Today was the first of two travel days. I am operating on little sleep and only have the brainpower to share chronologically:
2:00am Argentina Time
Take taxi to EZE airport outside Buenos Aires
3:30am Argentina Time
Standing in world’s slowest ATM line. We had to get cash to pay for one other document saying it was OK for Holly to board the plane. When we checked in, the airline official said we had everything except this additional form that SENASA had to provide us at their airport office. So SENASA prepared the form and sent us to the cashier to pay, and the cashier sent us to the ATM because it’s cash only. I’m watching this guy spend 10 minutes trying to do whatever transaction is clearly never going to work and try to feel empathy instead of rage. When I get to the ATM, my withdrawal is complete in under 60 seconds and I have to suppress the urge to say, “This is how it’s done, people!”
4:30am Argentina Time
As we’re boarding our plane to Panama City, a group of people stops on the jet bridge to take lots of photos. It’s their first flight, they say, and ask us to take photos of them.
Sometime in between half dozing on the plane
“La primera vez en Panama?” asks the man we’re next to. We were all en route to Panama City, where he will change planes to head to Havana, Cuba and we will rush to make our connection to San Jose, Costa Rica.
11:00am Panama Time (set clock two hours back)
Board connection to San Jose to find someone sitting in one of our seats: a guy from Key West who has already had a few drinks and much more sleep than us.
11:40am Costa Rica Time (set clock one hour back)
A flight from the U.S. has landed at the same time as ours, so we find ourselves standing in the immigration line surrounded by English speakers. And a particularly rude set of them at that. We feel weird and much less enthusiastic about returning to the U.S.
12:00 noon Costa Rica Time
Customs official takes a copy of Holly’s paperwork, doesn’t ask to see her, and waves us on our way! Take Holly for a potty break, then take a cab to San Jose. The cab driver points out coffee plantations along the way. We check in to a hotel for the night so we can make the trip to Sámara tomorrow.
3:00pm Costa Rica Time
Take a walk to buy our tickets for tomorrow’s bus to Sámara and get to explore downtown San Jose. It’s raining and the temperature is perfect. San Jose’s interesting, but not a particularly nice looking city. End up walking down some rough streets to get to the bus station. Although, there are a few striking buildings downtown. And the people have been friendly so far. There are a shocking amount of American fast food chains.
4:00pm Costa Rica Time
Stop by the ATM to attempt to withdraw U.S. dollars since our rental in Sámara prefers payment in dollars. After spending three months in Argentina where dollars are practically contraband and ATMs run out of money, we both look on in disbelief as this ATM spits out $20s for us. Walk back to the hotel, but stop by a bakery along the way to try some exciting new breads.
4:30pm Costa Rica Time
Take Holly for a walk, then pass out. Can’t. Stay. Awake.
7:30pm Costa Rica Time
Wake up and try to adhere to a normal schedule by using blogging to stay awake.
8:30pm Costa Rica Time
Grab a small dinner at the hotel restaurant after a wander around the surrounding area turns out to be fruitless. After dinner, Holly makes friends with all the hotel staff. One guy talks with us longer and Chris guesses right that he’s from Argentina because he said calle like “KAH-JAY” rather than “KAI-YAY.” He left Argentina 12 years ago and was very happy to hear we spent time in the Lakes region, especially in San Martin de los Andes. He also said he doesn’t like the government there, so he’ll probably stay in Costa Rica for a while. He likes that it’s a small country and you only have to go 45 minutes to get to the beach or the mountains.