|Subject: Fwd: Greeting from Potereo Beach Costa Rica|
|From: Ed Gray W0SD |
|Date: Thu, 26 Mar 2009 21:46:35 -0400|
Caravan tour brought us to the TICA BUS terminal in Guatemala which was really nice of them as it is a long ways from
the airport. It is about 95% Spanish so if you can only do English then you are going to have to find someone who speaks
English and Spanish or you are dead in the water!!! The interesting thing is that in Guatemala City there were not people
like that. The bus was 2.5 hours late.
Southeast Guatemala was mountains and a little poorer economically but definitely jungle but it did get drier as the rainy
season does not start until late March so it may be wet when we return next month.
Border crossings are a pain but traveling on TICA bus they do help facilitate it but all the instructions are in Spanish and
the driver and helper speak little English. I can tell you my Spanish is getting better fast as it has to!!! We had a big hang
up going into El Salvador as some one from the USA did not have a proper stamp in there passport. There is a C4 agreement
so the locals can go quite freely between Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. In fact we were in a huge
line leaving Guat and they just told those have the G4 card to get back on the bus and they never checked them at all which
is great as the line was huge.
In El Salvador they came on the bus which was nice and checked our passports. It is interesting as they were just looking
for a passport stamp from one of the C4 countries that border. I our case that was Guat so we would show where the GUA
passport stamp was and that really worked good. It saved them hunting through all our 50 passport stamps or more and I
think they realized we knew what was going on. Anyway El Salvador was jungle and economically looked impressive!!! They
use US dollars so prices are in American money and you pay with American money. It is there currency. All kinds of USA and
companies from around the world. Even in the rural areas things looked decent economically. There are some nice, low cost
places to stay on the coast and eat lots of shrimp at a very low cost. We talked to a fellow from Canada who had just came from
TICA bus has a hotel in El Salvador so Edith got the bag from under the bus and I ran inside and got us a room. We should of
paid teh extra for air conditioning but with a big ceiling fan it eventually cooled down from the outside air. Very small room but
two twin beds and our own bathroom. Free internet in the lobby and we got a wake up call at 4 am. We got in about 8 pm.
This is at San Berdido which is outside San Salvador. You can go on the bus into town to Zona Rosa which is safe but you have
to get a more expensive hotel on your own and get to the bus on your own even earlier. Our room cost $24.00. El Salvador continued
to be mountains and great valleys for farming. It got drier and poorer ecomonically when we got close to Honduras but still pretty good.
We stopped at a truck stop and had breakfast. It was really wierd with the local currency being American money. BTW diesel is about 20
cents a gallon cheaper the gasoline all over central america.
Hounduras is poorer and the mountains with farming in the valleys continued. We noticed the towns were doing better economically.
In Nicaragua the boarder facilities were really old and run down and trunks were everywhere waiting for the border crossing. It must
be horrible for them. We seen some guys sleeping on hamacks under there trucks.
We eventually got into some big farms with 1970's type agriculture and machinery. It was flat land in a huge area between the mountains and ocean.
We got into Managua about 4 pm and the bus goes into a gated area they own and Edith got the bags and I got a room for $26.00 The rooms were hot
and we did not have our own bathroom but the bathrooms, etc were nice. On the way back it will be hotter so you can pay more for a room with A/C
and our own bathroom. We were right next to the bathroom which made it noisy with showers, etc.
We were up at 4 am on off to Costa Rica. There is a big lake with a big island a lout of tourists go to as well as Antigua the Colonial town.
We got to Costa Rica about 11 am. Leaving Nica the facilities are terrible but TICA did our passports so that really helped. In CR we were able
to get in line for bus passengers(all TICA) and that really helped. The did make you set your luggage on a table but they only spot checked and skipped
us. We were off for our distination at Potereo where a radio friend Phil TI7/N5BEK lives. He said to call him if we had trouble in Liberia. We talked to the
bus driver and attendant and got our bag in last so we could get off at Liberia. All of it was in Spanish but I felt like they understood. TThey stopped at
Liberia and we jumped off. The bus driver asked me in Spanish where is was going and I said Playa Famingo and he said to go to Bus Terminal Liberia
which agreed with my research. We had just got out of the bus and two taxis came roaring up shouting for business. Off went the bus and two taxis.
I was in a hurry as I understood we had about 30 minutes for the 12:30 pm bus to Flamingo so I did not try to get them down. It really should of only been
$1.00. I think I am getting soft but it was mighty hot at about 95 degrees getting off a very cool bus and not totally sure of my directions but I did have a map.
Anyway the taxi got us to Bus terminal Liberia and again we are met by taxi drivers but now it is 10 of them. They will take us to Potereo for $60.00 and I
tell them we are taking the bus. They come down to $40 but I am looking for the ticket office which was well hidden but I finally find it. Unfortunately
we have to change buses at Flamingo. We meet a Canadian but he knows less than we do as it is his first time here. We get on the bus which stops and
starts all the time. We finally are told to get off for a connection to Potereo. I figure out on my little map where we are and start talking in Spanish. People are
taking taxi's and call family and the group got real small. I was talking to a fellow in Spanish that I had seen on our bus on the border and felt like I under
stood and then a young fellow in perfect English asked me where we were going to stay in Poterio. We had a great visit. He was self-taught English and
I am self taught Spanish. Eventual a bus comes and we get to Potereo and off at Hotel Isolina which is close to Phil and they young fellow thought it would
be OK. We got some eating place suggestions from him.
The place seemed very empty so I decide to try to get a good deal for a week. It got it down to about half at $50 a night. You can check it out on the Internet
Hotel Isolina. We also got a safe in our room and breakfast. We have our own villa, great pools, etc. We took a swim, and then I went to find Phil.
Phil was very shocked that we had made it on our own. He was sure he was going to have to go to Liberia about 40 miles and pick us up. We went and got
Edith and had a great visit with him and Carol and then went out to supper. We learned a lot about moving to and living in Costa Rica and this area. It is the
driest area in CR but still they get 100 inches of rain. I operated the radio awhile and found he has broadband internet.
Carol will call her dentist in the morning. After a great breakfast and speaking Spanish the the fellow at the hotel I went to Phils and Carol had a dentist
appointment for me at 10 am so off we went. The dentist is Allen and I can get a new bridge with four teeth rather than 3 and bigger pines for 33% of the cost
in Salem and Edith is going to get some work done. I go back tomorrow at 10 am along with Edith and Phil will take us. We went to the bank and the line
was horrible and the ATM ate my card but we were able to get it back and I got some CR money but it took an hour in line. The food and water and infa-
structure is great here. There are lots of Americans and Europeans. The beack property is very expensive but you can live here for about $1500 a
month if you have a place to live. You can get good health insurance here for a couple for about $170 a month. It is very safe! Food is some cheaper
than the USA.
This afternoon I am using the computer at Phils! More things to tell but I will do that in a few days.
Ed and Edith