23rd of July,
On one of my last days in Sabalito, I take some pictures, while walking the dogs and I finally do see Volcan Arenal at the far end of the lake.
Most of the time, it is hidden behind the clouds. One of the cows has escaped again, while the others are walking in line to the farm, for the milking process.
I collect Johanna from the busstation in Tilaran on the 22nd and now she and the dogs are bringing me to Tilaran on the 23rd, where I will hop on the bus, for a 4 hour drive to San Jose. I start hating these “saying goodbyes”, not only from the host, but from the animals as well! I think “Blue” was really feeling blue, as he first moved to the other side of the car, when I wanted to give him a cuddle and later he looked me right in the face, when driving away and his eyes were so sad, that I nearly cried……..
The bus drive went fast and was way more interesting than the drive from Liberia. Green and lushy, curvy roads through the mountains (I even didn’t get sick!) and a nice in between stop after two hours, at a good and clean restaurant. At least the bus ticket prices stayed very low in comparison with the prices of products in the stores. 4015 Colones (around 8 US$) for a bus ticket of 4 hours is very reasonable!
Once in San Jose, I took a taxi for $2 to my airport hotel and had a quick supper in one of those terrible American chain restaurants, with bad quality food and way too expensive. I rather had my Tico rice with beans! At 3.00 a.m. my wake up call arrived, but by that time I was already running around……
The shuttle bus brought me and two other guests to the airport and there it was pretty empty. There are no signs where to go to. You just have to check all the counters! Aero Mexico was hidden in a corner. I remembered from former times, that I first had to pay airport taxes. Enough people there, so I paid the US$29, got the receipt and arrived as first person at the AM counter. Immediately, I had to fill in a form. Then I got all these questions; my Dutch passport and Canadian residence card made it a little bit complicated in the early morning. There was the big question; “Do you have proof of leaving Mexico again?” Pffffff, so happy I bought already a ticket from Cancun to Toronto. Even printed it! Another two forms to fill in for the Mexican immigration and after that, it all went quickly and I joined the rest of the crowd at the coffee store, to get some caffeine. Only 4.30 a.m……….
After a beautiful and low flight right over Mexico City (gosh, that city is enormous and so much smog!!!), we landed right at an airport in the city itself. I didn’t expect that, but it turned out that Aero Mexico has nowadays it’s own airport, Terminal 2. Terminal 1 is outside the city and is for all the other Airliners. Upon arrival, I knew that I had to collect my checked luggage again. They told me that in San Jose. So first you go with one of the forms and passport to an officer and then to the belt. It was not very clear where you had to go to after, but I went straight from the belt to the scanner and after with the other immigration form to another officer, then with my checked luggage to a guy, who took it over and tried (after a nice conversation) to get a tip! I thought he was joking, so I laughed, but later I heard that everybody in Mexico wants to be tipped for whatever they do or don’t do! Next stop was another officer, who checked my passport and ticket again and then we got again a scanner for again the hand luggage, but this time not only the computer, but also the camera and phone and e-reader had to be taken out. Are we done yet??? Yes, we are done!!! Nice cozy new airport, very unclear where you have to go to. Last hour they inform you about the gate number and I had seen only one wing of the departure hall, so I sat myself there to have lunch and later I noticed that my flight was leaving from a different wing of the airport and it turned out to be quite a distance. Lucky, my plane was too late…..
From Mexico City to Merida, Yucatan is only a little bit more that an hour flight time. Once there, no controls anymore and within no time I hopped in a taxi, after verifying the costs to my address. The first thing I saw on my way into the city, were two army trucks, full of armed soldiers…….
It took a while before the poor taxi driver found the address. All streets are numbered, but that doesn’t make it easier. They are not always numbered in a logical way. In the coming days I have to get familiar with my neighborhood!
The present house sitters were there to welcome me and they made me a wonderful barbecue meal. Very welcome after two days of traveling! They had only a few hours to inform me about the daily duties and to show me around. In the early morning I got some last instructions regarding the garden and the cat and then I was on my own in my new house sit address, in a country I had never been before! Exciting!!!