Monday, February 18, 2008

Costa Rica 30

On our way back to the tour agency from whence we had started our river raft adventure, we had the driver drop us off at the laundry. We had left some clothes there the night before. Believe me, after having been stuffed into back packs and going through several hot, sweaty jungle treks, our clothes were more than due for a good washing! Oh, the joys of fresh laundry….especially if somebody else has done it!

We walked the short distance back to our new hotel. Even though we had eventually weaseled a decent room with a view of the volcano out of the check-in girl, we were not pleased with the room and traded hotels. This time it was a definite upward change! We were now in a more upscale hotel in a large room with two giant beds, breakfast buffet included and a swimming pool! The proverbial lap of luxury. Which we wallowed in shamelessly!

The rest of that afternoon was spent wondering around the little town of La Fortuna, getting lunch at a restaurant where I definitely ordered the wrong thing. It was terrible. Then we poked our heads into several shops, doing a little souvenir shopping. I was also on the look out for a new bathing suit. One of those surfer things that comes almost to your knees. B and L have been trying to get me out of my Speedo for quite some time now. Er, that is to say, trying to get me to wear something more modest on the beach! I guess they just don’t understand the importance of a proper tan line. I would really hate to think that they think that I am getting too old to wear a Speedo anymore! (no comments from my readers on this issue please!!) At any rate, I did find one that I really liked, but, fortunately, they did not have it in my size. Giant waist. They only had the I’m-nineteen-and-lift-weights-for-a-living waist size. Back to the hotel, raided the free coffee pot and sat on our new porch sipping coffee for awhile and then the drowsies set in and it was time for a nap.

Soon it was 5 pm and time for our next adventure. We were going to visit Baldi Hot Springs at the base of the volcano. These are a series of spa like bathing pools that have been made into a sort of tourist trap. Some of them even have swim up bars. Well, actually, you just walk up and sit down and order your drink. Which we did at several of them. You just give the bartender at the first bar however much money you want, he writes it down and then at any bar you stop at, they call him and he tells them how much money you have left to spend. That way you don’t have to carry money with you. It would be all wet anyway. Really, a very good system. We stopped after only two bars though. I was afraid that somebody might have a heart attack or something drinking booze while immersed in hot water.

The pools run up the side of the mountain at various levels. The higher you go, and closer to the source of the hot water coming from the volcano, the hotter they get. The coldest one is for children and it is 41 degrees. The first one for adults, with the swim up bar, is 91 degrees. They go up from there to 100, 107, 113, 131, and the killer at 152 degrees! We visited all of them. Let me tell you though, I just stuck one foot in the last one and quickly yanked it out. It felt like I had been scalded. I was sure that over the next few days all the skin on my foot would peel off. Of course that did not happen, but I kept a close watch on it all the same! The whole thing was a truly unique experience and very enjoyable. L had been there before and knew what to expect. That is why we waited until after dark to go. One appreciates the cooler night air since, with each pool, one’s body gets hotter and hotter. And besides, the lights were pretty.

Back to the hotel and time to make dinner plans. We couldn’t decide on a restaurant. Every one we mentioned just did not seem appealing. It was decided that L would stay behind and mix more drinks while B and I walked a couple of blocks to a fried chicken place we had seen. The Ticos (Costa Ricans) just love fried chicken. It is everywhere and very good. It was quite the comedy getting our chicken. The place we went was just a walk up counter and the chicken pieces were all in a pile under a hot light. You ordered what you wanted and the girl dug through until she got them all. The problem is that neither B nor I are exactly fluent in Spanish (shame on us!) and the Spanish they speak in CR is a little different from what is spoken here in Mexico.

We wanted breasts. Thankfully we knew how to say that! She understood but explained to us, very patiently for the fifth time, that she did not have any breasts. Of the chicken variety. So next we asked for thighs. We were met with a look that clearly said “What the hell are you asking for?” Finally I raised my leg up to counter height and patted my thigh. Then she got it. Into the pile she dove and brought out several. They looked like they came from midget chickens so we were then placed in the predicament of having to order more. We didn’t want more thighs so we asked for wings. Again that stare. This time I was quicker on the draw and tucked my hands under my armpits and flapped my arms in what I thought was a good imitation of a chicken, complete with cackling. She almost wet her pants. Once she had somewhat composed herself, she dug back into the pile and came up triumphantly holding two wings. We asked for four. Still not enough meat to serve three growing boys though. So we decided that we would get some of those good looking Ho Jo Potatoes. This time though I just pointed to them. She had learned my language by then I guess because she immediately held one up for my approval. She wanted to know how many we wanted. Was she going to count them out or something? I just cupped my hands together to form a bowl and she immediately plopped a couple of handfuls into a plastic bag. With that, we only had to figure out the final bill, pay, and we were on our way back to our veranda for a much needed drink!

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