Finally left the CA4 region on 25.10.11. Took a Tica bus, an international bus which i thought we be easier than doing that horrible border to Costa Rica again. Nope. turned out to be RUBBISH. So me and kerry were booked on the same bus as our final border together! originally we were going different days that why i enquired about the bus and then if wed have known how awful our day would be and that we were going together we shouldve thought and chicken bused it. reckon it wouldve been faster!
So we got up at 3am in Leon and were picked up by a taxi who took us to the microbus. we thought we had a private bus but we sat there til 4ish waiting for the bus to fill up before going to managua. Arrived in managua at 5;15 and had to wait til 7 for our bus. stil they had good coffee.
We finally got going, realised there was no loo roll in the loo on the bus and the guy was like ahh well im not buying any. we waited for food and drinks that never came. so starving and annoyed we arrived at the border and they took our passports while we got drinks and rubbish snacky food and exchanged currencies. Long wait then drove to Costa Rica and this time Tica decided we had to queue and do our own immigration while they go for lunch in the cafe. so we queued for about 40minutes and finally go in and stamped for 1 second stood there and then to wait for the drivers. we had to remove our bags and unzip, immigration barely looked and some people didnt even open bags and we stuck them back on the bus. all piled back in and got pulled over 2meters from the parking space by Drug enforcement and guided by a fat policeman on a quad bike to a warehouse. we reversed and 2 policemen got on the bus and came and stood at the back where majority of the tourist had congragated. confused we waited for them to say what they were doing. one girl was told to get off the bus with her bags, then another then the next. we were told not to move. then he said to kerry you go. i asked me too and he said yes and slowly one by one we all left the bus with our bags and collected our big rucksacks from the luggage compartment. slowly the guards lined out bags up in 2 long lines and then arranged us into lines. at the point where they went and got seats for the elderly we knew we were in for a while. about 6-8 guards are stood watching us. the driver has to go round and open every compartment on the bus. first they got an excitable sniffer dog. she kept standing on everything and could barely concentrate, i think she was new to it still too young and in training. She went to eat some food in someones bags and they lept forward and shouted at the dog to which the guards didnt like...obviously! she sniffs all bags and bus areas then she picked out on small day pack and started dragging it and scratching at it. they put it back in the line and went outside with her to play ball!!!
Next Mr professional dog comes along and sniffs so thoroughly its incredible to watch. he sniffed everywhere, wheel arches, engine, bags over and over again. after about 15mins of this dog sniffing the bag which he also scratched at was taken and it belonged to an aussie. he had to empty it in front of everyone, they had a few questions of pipes that he had. yeah i guess there was resin of weed in there enough that the dogs went mad. he was let back into the line though after a 10min examination. meanwhile a guard is under the bus and another is taking the engine of the bus apart. spanners everywhere. a rolling bed so they could get under every part of the bus. this checking every inch took a good hour. we just took to sitting down chattng with other travellers occasionally seeing if theyre done. one guy says well i bet they wont check the roof and i joke if anyone had anything itd be safe if they threw it on the roof. what happens next...they look on the roof from afar and then get out the ladders. the air con units on top of the bus were unbolted both sides and removed. it took soooo long. finally whilst they were finishing that and putting the engine back together and the insde check was complete, we put out bags back on the bus and were allowed back on again. You know which bit i missed out...checking us. Yep thats right, they took the engine apart but they didnt check us. we all had little handbags on and pockets and the dogs never came back out. so if you wish to smuggle drugs now you know how...just stick them in your pocket!!! how insane!
That border took 3.5 hours and when i did it by local buses it took half hour. Never again!
We finally arrived in San Jose at 7:30 and had been on the road for 16 long, hungry hours. chilled out ate had a cup of manzanilla tea (camomile) and went to bed.
Next day me and kerry wandered around San jose, its a lovely city. i managed to get some new earphones which were actually good quality not rubbish like all the others. we had good food, good weather and a good time seeing the sights. We managed to upset an artesania man by bartering him down and he refused to serve us and take out money. i threw the earings even though kerry was gona pay the full asking price. i mean come on...youre an artesania in a market, you expect to be bartered down. what a complete ******er living in cuckoo land!
second day, Kerry and i had our last meal togther in Mcdonalds...its tradition now! so we said goodbye and she left to head up north and i stayed in San Jose. in the morning i went to a modern art gallery and had a look around and sat in some parks chilling with my earphones both working!!! then i heard thunder so headed back. it rained constatnly for the rest of the day from noon and i didnt leave again.
I headed to Alajuela the next morning and not really much there to do except shop and theres no need to be tempted to blow my budget in one hit! so i wandered then went to arrange my trip to volcan poas the next day. talking with the man there it would cost $50 or i wouldnt see anything. so kinda a wasted journey. i watched tv as it rained again and then met an english guy so we chilled out in the bar and ate pizza.
A guy turned up later called Adam and hed just flown in. we had a few drinks as a group then went out to the balcony. we watched as a man slept on the street in a doorway, and another drunk man headed towards him. Drunkard kicked sleepy and no responce so he took a shoe off sleepy. Drunkard then hit him with all his force with the shoe and then still not getting a responce he slapped him in the face with the shoe and stumbled off. Sleepy stirred a little, meanwhile drunkard throws his shoe onto a rooftop. Adam and his mate are laughing, the man hears us and looks up at me and shouts in spanish "ITS COSTA RICA, FREE COUNTRY!"
In my spanish i shout back "yeah maybe but thats not good, a******!" He strugs and continues stumbling along as i watch from the safety of my hotel! Sleepy stirrs enough to kick off his other shoe into the gutter. if he hasnt got 2 might as well not have any eh!!
we ended up deciding to both go to La Fortuna together in the morning. He had woken early and been to see if the guy was there, and sure enough sleepy was still passed out but had a blanket on him, and as he turned in sleep adam saw his jacket had been stolen too. its cold there at night so poor guy.
Left for San Jose and changed buses and stations then hopped onto the bus to La Fortuna. Long long journey like 4-5 hours. finally arrived and asked a couple where they were staying. theyd been talking to adam and said well we are staying where you are to me so all 3 followed me to Arenal Backpackers. Such a great hostel. spacious dorms, pool, bar, the barman will bring your drinks to the pool. A guy came and joined us 4 in the pool bar and we all introduced ourselves and cheersed with our beers and shared whisky. another girl joined us and the guy from Chile and girl from Germany both had rental cars. so in my wisedom i suggested we road trip. so next morning we all got up and began the road trip to Monteverde. the group were a guy from Chile, Andres, Tina from Germany, me, Adam from US, Anne from Wales orignally and David from Switzerland originally but those 2 both live in the states now. i drove in Tinas car. we stopped at a free hot spring which Andres had found the day before. It was actually a river and saved me $35 at least as it was free. it was so nice. we all sat in a rocked pool and chilled for about 2 hours there. so hot and nice. we got on the road and shortly after found a swiss hotel and restaurant. an exact copy of the typical swiss chalet and obviously David was mesmerised at how it looked like home and we had to go in so he could buy a coffee. it was nice wandering round. We stopped a few times for photos and stalls at the roadside. its great to have that freedom. on a bus you can get off but you could wait ages for the next bus and get stuck. so it was great. long drive and a very very bad road and a stressed tina. but we made it.
Gona stop this update and do another soon continuing my story. im now in Panama.