Billy Joe Hunter here, checking in from Monteverde Cloud Forest and some Christmasy place called Santa Elena. I have no idea why the town was named after some Santa woman. We didn’t see any Christmas decorations.
We started out the day being picked up at our hotel in Jaco by a shuttle driver. I couldn’t remember his name so I just called him Jose. He also spoke American, so Chester and me were able to have a conversation with him. I first asked him if he really wanted to move to America and he said he wouldn’t think of it and also said he was happy here in Costa Rica. I thought everybody’s dream is to move to America, but we have yet to find anyone down here who isn’t happy where they are.
We were told at the hotel that it was about a two-hour trip from Jaco to Monteverde but they must have been on metric time because it was actually just over four hours. Around noon (I don’t what time is was in metric), we mentioned we were getting hungry and Jose said he knew of a great little soda for lunch. I told him I wouldn’t drink soda unless there wasn’t any beer available and that we really wanted some food for lunch. He let out a big laugh and explained a “soda” is a place to eat, which kind of confused me because I thought the word was restaurantay (in Costa Rican launguage).
Jose stopped at this little building on the side of the highway in the middle of nowhere and indicated this is where we would eat. I suddenly wished my doctor had given me the shots I needed for travel to Costa Rica, but I’ll try anything once. He told me we could get a cah-sah-doh for lunch. When he told me casado means “marriage” I immediately set him straight about Chester and me. We’d try the lunch, but we weren’t about to get married.
He asked if I wanted fish, chicken, meat or vegetarian. I told him vegetarian is an old American Indian word that means “Can’t hunt well,” but he didn’t seem to get the joke. I asked what kind of meat because we are in a third-world country and it never hurts to ask. He said it was pork, but to be safe I said I’d have fish. Chester asked if they had shrimp, but I told him this was not some fine dining experience. He setted for chicken.
When our plates came, they were piled with food. It had white rice, black beans, a kind of cooked banana called a plantain, a little salad and a piece of fried fish. Chester’s came with a piece of chicken. Jose told us rice was called “ah-rose,” spelled “Arroz”. He said something about “Arroz by any other name” and laughed, but I didn’t get the joke.
I have to tell you the food was really good. Not anything like I expected. I didn’t understand the price in cologne-knees and asked Jose what it cost in American. He said $4.50 each. Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit. I felt so happy about the price I paid for Jose’s meal, too. I asked the woman serving us if they had any $1 beer. She didn’t speak American so Jose translated into Costa Rican. They chatted back and forth for a minute and then Jose told me neither one of them had heard of that brand and it must be American. We had Imperials instead, which were about $2, as near as I could tell. It’s funny. Cheap American beer here costs more than better Costa Rican beer.
Soon, we were back in the car and we climbing up a winding dirt road headed to that Santa Elena place. One look at where we were and I just KNEW we wouldn’t have internet access. Boy was I surprised. We did, although I don’t know how, way out here in the jungle.
Jose dropped us off at the Monteverde Villa Lodge, which our travel agent had picked. Our room was a nice little cabin, about 10 minutes walk from the center of town. They didn’t have air conditioning, although I noticed the temperatures were cool enough that we didn’t need it. Tomorrow morning, we will visit the cloud forest and see where clouds are made. We also signed up for something called zip lines, where we are suspended from wires and zip through the forest.
I’ll write more later. This is Billy Joe signing off from the middle of nowhere in Costa Rica.