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***UPDATE!: I have returned home after my 2nd & final dental trip to Costa Rica. A wrap-up post will be coming soon. If You're A New Visitor Then Please Use The Archive Menu To The Right To Start At Post #1 (2013 Dec)***

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

14: DEPART MA - ARRIVE SJ!

(Tuesday: eve of dental surgery)

Hola! Como estas? Estoy bien. Been using those words a lot the last couple of days. Today we packed our things up, loaded the tiny rental car to maximum weight capacity, said goodbye to our residence of the last few days and a heart felt adios to Manuel Antonio. San Jose bound!





We stopped at Jaco beach on our way to SJ. A popular tourist town with many shops lining both sides of the main drag. We went into a bank to get some dollars changed into colons (the local currency). As we go into the front door there are two security guards that stop us. They want to see our passports. Then they use one of those wands to scan our bodies and then let us in to the bank. Weird. So we get in there and it looks like an American DMV office. You have to take a number and then sit down to wait your turn. There were about 25 people waiting and we were the only gringos in there...and they just all looked at us. Awkward. After a few minutes we decided that we probably had enough colons already and that the toll booths in the SJ area would probably take dollars anyways. So we got out of that place as quick as two overweight people could...it was pretty impressive how quick and ninja like we became.

Before getting back on the highway we did stop at the beach to have a look and snap some photos. Found a couple of police officers taking a break to watch the surfers...





On our way out of Jaco we noticed some garbage men. They do things just a bit different here. Residents don't have garbage cans...at least not in the sense that we are use to. They have these permanently fixed metal baskets out by the street. They throw their trash into these baskets and none of them seem to be big enough as there is garbage overflowing by the time trash pick-up day arrives. In the states the garbage man drives up to the plastic cart, a claw comes out, grabs the cart, dumps the trash, sets the cart down and the driver cruises down the street to the next one without ever having to handle the trash or even get out of the truck. Not quite like that here...





There are 4 guys to a truck. The best job goes to the driver as he seemed to just sit there in the cab as 2 other guys throw the bags of trash up to the 4th guy who is in the back of the dump truck. As you can see in the third photo, the back of the truck seems to be the 4th guys only view for the day. These guys were working hard in hot and muggy conditions. No thank you! The last photo is of a standard sized, residential garbage holder after being emptied...no automated garbage truck is going to rip that thing out of the ground and dump it. We have it EASY in the states.

So onward to SJ we go. About an hour out of San Jose we decide to find a place for lunch. We had been passing these little roadside food joints called "Soda's" all day but every single one was either empty or had 1 or 2 customers. You can see right into them because they don't have walls, just a roof for the most part. But then we passed one that had quite a few people in it so we decided to take a chance and flipped a u-turn in our 22 horsepower Toyota Yaris right in the middle of the road while using the e-brake and laying burnt rubber tread on the hot black asphalt. OK that last part may have been exaggerated just a bit. But we did turn around...that part is true. What a treat this place was. The menu was in Spanish only, we were the only gringos in there (the bank part II) and our waitress didn't speak English. But why should she? We are in THEIR country after all. I feel bad for coming to their country and not being able to speak their language. But I regress. So we just pick something on the menu hoping for the best. OMGTTM! (that's "oh my god to the max" for you lame-o's out there). Fire grilled chicken with the best rice I've ever had. Not you're plain jane white rice but more like the fried rice you get at a Chinese restaurant but like 12x better. Fantastic! Here is a couple shots of the place...





As we get closer to SJ, we start hitting the toll booths. About 460 colons (just under a dollar) per booth. Keli was awesome. We hit 4 booths and she had the exact change, in colons, ready by the time I pulled up to the window. In and out quicker than Rod & Keli in a Costa Rican bank (review above for explanation of that one). The toll booth operators seemed appreciative and surprised that we had our S together. 

We reached our destination a bit too early too check-in so we decided to waste some time at the multi-plex mall in Escazu which is a upscale suburb of San Jose. Very nice and vey big mall...




We also drove to my dental clinic, DDS Dental, to see exactly where it was and cruised around a bit. The motorcycle drivers here must have some sort of death wish. Seriously they are nuts with testies the size of Texas. 

We just wanted the rental car for the trip from MA to SJ so they came and picked it up tonight and we will use taxis from here on since it will be cheaper. The dental clinic is less than 2 km away so it will be a cheap fare. Taxi is already set up to pick me up at 7:45 am tomorrow morning and take me to my first appointment. I believe the first appointment will be for consultation, x-rays, cone beam scan and moldings. Then I come back at 2 pm for the big one. Extractions and implants while I'm under IV sedation. If there is no update tomorrow night or my typed words are a scrambled, unreadable mess as if I was on some type of black market drug sold only in the back alleys of Bangkok...you should know why.

P.S.- did you notice that the blog posts went from #12 to #14? I've never been the superstitious type but there was no way in hell I was going to post a #13 update the night before I have major dental surgery. Better to be temporary superstitious than permanently sorry. 


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