Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Visitors from the North

A few weeks ago I had the luxury of traveling gringo style when my dad and Brian came to visit. They arrived Thursday afternoon and had already made reservations to go to Tortuguero to go Tarpon fishing.

We left early Friday morning on a charter flight, which by the way never even bothered to ask for our names or identification. The Tortuguero airport (one runway) is closed for reconstruction, so we had to fly into Barra del Colorado. The hotel had a boat waiting for us there; Tortuguero is surrounded by water (ocean, river, and canals). After arriving at the hotel, we spent the day exploring some of the trails around the hotel and checking out the beach. The beach was not too impressive; it's famous for the annual turtle nesting that occurs from July to October (we barely missed it).

Saturday morning we had a guided tour of the national park. We got to see a lot of wildlife...toucans, sloth, three types of monkeys, iguanas, various birds, turtles, and a few caiman. We were back to the hotel in time for lunch and an afternoon of relaxing by the pool followed by drinks and more delicious food.

We spent our last day in Tortuguero (and Brian's birthday) fishing, which turned out to be an interesting experience due to the fact that Brian and Eddie (our captain) didn't really see eye to eye on much of anything. My dad and I were both afraid of getting in the middle of a fist fight; well it wasn't that bad, but it was mildly entertaining. My dad was the only one to reel in a tarpon; Brian and I both had our chance but they got away.

Tortuguero was nice, but 3 days is more than enough time to spend there, especially during rainy season. So, Monday morning I was ready to cross the country to go to the Pacific coast in Guanacaste and hopefully find some sun. Saturday we had made arrangements for another flight from San Jose to Tamarindo. In theory, we would be in Tamarindo by noon.

Well, my dad was in Tamarindo by noon; however, Brian and I were stuck in the tiny Pavas airport in San Jose until 2. While trying to check in for the flight, I had a little run in with migration due to the lack of carrying my real passport. I only had a copy of the original, which was a bad copy with illegible stamp dates. On top of that, when the migration officer went to look up my information in the "system" it didn't show that I had left the country to go to Nicaragua. In other words, according to the system my 90 day visa had expired and I was illegally residing in Costa Rica. The officer explained to me that I was being detained until someone could retrieve my original passport so she could review all my entry and exit stamps.

To say the least, I was less than impressed with my current country of residence at this point. Prior to this incident, I had traveled within Costa Rica carrying only a copy of my passport and in two cases it was reviewed without any problems. Although both cases were on a public bus, I thought carrying a copy was acceptable while traveling within CR. Anyway, Brian offered to take my keys, go to my apartment and bring back the passport; all the while my dad sat in astonishment. The airline changed the tickets to the next flight for Brian and I and my dad went on to Tamarindo.

Despite the difficulties, we had a great time in Tamarindo. They both decided that they wanted to come back and spend more time in Guanacaste. Also, they told me that I should quit my job in San Jose and move to Tamarindo. Ojala.

1 comment:

jsdriskelldc said...

You make the incident sound so 'benign' but from my perspective it was much more intense. I can not understand spanish but can understand tone and volume, and from where I was it was quite 'heated'. I am also glad that the immigration official could not speak good english or did not understand what a female dog might be called in english. Oh well, it was the time of my life. What a beautiful country.
We miss you and I hope to go back and visit you in Guanacaste soon.

Love Dad