San Jose to Victoria 2009

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March 7, 2009 - Saturday - Tamarindo to San Jose - After arriving at Pavas Airport in San Jose from Tamarindo, I take a short taxi ride to Hotel Casa Roland, which only costs 2,000 Colones (about $4).  After checking in, I have to lug my own bags to the room.  This hotel is really funky. There are corridors and lobbies all over the place, and the rooms are decorated with fine art and antique furniture. Ceiling fans are used everywhere, including one in my room. I take lots of photos.

Hotel Casa Roland entranceway open air sitting area Hotel Casa Roland funky interior Hotel Casa Roland bar & reception area My room #17 - bedroom

It is about 30°C in my room - a welcome relief from the stifling heat at Tamarindo, however I still want to cool things down a bit more. I figure out how the air conditioner works and get the room temperature down to 25°C. I then have a bit of a siesta and also work on my computer, since the hotel has high speed wireless. It's sure nice to travel in a country that is so well connected to the Internet, although perhaps I shouldn't spend so much time on the computer.

I have dinner at the Paragon Restaurante, which is recommended by the hotel and is right across the street. It is a fancy place and they give a 10% discount for hotel guests, but it is empty except for one couple and myself. I have a glass of Chardonnay wine, a chicken breast entrée with roasted potatoes and vegetables, and an Americano to finish. The total with taxes is US$15.29 after the discount - cheap! I leave the servers a couple of US$ as a tip and get out of there. The service is impeccable, the food is excellent, and yet there is nothing Costa Rican about the restaurant, so it doesn't appeal to me. It's as if I was eating in a restaurant back home in Victoria.

March 8, 2009 - Sunday - San Jose to Victoria - I'm up at 5am because I set my iPhone alarm, and it changed to Daylight Saving Time overnight. Costa Rica doesn't observe Daylight Saving, so the alarm is an hour early. I went back to bed for a half hour, then got up, had a shower, and finished packing. I hauled my big bag down to the lobby and then gave the room one last check before leaving. I'm prepaid, so check-out is easy. They call a taxi for me and I'm at the international airport in a half hour. The taxi was off the meter and I paid US$20. The hotel said the fare would be about 10,000 Colones, so that's about the same cost.

They pull the American Airlines 757 to the Gate 3 jetway at 7:30am, so things are happening. As they board passengers at the Delta gate, they are doing another security check of carry-on bags right in the jetway. They don't allow any liquids such as bottles of water and pop as you board aircraft in San Jose. They searched all bags again, even though we have already passed through security before getting to the gates. They sell this stuff in the gate area but won't let anyone take it aboard - goofy!

Mexicana, Frontier and Delta all take off while I wait for my flight departure. My American Airlines flight leaves San Jose on time and arrives in Dallas/Ft. Worth a few minutes early. I'm seated next to two young Tico guys on the flight out of San Jose. There are some terrific views of Lake Nicaragua, and the coasts of Honduras, Belize and Galveston. They serve an omelet for breakfast which I sure appreciate, since I missed the breakfast they were going to serve at the hotel in San Jose starting at 7am.

North end of Lake Nicaragua Coastline of Honduras or Belize Reef off the coast of Honduras or Belize

In Dallas/Ft. Worth I'm departing from gate A9 for Seatac, which is located in the original terminal. It's not as grand as the D terminal where I departed for San Jose on my way down a couple of weeks ago. I take the train to get to this terminal. This train is much better than Seatac's since it is elevated and it is also behind the security lines, so I don't have to go through that ordeal again. Oops I should be at gate C17 instead of A9 - I get back on the little train and 15 minutes later I'm at the proper gate with time to spare! Those flight attendants from my last flight steered me wrong. From now on I'll just check the display boards once I get into the airports.  Only refreshments are served gratis since this this a domestic flight.  Beer, wine, cocktails and sandwiches are all extra charge, so I buy a deli sandwich for US$6 (quite good).

We were flying through slush as we approached Seattle, but it cleared by the time we were on final approach. Needless to say I'm wearing my coat in the terminal! It's controlled chaos at the Horizon Airlines gates, but I have time before my 11pm departure to Victoria. Lots of people are waiting for flights to Kelowna, Edmonton, Montana, and other destinations, and there are snow delays all over the place. I strike up a conversation with some folks who are flying to Montana after vacationing in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - their first trip outside the USA.

My flight to Victoria leaves on time, and thank goodness my checked bag shows up in Victoria all in one piece. I clear customs and take a taxi home, arriving around 1am. It's been a marathon day, so I go straight to bed. When I get up in the morning, there is snow coming down - welcome to Canada!

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