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La vida loca! Wished you were there? We did, so here we are on our big adventure! A year in central America, to make sense of this vida loca...

Lessons in bus travel - Numero Uno

COSTA RICA | Thursday, 16 October 2008 | Views [2570] | Comments [1]

We left Bahia Drake and took the bus up to San Jose along the Inter-american highway (which runs from Alaska to the Darien Gap, Panama).  This gave us another opportunity to experience the difference in the road system between Panama and Costa Rica – this is the main artery of the country, and yet it was still partially blocked in three places by erosion undermining the road, a landslide and a tree-fall respectively – if there´s one thing Costa Rica could do with investing in, its slope stabilization around their road network.

After a brief stay in the now familiar San Jose, we got the bus to Monteverde (after an interesting morning wondering around trying to find the bus station – only to find out that we´d got the address wrong, by confusing the numbers of the calle and the avenida – doh!).  We had an interesting experience when we got off halfway for the usual rest stop at a roadside café.  We heard the conductor say ´take your stuff off, we´ll be staying for 20 minutes´ - we took this to mean be careful about security. So, we walked off with our day sacks, got some snacks and Rachel used the loos – ok – except after 10 minutes, I suddenly saw what I thought was our bus pulling out onto the road and turning back toward San Jose.

In a fit of mild panic, I managed to stop the bus driver, but with my sketchy Spanish couldn´t really tell him what was wrong, except to ask him to wait a moment and gesticulate wildly at the toilets (I probably could have done a better job if I wasn´t flustered, but as it was...).

Rachel then rushed out and found out that this bus was off to San Jose and the other bus in the car park was going onto Monteverde.  Ok – we dubiously bordered that bus and found it was actually a different one – aaaargh!

Luckily, Rachel found our original driver, still here, who explained that our backpacks had been transferred onto the new bus, much to our relief, and that he had told us to take everything off the bus (we´d missed the bit about why obviously).  I´d left my rather soggy walking boots in the hand-luggage rack of our previous bus, now headed back to San Jose – which then took us three days to retrieve, after hounding various drivers and bus-office guys to get them brought back on a returning bus.  Luckily no-one had nicked them.  However, maybe this isn´t so surprising, as they had nice moldy bits on them from being enclosed in a plastic bag all that time…..  So, only a minor cock-up, but it could´ve been pretty major!

There´s a lesson here – listen to everything people are saying, not just the bits that we know they´re going to say!

Tags: listening to instructions, losing stuff on buses



Hey rachel_and_daniel,

We are featuring Costa Rica this month at World Nomads and really liked your blog, so decided to highlight it on the homepage so that others can enjoy it too.

Happy Travels!

World Nomads

  World Nomads Jul 1, 2009 10:00 AM

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Argh!  Well, maybe not pirates this time, but dig the colour-coordinated bandanas!

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