Friday, January 25, 2008

Costa Rica 15

We made it back to our hot little beach and decided we had had enough of this place. It was time to gather up our stuff and get back on the scooters and head for Manzanillo, another 4 miles down the road.

Manzanillo is just another little hole in the wall place with not much there. It is the last town in CR on the Caribbean coast before the road gives out to jungle and then turns into Panama. There is a path that you can walk to get to a reserve but we decided to give it a miss this trip. Besides, I had had enough jungle path walking for one day!

The road to Manzanillo was just as bad as the rest of it. We did not make very good time at first because of the dangerous conditions. We had to maneuver from one side of the road to the other to avoid the potholes and patches with no pavement. All the time keeping a keen eye open for traffic, which also did not feel the need to stay on their side of the road! The road, for some reason, suddenly got better, as if nobody ever drove that far along it to wear it out. At one point, we had to go down a large hill, over a tiny bridge over a river and then back up the other side. I could see that the bridge was not on the same level as the road, we’d have to bump up to get onto it. That meant that I could not gun our little scooter to get up speed for the ascent. Too much danger of hitting that curb and sailing off the bike or, worse, into the river! With two of us on the scooter, we just barely made it up the other side. It was almost comical. I almost had to tell L to put his feet down and push to give us more speed! We arrived in Manzanillo and found that the road ended at a restaurant/hotel and that there was a small grocery store and a nice little picnic area right on the beach.

We made a quick trip to the store to purchase cold beverages for lunch and to see if they might have any goodies to add to our lunch. They didn’t have very much but we did make a note to go back in and get an ice cream treat before we headed back out. B and L spread out our almost gourmet lunch of tuna right out of the can (disgusting!), lunch meats, cheeses, some fruit and a bottle of mustard. We also had several kinds of chips. We were famished and it all tasted good, except for the tuna which I despise and would not even try.

With lunch now consumed, it was time to get back on the road and head back to our hotel. There was one other beach that we had seen in passing and wanted to make a quick stop there on the way home also. We did pass an exceptionally large bamboo tree, even for CR, on the way. I bet it towered almost 60-70 feet over us. We stopped and took a picture so we could see how tiny we were standing under it. CR has some of the biggest plants I have seen, just growing in the wild.

We found our beach but did not bother to spread out all of our stuff. The waves here were 2-4 feet high and B and L decided to try body surfing. But not until they had listened to my warnings about rip tides and under currents. I think they just mentally roll their eyes at me sometimes, but I had vivid visions of the two of them being swept out to sea, leaving me alone to cope with everything. I didn’t think they should go in the water at all but there was no stopping them. I must admit, it did look fun and they certainly had a good time. They did appear to listen to me though and did not venture too far out. Meanwhile, in between worried glances at them in the water, I busied myself exploring the beach and taking pictures. They eventually came out, dried off a little and we returned to town and our hotel. A most enjoyable day.

We set off for Main Street about 7pm and stopped for our usual happy hour drinks before heading off to dinner. We had found a place, I think owned by an American guy, that served 2 for 1 Cuba Libres so we lapped up a couple of these each and headed for dinner. Tonight we were determined to have a real meal. Costa Rican style.

Wouldn’t you know it. The soda (CR home-style cooking restaurants) where we wanted to eat was closed again! But right across the street was another one, Soda Lidia’s. Ms. Lidia served up a delicious and bountiful CR typical meal. I had Caribbean chicken, cole slaw, rice, and the obligatory man size serving of red beans. Each plate had enough food for three people and it was cheap too, making it all the better!

Walking back to the hotel, which luckily was only two blocks down the same street, it started to rain. Not hard at first, just enough to tell us to get our feet moving a bit faster or we were going to be drenched by a CR monsoon! We had just barely made it through the gate of the patio area of our hotel when the sky opened and dropped sheets of torrential rain. We were treated to our first rainy season thunderstorm that night and fell asleep to pounding rain and thunder. Safe and cozy in our room.

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