Costa Rica 2023, Santa Cruz


Well the final two days in Costa Rica have arrived. With much resistance and sadness we packed up our belongings and left Vagina Beach. I really did not want to leave. I could have lived there for a month at least. But onward we must travel. It’s off to Santa Cruz for the last leg of this amazing journey.

Here’s a little background for you. I’ve worked at Engineers Canada with my friend Alex for over 20 years now. Over those years we’ve become very good friends and I consider him to be my brother from another mother. His ex-husband is my travel partner, Mickey. I fell in love with Mickey the first day I met him. I was there for his and Alex’s wedding reception, Mickey’s Canadian Citizenship Ceremony, I became Madrina (godmother) to their two dogs Nano and Coco and when they sadly divorced, Mickey became my next-door neighbour. Last year, Alex had to spend 7 months in Costa Rica to move and take care of his parents. During that time, Mickey and I co-parented Nano and Coco. You could say we are one happy family in three different households.

So, it was a no brainer that we would spend our final 2 days with Alex’s parents, Alfonso and Theresa Olivas in Santa Cruz.

It was a short one-hour drive to Santa Cruz and the town was very small but very colourful and there was a Pollo (chicken) shop on almost every corner. Pollo Campero, Pollo Frito, Pollolandia, Pollos Star, Rico Pollo, POLLO, POLLO, POLLO ! Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try any of the pollo but I will next time I’m in town.

The Olivas were super excited and happy to see us. Big hugs all around. We sat on the patio and drank tequilla and beer and snacked on the snacks we brought from Avallanas. It was nice to listen to Mickey and them catching up on things. My chair was near the edge of the patio and Theresa kept fretting that I would fall off the edge. She is “such a mom” and I totally recognized how much Alex talks like her and has some of the same facial expressions as her. We talked and then the last few days of travelling caught up with us so Mickey and I went for a nap. It was super hot, almost 36 degrees and there was no AC. I had a fan but it didn’t help much. We slept for about an hour and when we woke up it was time to go for dinner.

Mickey had chosen a very nice restaurant, La Terraza. The meals were very nice. I had grilled chicken with veggies and mashed potatoes. Very Canadian lol but it was very good. So was the Imperial Light beer, as always! Mickey had a seafood pasta and it looked amazing. We did not share plates this time. We played it classy and civil this time. Theresa’s cousin had joined us. She talked up a storm and I loved her laugh.

We went left with full bellies but the night would not be complete without desert so we drove past the oldest church in Santa Cruz across the street from Heladeria Jervahos (Jervahos Ice Cream Shop). I was too full for ice cream but everyone else had some while I looked around like a lost tourist. I still can’t get over how different the air smells in Costa Rica. It has a sweet taste in your throat when you breathe in.

The food was good, the company was good and we were both very tired. The trip was winding down and so were we. We headed back to the house to put the car inside the gates where we sat earlier that day with drinks and snacks. Mickey’s cousin insisted on seeing him, so he got changed and went out for the night with his cousin.

I was glad for the break and not having to go, go , go again so I sat on the couch, beside Alfonso in his arm chair and we watched a comedy show on tv. It was full of canned laughter and goofy characters. There were three women in the skit and they were all young, beautiful and clearly, all had breast implants. None of them spoke, they only nodded or shook their head in response to the male actors. It was a surprise birthday party and the women were the surprise for an olde married man. It was sexist, but it was funny because of the facial expressions and the slap schtick. I didn’t understand the words, but I got the concept of the skit.

When the show was over, Alfonso switched it to Theresa’s favourite Tella Novella (soap opera), Meryem. She quickly sat down in her chair, in her jammies and we watched it together. Again, I didn’t understand the words but the drama and storyline were clear. The villain was obvious and the heroine was also easy to spot, especially when she knocked out a man twice her size!

I was falling asleep watching so I popped off the couch and told Theresa I was going to take a shower and go to bed. I gathered my towel and toiletries and heading into the shower only to be shocked by the biggest bug I had seen so far in Costa Rica. And it was in my shower! I yelped and Theresa came running. Alfonso was right behind her and they were quick to act. Well, Theresa was anyway. She grabbed a big can of Raid and went after the critter while me and Alfonso stood outside the bathroom. She was fearless and Alfonso told me, “they bite hard, you know?” I almost laughed because he actually looked afraid while his wife chased down the bug and it scurred away to die. We all had a good laugh and Theresa hugged me. I didn’t know how to tell her that she was strong and courageous so I pointed at her and flexed my arms like a muscle man and she laughed very hard.

I was on the alert but I still had my shower. I had to, I was melting and needed to get all the sweat off my body before bed.

My hosts were tired too, I could see and I knew they wouldn’t be far behind me in sleeping. I hugged them and said buenas noches and fell into bed to watch a few reels and tik toks and dozed off. I surely would get a good night’s sleep and was glad because tomorrow was the big day. I had to leave this paradise and do almost a little over half a day of travel. 5 hours to Toronto, 2-hour layover and then half an hour home.

I didn’t hear Mickey come in so I wasn’t sure what kind of sleep he got. All I know is, when he got up in the morning, he was ready to rumble. I think Mickey had enough of his home country and was anxious to get back to Canada. He was also still sick. I’m sure he just wanted to land and stay put for a few days.

The flight was uneventful and we discovered some fun games to play on Air Canada’s entertainment screen. All was well until we had to go through border security in Toronto. Unfortunately, Mickey shares the same name with a man from New York who is on the “no fly” list. We got held up for a while until they cleared him. He kept telling me to go catch my flight because if they detain him, I won’t get another flight as I’m just his travel partner. He would be given a new flight if they detained him, and he missed his connection. I told him I would wait another 15 minutes and then go if they hadn’t cleared him. Five minutes later, we were running through the airport trying to find our connecting flight. We had missed the baggage check, the counters were closed but a nice clerk who was on her way out, helped us find the nearest baggage conveyer for our plane. That sorted, we really boogied and we made it on time! Omg, that totally felt like the Amazing Race!

All aboard the final flight and we were grateful that in 30 minutes, give or take, we would be in Ottawa. Our friend Mimma was picking us up at the airport. Let me tell you, there are not too many friends who would drive you to the airport at 3am to go to Costa Rica and then pick you up at 1:30 am to drive you home in Ottawa. I have some amazing friends and these two, Mickey and Mimma, are top of the list.

Oh man, it felt good to be home but I was already wishing for more Costa Rican adventures, knowledge, nature and sweet air. I most definitely will return as soon as I can. First, I want to explore other areas of the world. I’m thinking of heading to the UK and Spain next. I have roots in the UK, I might even pop over to France to visit Caro before I go to Spain. In the meantime, I will scrimp and save and sell things to finance what I know have an extreme case of……the travel bug!

Thanks for coming along this journey with me…until next time ……..Pura Vida


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