a welcome change to be in an air conditioned room, so we both took our first shower that 'took' for the whole trip. We went for a walk around the grounds and basically just took it easy for the rest of the afternoon. ^^groucho eyebrows^^ When we came up for air, it was time for dinner, which was the whole reason the IB had chosen this particular hotel. The El Rodeo Steakhouse is supposedly "the best in the country for 27 years." I believe them. The IB had a SLAB O'Beef and I had a much smaller version (sorry Braja! I'm a carnivore, what can I say?). They were very, very good, but mine was so rich I had to go into the bathroom and *searches for a delicate way to put this* puke it all up. I didn't feel sick though, so I returned to the table and finished my dinner with no problems.
The trip home was uneventful other than the last minute dash to catch our connecting flight in Houston. By the time we got through customs and immigration, our flight was already loading before we even got to our terminal, so we ended up getting to be those people you always see being driven through the airport on one of those little annoying electric carts-we flagged one down and he was happy to give us a ride! It is the only thing that kept us from missing the flight, but it was okay since we were in first class (thanks again, frequent flyer miles!).
Impressions. We as US Americans take a lot of things for granted. We assume that when we go to the bathroom, you put the toilet paper IN the toilet and flush it down, but it doesn't work that way all over the world. Costa Rica's septic systems are so delicate that they have signs in all the restrooms advising you to please NOT FLUSH toilet paper down the toilet. There are wastebaskets provided and you are supposed to deposit your used tissue there, which seems very unsanitary but is necessary to keep the pipes from clogging. We also take for granted that when someone says American they are talking about US Americans. One woman from the states who was on the safari cruise asked "How can they call them American crocodiles if they are here in Costa Rica?" I wanted to get up and bitch slap her. We also take our natural resources for granted. I don't think we talked to any Costa Ricans who were not acutely aware of their environment and the impact both tourism and development are having on their country and its flora and fauna. I heard from several different people how it 'used to be' so tranquil (and they say it so beautifully "trankeel"), but that you had to go deeper and deeper into the mountains to find that tranquility anymore. Progress. ^^shrug^^
All in all, a wonderful trip, a wonderful country, a wonderful people. A new piece in the puzzle of my life. New experiences, new friends. Isn't that what it's all about?