Note: This journal was posted but not emailed
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Travel day...we finally left Santa Catalina at 8:00 and knew we were in for a bunch of bus rides. We changed buses in Sona and again in Santiago. From there we got another bus to Chitre and finally got the last one to Las Tablas at 3. Four buses and 7 hours left us starving so we were happy to find hotel Manolo quite quickly. It was a little pricey at $27.50, but it was the only option we could find (the other place listed in our books was closed and we didn’t see anything else) and it had A/C and hot water. We had huge, cheap meals from the restaurant on the ground floor and felt recharged. Now that we were back in a town that’s on the map, we needed to reconnect with the world...we went to check e-mail and read some news for the first time since last Monday. We were tired from all the bus rides so we didn’t stay there to long (I never understand why long bus rides can make you so tired...you’re not really doing anything). Later that night we tried to go back again but everything was closed. That was cool, we had decided to spend the next day there getting caught up with that stuff, plus Jodi wanted to so some shopping.
Monday, August 4, 2008
It was another pretty uneventful day...I spent all morning and most of the afternoon at the internet place. Jodi went out and bought a few new shirts. We had both been craving pizza since our several failed attempts to get some in Santa Catalina so we had that for a late lunch. We ended up watching a movie that evening and then went for dinner and finished up the day with a little more internet. This was what I like to call a catch up day...you need those from time to time, especially with the amount of time I need to keep the website going and atleast close to up to date.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Happy Birthday to me! Thirty two years old and living the dream. Good times. The only that is disappointing is that I’m a good 20 years away from birthdays becoming cool again:)
We had planned to leave that morning but the ATM Gods had a different idea. When I tried to take money out, the machine did not give me any. Yes, I know what you’re thinking...but I’m not dead broke just yet (but well on the way). I’ll explain...after going through the normal process, the ATM seemed to freeze on the “processing your transaction” screen. After about a full minute, the screen just changed to the “service error” screen. Hmmm...I decided to just try a different ATM...but when I got there it said I was over my daily withdrawl limit. Uh-oh...I suspected that the first machine had actually debited my account but not given me the money. I ran to the nearest internet place to check my bank account and I was exactly right...the money had been taken from my account. Crap. This could get tough to fix...especially considering the ATM that had screwed up was not attached to a bank, but rather it was a stand alone one that was attached to our hotel.
I went to the hotel to find out what I could do...I basically needed somebody to come out to audit the ATM and see that they had made a mistake. I was afraid it would take days to sort something like that out. I began to explain to a waitress in the restaurant what had happened. She told me I would have to go to the central office of the bank. I was trying to get her to call for me...luckily during the exchange the owner of the hotel was sitting nearby and got himself involved. It turned out he had a friend that worked at the bank so he gave him a call. The friend said he would look into it and give us a call back.
About an hour later he called and asked for some paper work (statement showing withdrawl from my bank, copy of ID, etc.) which I faxed over to him pretty quick. He said he’d call us back again in awhile so I ended up having to wait near the hotel. Oh well, I guess it gave me some time to finish some massive uploading that I was working on.
I got tired of waiting around 4:00 so I went to talk to the hotel owner. He had left for the day so I called the guy from the bank myself. He assured me that they were aware of the problem and there would be a guy there the next morning to audit the machine. Atleast it gave me some hope and it allowed us to move on and enjoy the evening.
That night, we had to make the best of being in a not so exciting little town. We ended up doing a Cantina crawl and had a pretty good time. We ended the night in the bar connected to the hotel (still more like a Cantina) playing a bunch of US songs on the jukebox, much to chagrin of the few locals who were still milling about:) We ended up closing the bar, which was nothing impressive since it was only about 12:30 when they made us leave.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
I talked to the guy from the bank in the morning and he told me that the ATM had already been checked, showed the discrepancy and they would credit my account in the next few days. That was good enough for me because I knew we would be coming back through there in the next week or so anyway.
We went to get some food before leaving and we got the idea that renting a car might be a better approach to getting around on the peninsula. There are buses that go pretty much everywhere, but like Costa Rica, because many people have cars, some places only have one or two buses/day. Plus, we wanted to be able to explore some pretty remote spots. We didn’t have that much time to check into it...I had the guy from our hotel call a place for me but he said it would be over $200 for just 3 days! I was hoping it would be less than that for a whole week! It didn’t seem right to me so I decided I would look into it myself. I didn’t have any time to do it at that moment because we wanted to get the bus to Pedasi.
The bus got to Pedasi in about in hour...the place certainly hadn’t changed too much...it was still the small, quaint little town it was when we were there in the beginning of ’07.
We checked out one of the only hostels in town called Dim’s but it was a whooping $40/night! We ended up going down to the Residencial Moscoso that was half that price for a room with A/C. We dropped our things and walked around town...we went to an internet place to see about rental cars...hmmm...only $170 for an entire week. Just as I suspected.
Back in the room I worked on journals while Jodi napped. Later we went for dinner and decided that we would rent a car the next day for sure and really get around on the peninsula. That night we just watched the movie Hancock in our room...I liked it a lot. There was an unbelievable rainstorm that night that kept us up for hours. There was some of the loudest thunder I’ve ever heard and it poured and poured for hours. It wasn’t as bad as the storm back in San Pedro, but it was close.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
I went back to Chitre to get the car in the morning, which was about a 4 hour process. Wow, having a car is going to make a big difference...it only took me about an hour to get back to Pedasi, which is a minimum 2 hour journey by bus from Chitre. Not only that, but being able to pump my tunes with my ipod was pretty awesome. I haven't owned a car since 2002 when I lived in Houston so any time I get to travel by car, it's pretty cool, but since we are doing everything by bus it seems especially luxurious!
I got back to Pedasi in no time and luckily by then the rain had let up. After a short rest, we got in the car and drove to beach a few kilometers outside of town...I can't remember the name but it's the same one that we left from to go to Isla Iguana last time we were here. It is a really nice beach actually...it stretches on straight for miles and it's really wide. We walked along the beach for awhile and then just stopped in played in the sand for a couple hours. I know it's crazy, we sound like little kids or something, but it's pretty easy to pass an afternoon on these beaches.
That night, we had dinner in town and tried to plan out what we would do with our car for the week. We figured we'd head to Tonosi the next day and use it as a base to explore the peninsula a bit more. We were excited to have the car and nothing but time to really reach some places off the beaten path.