Arriving: First days alone
I have 4 days between my family leaving me and my yoga teacher training beginning. I have to move cities in this time. How do I plan this time? My anxiety tells me to get to my meeting place earlier, so I plan 2 days in Liberia. Day 1 - Left Alone in a strange city
Saying farewell was so sad. It's rare to find a guy who will stay with you while you go travel alone and he stays at home. I feel so lucky, yet sad at what I have asked him to do for me. The sadness tends to bring on migraines, so I need to busy myself until I can change to my hostel.
I decide to do some recon - where is my hostel and the bus station? I look at Google Maps and walk in straight lines for easy countable number of blocks. San Jose is a bit unpleasant and I'm on edge walking the main shopping street. I complete recon and hide in the hotel with free chamomile tea whilst I read about buses in Costa Rica. Time comes to move to my hostel and I get an Uber (cheap and safe). The Uber car (an old Suzuki) pulls up and some dodgy guy in a cap says "Buenos";the hotel porter is hesitant to close the door on me! I can see my name on the Uber app in the car and follow closely the route of the car to ensure I'm not being kidnapped - how did I get so paranoid?!
The hostel is ok. I go for another walk to the local park. This is much better. I keep a simple circuit to walk and see things, but this can take me back to the hostel easily when I tire. That is enough for one day. It's time to rest at the hostel as it's an early start tomorrow.
Day 2 - catching a bus to the northwest coast.
I wake up at 5am, I'm not wanting to oversleep! A quick shower and walk up the toad to the bus station - it's perfect. The ticket counter is easy with my limited "Una boleto a Liberia directo por favor". I watch the people in the station as I drink my expensive weak coffee. After 30 minutes the bus pulls up and everyone loads their bags on to the bus. I sit in a seat, and then see everyone looks for allocated seats - that's what the #7 means on my ticket! So I have to move seats - it's perfect right over the under bag storage so I can keep an eye on my bag. Who is this paranoid weirdo I'm travelling with?! I need to get rid of her! The bus journey is easy. I get to Liberia and check Google Maps - 7 minute walk to the hotel. It already feels a lot safer, and hotter, here! The hotel lets me check in early. It's very basic.
I check out Google Maps for the town size, and off for my first walk. Loop to the west of the hotel. Lunch stop at cafe next to hotel, then a 30 minute rest - it's hot! Walk 2 - north of hotel and I'm into funny looks...I've strayed into the locals area. It's poorer, there is sewage in the river and a cemetery rather than a park! Back to the town centre for me!
It's nice being alone. I enjoy not talking much to people and watching the world around me. The simplicity of the town reflects my mood and I feel peaceful.
Day 3 - admin day
I chill at the hotel catching up on emails, a business call with Molly and then a mid-morning yoga practice in my room - it's so hot I melt in my skin, but it feels so good to do a series of backbends.
Task one - Bus to meet yogis
I have to work out getting to Liberia airport tomorrow to meet the yoga group. It's $25 for a private shuttle from my hotel, but this seems extravagant. All the blogs suggest this as the buses are too complex to navigate without good Spanish. Unperturbed I head back to the bus station and am told it's another bus station I need. The tico station - it's busy, no signs anywhere so I guess it's time for my non-Spanish at the ticket counter. I manage to work out that the bus is every 20 minutes, but the rest is confusing. Guess I'll allow 2 hours for the experience tomorrow!
Task two - getting my bikini bottoms taken in!
Mail ordering even with measurements is never guaranteed for a perfect fit and their extra space was a little indecent on the beach! I saw a clothing maker behind my hotel, so decided to get them fixed. Using Google Translate I wrote down a series of sentences and questions about my bikini. In the shop I show her the bottoms and she takes me to the back, showing me their own made ones. I get out my note book and show her my sentence about mine being too large for me. Ah! She's off, asking another girl she nods at me. The girl shows the bottoms and using body language, we manage to agree how much I need taken in and where the stitching is for the work.
As I watch her expertly and neatly unpick, stitch and cut the bottoms I worry the communication wasn't right and they might be ruined. In no time, she has perfectly tightened the bottoms and for £3 they now fit me!
My belief that we only need body language is affirmed (mostly)! Not too sure my Spanish language skills will be improving much if I can negotiate the complexity of taking in bikini bottoms on hand gestures and facial expressions alone! However, perhaps catching tico transport will require a little more Spanish...until tomorrow!