Pura Vida

The mystery of the missing bags was solved once we cleared immigration. They did not arrive. While all the passengers plucked and pulled their bags out of the carousel, we stood there watching the baggage area with longing eyes. It was 12.00 am, the kids were hungry, sleepy, and dirty. We had no food, the shops were shut, and the customs guys confiscated our oranges.  Armed with just diapers and dry figs in Smeetha’s carry on, we braved the road. We registered our complaint, gave them the address and moved to our first stop in the journey. The airline had the challenge of getting out bags to the second city since we were road tripping. We weren’t staying more than two nights in any city. So if the bags missed us in the second city, then it’d have to follow us to the third.
Costa Rican tourism is super seasoned that there is no room for any confusion. Even the United States isn’t so streamlined. Everything moves here like clock work. This, with a language barrier. We told our cab driver the hotel’s name, and before we knew it, we were there. With no bags there wasn’t much to do but sleep. Neil was so stressed about “his” bags not arriving that he kept crying all night. We slept for 2 hrs. and woke up to “pura vida” or pure life. We hadn’t noticed in the thick of the night how green the city was. Yes. The city itself was so lush and green. I couldn’t wait to get to the rural parts of the country. Adventure Inn, a small hotel just minutes from the airport was impeccably maintained. We woke up to the sound of parrots, toucans, and possibly a hundred different sounds of birds, bees and insects.  The breakfast was spectacular to say the least. I’ll leave the description of the breakfast to a trip adviser post. We waited in the lobby for our transfer to La Fortuna. It was 3 hr. drive, and all of us thought we’ll catch up on our sleep. But that was not to happen. The first 20 kms. was green but on a freeway. Then we took an exit, and it seemed like we were taking a detour towards the western ghats in Kerala.  Excellent road conditions with winding, green terrain. Fresh fruit vendors, people commuting on bicycles, buses plying the roads, kids walking to school, and so many familiar sights that reminded me of Kerala. Green as far as the eye could see.

By now, our transfer guide, Lorenzo was beginning to get comfortable with our “poquito” Spanish. Pritesh did an excellent job trying to keep things conversational. If it weren’t for our super translator’s abilities, we’d have been lost in translation. We stopped for lunch at a local restaurant, and again we were astounded by the freshness, flavor and presentation of food. This holiday was beginning to get better by the hour. The kids found leaf cutter ants going about doing their leaf cutting jobs. This was truly fascinating. The kids had their baby sitter figured for this leg of the journey. We got back into the “saddle” and moved on. As we passed coffee plantations, rice fields, rivers, and streams, we kept rising in altitude. We would travel in patches of clouds every few kms. We were literally bobbing inside a cloud. At the end of 3 hrs. we reached Arenal Manoa, our home for the next 2 nights. This is by far THE most fantastic hotel we’ve stayed at. The property has a panoramic view of the Arenal Volcano. We were in situation stinky but loving every minute of paradise.

 

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Prelude to Costa Rica

Our journey so far from Plano to the airport has been like Speedy Gonzales and Bugs Bunny on Red Bull. The farmers, aka Smeetha and Pritesh left Austin and drove straight to our place, picked us and our luggage and drove non-stop to the airport. We are flying Spirit airlines. If anyone chooses this airline for any reason at all, then you truly need to be spirited.
When we first booked the tickets, we thought this couldn’t be possibly possible. The fares were dirt-cheap. So there was no thinking twice about the vacation. A click of a button, a call to the off shore folks in India (yes,I spoke to an Indian chap named Adolfo), $10 for the call, and voila, our first leg of the journey was done. 2 days after we booked the tickets hubby tells me that we need to pay for everything from seat allotment to using the loo…(exaggeration). But truly, we’ve had to pay for baggage, carry-on baggage, boarding passes,and seat allotments. Wiping my brow as I write this! It still has been wayyy cheaper. At this point you are probably wondering if I’m a cheapo? Yup! I am the deal person…I always hunt for the best bargains in town.
Our chauffeur extraordinaire, Smeetha, drove like a possessed person and got us to the airport in record time. After a long line at the counter, baggage checks, feeding the kids, lugging all our bags, we finally made it past security. After a quick snack, we boarded our flight. While we wait to take off, the pilot announces that due to some belt defunct at TSA only 41 bags have made it on to the flight. So there goes the extra baggage fees. Praying that the bags make it at least to the second city of La Fortuna or the entire family is either going shopping or we live in situation stinky till the bags arrive. Did I say these tickets were cheap?

P.s. Live blogging on the go ;-). At Fort Lauderdale with free wi-fi access. I’m loving all things pod, pad, and whatever else that fruit company is making!