Saturday morning, I packed up my things and reluctantly left Puerto Jimenez. I’d had a truly wonderful stay here, and was sad to leave such a lovely place. Also, up until that point, I had been been traveling very comfortably, and that was about to change. In spite of the now frequent delays and other inconveniences, air travel is a real privilege compared to other forms of transport. You buy a ticket in advance, go to the airport, and know how things will work. Even if there are delays, you can expect to be in a comfortable, temperature-controlled space, with bathrooms and food and even cocktails nearby to make the wait less tedious. Traveling by bus is another story, especially in Latin America.
My first bus yesterday, which took me to Palmar (along with the young Swiss couple from the Corcovado hike and a couple of kids from a Holland we met at the station) showed up at 9:15 as expected. We loaded in our bags, and got as comfortable as we could for the 2.5 hour drive to catch our next bus. A promising start, though I knew this luck wouldn’t hold. In Palmar, things got a little hazier. We arrived around 11:30 and were told that the next bus, which led to Dominical, would arrive around 1:00. Or maybe 12:30. Or was it 12:00? We decided that 12:30 was as safe a bet as any, so we had a little lunch at a nearby soda, bought a few snacks for the road, and went to sit at the bus stop at 12:25.
The bus came a little after 2, and was completely packed, but we squeezed in somehow and were off to Dominical – my destination for the night, and the site of their next bus connection, as they were headed to Quepos. After making sure the young’uns were situated, I strolled down the street and got checked in at Danyasa, the boutique EcoRetreat/B&B with an attached yoga studio I had booked on a whim via AirBnB. It felt a little like stepping into an Athleta ad – all the people there were startling beautiful, incredibly toned, and ridiculously zen, using phrases like “take time to ground yourself,” “connect with the environment around you” and “think about what how you want to move through your stay here” with absolutely no trace of irony. It was a little unsettling, and I felt just a tiiiiiiny bit out of my element. But the place was gorgeous, complete with a cozy communal living space, a nicely equipped kitchen, and charming pebble paths that lead its guests around the various parts of the compound.
I got settled in to my room, met my little gecko roommates (at least four, though perhaps a few more), and went to the common area to meet the other guests.
In the meantime, it had started to rain. And when I say rain, I mean POUR. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It rained so hard it finally proved impossible to have a conversation with the the Canadian woman on the porch I was talking to – we basically had to yell into each other’s ear to be heard over the driving rain. Finally, we laughed and gave up, snuggling into the pillows on our respective sides of the long wooden bench with our books and tablets to enjoy the storm.
When I meandered back to my room a few hours later, realizing that the rain was not going to abate and I needed money to go eat, I found water pouring out of one of the light sockets in the ceiling – directly onto my bag! Justin, the man in charge of Danyasa while the owners are away, came down, popped his head in (dripping wet), and exclaimed: “DUDE! Bummer! WHOA, cool sleeve! Can you BELIEVE this STORM, man? It’s WILD, huh? Pura vida! RIGHT?!? Let’s get you out of here and into some NEW DIGS!” Finally, someone more my style! I laughed and followed him further into the house. Once we got to my new room, he took all of my wet clothes to wash and dry in the owner’s living quarters. Most of them were dirty, as I still hadn’t done any laundry, so hey, bonus! The room I was moved to was much nicer and cozier, too, tucked back a little ways from the common area. After checking on my laundry, I went and got some takeout arroz con pollo at a local soda, ate it on the porch while the rain continued to fall, and then cozied up in bed with a book I’ve been meaning to read. The sound of the rain lulled me to sleep by 10:00.
This morning, I had a wonderful traditional tico breakfast to start off my day – a big mug of café con leche and gallo pinto con huevo frito. It’s just as good as it looks, believe me!
Halfway through my breakfast, I realized I had company: this little guy was calmly watching me eat from above the next table, occasionally swiveling around to see what else he could see.
Then it was time for the old “what time does the bus come?” game. When asked, Justin shrugged his head and laughed, surfboard in hand. He doesn’t spend much time thinking about buses, clearly. And good for him! The man at the mercado told me 11:30. He seemed pretty sure, but I thought I would corroborate with the woman at the kiosko next door. She told me 11:00. The kid that had served me breakfast was certain that it came at 12:30, and a man on the street, apparently interested in my my conversations with all these people around him, told me 12:15 when he came to find out what all the fuss was about. It was 8:30 at this point, so I poked around town for a while, finally making my way to the beach. This is why people come to Dominical, and I can see why. The view is incredible and the surfing is supposed to be epic. It was nice to sit on some driftwood for a while and watch the surfers carve paths onto the waves that came crashing in.
After returning to Danyasa for a little more R&R, I went to the bus stop to begin my wait around 11:45. And lo and behold, it came right at 12:30, just like my waiter had said. So, I’m on the road to Quepos/Manuel Antonio now, envisioning a quiet afternoon at the pool of my jungle studio after stopping by the grocery store for provisions. By tonight I should be ready to go out and explore the town, and start planning this next leg of my journey. After I take some time to ground myself, of course, and to think about how I want to move through this part of my stay. Namaste, yo 😉