July 14, 2006

The Caribbean Coast
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica

My brother's first big travel day came when we moved from Tortuguero to Puerto Viejo—10 hours, four buses, and a boat ride—a pretty standard travel day.

Glenn riding the bus in style

The buses here in Costa Rica don't seem to be of the former U.S. school variety. Often sporting pairs of worn, pleather captain seats on either side of the vehicle, these are much fancier than I'm use to riding in.

I always enjoy observing the passing countryside from an open bus window. The construction materials used in the homes outside of the capital of San José are much different than those I've found elsewhere in Central America—perhaps with the exception of Belize. Wood and tin-roofed homes are common on both coasts, and are a far cry from the solid concrete structures the inhabitants of countries to the north reside in.

As my brother and I walk from terminal to terminal, I find myself forgetting to slow my pace down. Now in my 8th month of travel, these crossroads towns all look the same to me, but it's something new for Glenn—I need to be more mindful of that.

Going off of a tip from a backpacker I met in Playa Tamarindo (who had spent six months living in the area), we picked up a private room at La Casa de Rolando for US$16/night. I was tempted to stay at the wildly popular hostel just outside of town, Rocking J's, but the social scene wasn't enough to motivate me to downgrade our location and quarters for a higher price.

The town of Puerto Viejo isn't much to look at, and scarcely looks like what I would consider a typical Caribbean village. I can't put my finger on what's off here—perhaps the lack of affordable street food and colorfully painted buildings—and wonder why the town has become as popular as it has. Glenn thinks it's because of a famous 25-foot wave that breaks nearby (although it was wasn't even 1/5 that size when we went to look at it).

I'm definitely not accustomed to the humid, jungle filled, coastal town scene yet, and find myself reminiscing about warm and sunny turquoise blue waters encountered elsewhere. I think the beaches in Costa Rica are just a bit too raw for me.

We went out to a local bar/night club last night—Glenn was amazed by the amount of people openly smoking marijuana all over the place, and how every song played seemed to revolve around it.

Searching for del Sol

The weather is bleak—so much rain—and the Internet connectivity is horrible. I've spent oodles of money at five different cafés, but couldn't find a connection fast enough to let me upload photos, or even post to Travelvice. We're going to relocate back to San José for the night, and then head off to the Pacific coast in the morning (with the hopes of finding nicer beaches and weather).

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