My bag arrived! | Doctors in Costa Rica rock | We discovered a little bit of rainforest in the city
Updated: Jul 6, 2022
My bag is getting more travelled than me. After lolling about in Miami airport for the night it finally decided to head over to Costa Rica to join me, but hit a small hiccup and ended up in Cancun, Mexico instead.
In Costa Rica I was warned that things can move a touch slower here. That you have to not ask 'why' but just accept it and deal with it. To be honest that was my biggest panic about coming over here. I'm not known for my patience, or for things not having a clear reason as to why they are as they are.
I therefore saw the whole 'your bag isn't here' thing as a test of my ability to let something slide, to cope with a different way of doing things. And I managed it! For a whole 17 hours (yes I counted). Then I started to lose it. We'd gone past the time the AA agent said it would likely arrive. I'd seen via the app it had made it onto the flight for that day. Where. Was. My Bag??
Cue a frantic set of messages from me to American Airlines to get some sort of update. A lovely lady explained it hadn't been scheduled for delivery to my hotel yet. Now, I don't work in comms for nothing, so used all my powers of influence to get her to change that fact. All seemed to be working fine until the message "I've let the baggage handlers in Cancun know so they can work on it as soon as possible." Cancun. Mexico. Over 1200 miles away. Turns out the flight had been diverted to an entirely different part of Central America and she didn't know if it had made it out of there back to Costa Rica yet.
Fair to say my patience levels hit rock bottom at this point. It wasn't about my stuff potentially going missing forever - everything is replaceable. But what galled me the most was the fact that I've been planning this for 6 months. I'd chosen my backpack with great care, I'd bought moisture wicking clothing, I'd packed everything in goddamn labelled dry sacks for goodness sake! It wasn't the thought about losing the items, it was the fact that I was losing all the time and effort that went into the planning in the first place. So I'm chalking this up to a 'lesson learnt' ie...
Lesson learnt: if you put a lot of time and effort into something do more to make sure that is protected.
Yes I know the lesson could have been 'don't waste your time' or 'go with the flow' or even 'never plan anything' but I love planning and I love anticipation, so there you go.
As it turns out my comms training seems to have worked. A call came in to our room just before midnight to say my luggage had arrived! I kissed it. I honestly did.
Now, considering we're still adjusting to the time difference here you may be wondering why on earth I was still awake at midnight. Well that's the other thing that hasn't been going too smoothly about this trip - Ali being ill.
He started with a cough about a week or so ago and it got so bad we wondered if we'd be able to make the trip at all. We tested him for Covid (negative), he spoke to the Doc, he prescribed antibiotics and wished him a good trip. It seemed to get better so off we trotted.
Except, whether it was the musty room we were staying in, or the air con on the plane or just adjusting to a new climate, but he wasn't getting better. In fact he was getting a lot worse. By this point we'd not had a full night's sleep for about a week thanks to the fact that when he lay down it got worse.
But what do you do when you're in a completely different country? Where you speak enough of the language to eat, drink, not get too lost, and basically be nice to people, but not enough to have an in-depth conversation about your medical history? We knew we'd have to pay for something but no idea if the travel insurance would cover it.
So the reason I was up at midnight when the call about my bag came in was because I was googling 'how to see a doctor in Costa Rica' while Ali continued to have a coughing fit next to me.
When I went to collect my bag I decided therefore to try a technique that has always worked for me in the past. Ignore google and go talk to someone. Namely the lovely chap behind reception. Turns out they were happy to call a doctor out for us straight away, for no charge, just part of the service at the hotel. Suddenly the whole 'rooms being a bit rubbish' element of staying here disappeared. True to his word the medics arrived, checked Ali out and even called a translator who understands more Spanish than 'can we have the bill please?'. The result? They'd happily have taken Ali to hospital for an x-ray right then. We had no idea of cost though and preferred to go there together the next day so we knew where Ali was and what was happening. Plus Esme was fast asleep the whole time - didn't bat an eyelid at the lights coming on or the random chat and machines being used. I envy her that ability to sleep so deeply!
Then the best thing happened. Ali finally got some sleep, and woke up the next morning feeling better. Maybe the antibiotics had finally kicked in, maybe it was the relief that the medics didn't think it was too urgent, or maybe because he finally got enough shut eye for his body to start to heal. But whatever it was he'd turned a corner.
Knowing that Ali wasn't about to die on me, and finally being able to wear some different clothes to the ones I arrived in, we had new found zeal for our trip! So we headed out to a little place just a 10 minute walk from the hotel - the Spirogyra Butterfly Garden.
Now, you've lasted a long time in this blog post without any pictures so, before I go any further, here are some of the little beauties I was able to capture on my camera!
It was honestly a magical place. As soon as you walked in they were fluttering all around you. I even had a very friendly one who landed on my hand and stayed with me for most of the trip. At one point I had my pal, another on my bag and another in my hair. I felt like a walking flower.
It's not a very big butterfly garden but we loved it. It also comes with a hidden gem - a Contemplation Walk down to the river.
It was basically a little bit of rainforest in the city. For the first time I had to consider what I was touching and standing on as this is the wild, man. It has bugs, it has cobwebs (so there are spiders somewhere about!). Despite all that it was lovely...
As you can see Esme's footwear wasn't exactly prepped for a rainforest walk. Mine wasn't much better. There was also a lot of 'down' with some very muddy slippy steps. I'm not good with 'down'. I dislike even small slopes and squeal like a baby when I have to go down them. Thanks to our unsuitable footwear Esme and I decided to rename the Contemplation Path to the 'Death Trap Contemplation Walk'. Just to add to the adventure, as we reached the river, we heard the first peal of thunder. Time to hot foot it back through the mud to the butterfly hut!
We got back just in time to enjoy our first Costa Rican thunderstorm sitting in a hut with a corrugated tin roof, eating freshly made ice lollies and watching the heavens open.
Well, I was watching it. Esme had other ideas...
We gave up waiting for it to finish and headed out (intrepid explorers that we are, I mean we survived the Death Walk so a little rain is nothing!). Halfway back we spotted a cafe. Well, a sort of cafe. It was also a car park and workshop. Spotting us loitering outside wondering if we'd stumbled over the local's outside BBQ we were welcomed in and served up some delicious Costa Rican Casado - basically the country's national dish (beyond Gallo Pinto).
Casado is actually the Spanish term for 'married' and presumably it's called that as it brings together rice and beans with a protein source and, of course, the ubiquitous plantain. Sitting there, with the rain pouring down, watching the guys in the workshop weld metal and watching the Costa Rican news on the outside telly, we felt we'd really made it to Central America! :-)
Can't wait to see what adventures we have next! Pura Vida everyone.