part 1 | part 2 | part 3
Day 7 - Sat Nov 21 - Villas Playa Sámara
i woke up totally unable to put weight on my leg - it felt like the giant bruise growing all along the inside of my calf was going to explode, & i couldn't even hop around since that would jar the stitches. i guessed i overdid it yesterday, bleh. aj proactively fetched a hotel wheelchair while i tried to get dressed, & Sexy Cheekbones gave me all kinds of extra attention at breakfast, haha.
the hotel let us borrow the wheelchair for the day, & aj tried to carefully drive me over the potholes on the road to the main street. we successfully boarded the bus to nicoya going the opposite way from what the security guard at the gate had said... fortunately, we discovered later that the bus just turns around about five minutes down the road. the bus system in costa rica was pretty awesome - seemed to be just dudes who bought buses & therefore become bus drivers. everyone seemed to know our driver, & we counted five silver mudflap girls pasted in various parts of his front window. it was really cheap to ride - the hour trip to nicoya was only around $2 each.
we pulled into a big bus depot in nicoya, aj freed the wheelchair from the bus's belly, & it was easy to find a proper cab. he drove us without issue to mansión, but had a bit of trouble finding the address the hotel guys wrote down for me. the driver was kind enough to use his own phone to call evans for us. we were an hour early, & aj was nervous as hell, but evans met us at his big metal gate & let us in & we soon discovered he was the sweetest man in the world.
it was just his house that he was working out of that day, but he made sure that i understood that he does work in a shop & he's very careful about sterility. he asked me to come watch him set up so i could feel comfortable, & i was pretty happy with the space - it was a little white tiled room off of the main house, & clearly made to pretty decent clean-room standards. his set up was shop-quality - glove changing, using hard disinfectants & laying down clean surface wraps, everything i expect from a standard shop. everything was single-use except for the main bulk of his tattoo machine, & he showed me the pressure cooker he used for sterilization. i was quite happy. he kept telling me that my comfort & happiness were the most important things to him, & he thanked me repeatedly for putting my trust in my hands, telling me it's an honor to work on me. d'awww!
evans placed the stencil perfectly on the first try, & in ten minutes the work was done. he did a fantastic job of it, one of the best country names i've received. during, we kept talking in his decent english & my not-so-great spanish, & communication wasn't that difficult. i learned more about costa rica, & i invited him to come stay with me in seattle any time. after, he bandaged me up in the typical manner. we had agreed on $50 when i first got there, & i'd shown him a $50 bill; i took out my money, very obviously moved the $50 to the back, & started counting out $20s. i held out three of them to evans, & he responded, "it is only fifty." i said, "yep, here you go!" & he repeated, "but it is only fifty!" i laughed & said, "i KNOW!" & made him take it. his eyes got all big & he looked like he didn't know what to do with himself. he thanked me & gave me a hug & seemed just utterly blown away. (judging by cost of living, $10 there is like a tip of $70 in the states by average income, or 5 hours of work for a housekeeper... but i'd gladly have paid even more for the wonderful experience evans gave me. :) )
evans showed us there was a bus stop right outside of his place, & a bus coming in a couple of minutes. so we took that back to nicoya, where we loitered a bit, bought yet another guanabana smoothie, & i had a casado de pescado plate with some kind of beet salad, rice, beans, & picadillo. we tried to get the bus back to sámara, but ended up missing it TWICE & didn't want to wait another hour & a half, so we hopped a taxi that only cost us $23 each. not bad for an hour's drive in a nice cool car.
we were set to leave sámara the next day - i'd successfully had our extra night at the hilton moved to the end of our trip, which meant we could drive back to liberia during the day, sleep sunday night in the hotel, then shuttle a few minutes to the airport instead of the original plan to leave sámara at 2am to get to the airport two hours early for our 7am monday flight. it was annoying getting the hilton to recognize what they did wrong - remember they told us we HAD to leave on monday with our tour group, & that there was no tuesday group! - & move our reservation, but it made the trip better in the end, plus i got to meet some really great people including my favorite, Sexy Cheekbones. so everything worked out. :)
i rested my leg in the reception area while wifi'ing & waiting for dinner, & happened to catch xiuhcoatl yawning on snekcam. that's always such a treat. ^_^ since it was our last night, we ended up collecting almost everyone - Sexy Cheekbones & StarLover, Grandma Canada & Grandpa Canada, Seventy-Six & her daughter Long Island, & felipe joined us too. (i invited Annoyed 20yo & Giggles to our table, but they didn't join.) felipe brought what he called "latex of palm" - palm wine before it became wine. it had a crazy flavor & he shared it out with everyone. my favorite part on the dinner menu was the pork rib in cranberry sauce, & we all laughed & joked a lot. i got to tell them about the GMT addition, & i also gathered everyone's email addresses to keep in touch. Sexy Cheekbones & i were already plotting a trip to greece together in 2016.
the hotel staff then brought me out a birthday cake, having been tipped off by aj early that morning. (they'd all wished me a happy birthday as aj rolled me to the bus, but i didn't realize that meant cake might happen. :D they had also decorated the hell out of the room - little flowers on everything & my towels folded into swans, aww.) i was serenaded once in english, then twice in spanish at felipe's insistence. i shouted "¡pura vida!" in response, which is something we heard everywhere - basically costa rica's version of california's "hang loose" or hawaii's "mahalo". i cut the cake into slices for everyone & it was light & delightful & full of cherries.
i packed nearly everything so i could relax in the morning, & slept well for my last night in sámara.
Day 8 - Sun Nov 22 - Transfer to Guanacaste (LIR) Airport for your flight home
Time to go back home!!! The Costa Rica Monkey Tours team will take you back to the airport right on time for your flight back home! We hope you have enjoyed this Costa Rica adventure arranged specially for you.
we'd wanted to hit the tide pools before we left, but i still couldn't really walk, & low tide was waaaay early that morning, so we bailed. i wheeled over to reception to say goodbye to the staff & check out; as i was doing so, aj came running up that he just saw a ctenosaur TEAR APART A SONGBIRD. :O i spun out of reception & raced over as carefully as i could to avoid scaring the lizard away, & saw little yellow BIRD PARTS all over the walkway. other ctenosaurs were coming up to steal pieces, & the big guy who destroyed the bird was running away with flappy dangly bird bits hanging out of his maw. we took as many pics as we could & were pretty well impressed by all the NATURE.
after the drama ended, i had my last breakfast with Sexy Cheekbones & StarLover, then we left for the airport with everyone except those two - most of the group were on afternoon flights out. it was a nice drive for a few hours back to liberia, even despite the weird UV plastic rosary hanging from the rear view. we dropped everyone at the airport, then the van took us five minutes back to the hilton.
by this point i was feeling pretty lousy - the antibiotics for my leg had depleted my immune system, as antibiotics do, & i caught a shitty little cold. i wasn't too miserable, it wasn't a flu or anything, but considering how much my leg still hurt, i opted to stay in the lush hotel room & do Not Much of Anything for our last day. aj was kind enough to fetch food for us (my last guanabana smoothie, with the hotel's "witch rock salad" with a grilled tuna skewer, prunes, fresh coconut, & dragon fruit dressing for a late lunch; then for dinner i had an octopus-heavy seafood cocktail, with plaintain fries i would've eaten every day, & a fruit crepe) & it was fine. the hotel had speedy wifi, & i caught vasuki yawning on snekcam (& managed a screenshot!) while torrenting some shows for the three flights home.
Day 9 - Mon Nov 23 - Guanacaste to home
since we were already in liberia, we were able to sleep reasonably well & leave just two hours before the first flight at 7:50am. my bruise had become enormous & green. the hotel gave us breakfast boxes, with a quote written on them that i found very odd. at the airport, i gave the last of my costa rican colones to the coco island sloth conservation fund. due to the wheelchair i still needed, we were able to zip through security (i successfully sneaked my suture scissors through, as we only had carry-on), & enjoyed early boarding on each flight (liberia, houston, & los angeles).
there were only a few points of interest on the flights home: first, one of the flights showed a commercial for the sheraton hotel in cabo... the exact place i stayed for my president's club trip to mexico; i was amused. second, we met the most obnoxious tip seeker EVER in LAX - the guy who shuttled us on one of those airport trams kept telling us that he accepts tips, & loudly thanked one woman for giving him a tip. he stared at us as we exited his car, & i told him (quite honestly) that i only had fifties on me. he said he can make change for that, he has lots of change, no problem. he didn't do any kind of great job, just barely did what he's paid for & wasn't even polite, so i thanked him & started hobbling away. he got all bitchy about how he guessed he wasn't making a tip on this trip. what the hell dude?!@ third, the guy assigned to push my wheelchair at seatac asked where we were flying in from, & then asked if costa rica is in europe. -_- & finally, i forgot how utterly horrific it is to fly with clogged eustachian tubes due to a headcold. my ears hurt so badly during each descent that i actually thought they were bleeding. eesh, so glad that's over.
one of my employees, peg, was kind enough to pick us up from the airport (i'd planned to take the light rail & bus home as usual, but since i was unable to walk properly... yeah) & delivered me safely home. i immediately greeted my snakes, & even had a few days with aj's rainbow boa, samsara, as she'd been staying at my place for ease of care while we were gone. two weeks after the kick, i removed my stitches using my new suture scissors & forceps, though the delightful lish-jerky scab has yet to fall off.
the trip was fun & relaxed, just what i needed to contrast my last vacation. hope you enjoyed the travelogue!
update, january 2016
i was so happy with how my leg healed that i tracked down dr freddy's email & sent him a photo with a thank-you:
Hi Doc! I was visiting Costa Rica in November, and you sewed up my leg after I was kicked by a horse. You did such a great job on me that I thought you might like to see the healed result. I'm very happy - it healed very flat, just like you said. Thanks again for being awesome. :)
A message like that one make any
Doctor wake up in the mornig and
Go to work happy
:D ;_; :D what a sweetheart.