We hosted an amazing couple from France two years ago... Marie-Pierre and Philippe. Last year, they returned yet again. We've become friends and have been keeping in touch ever since. They have been looking at property in Nicoya, particularly in the Playa Samara area. Last week, I received an email from Marie-Pierre telling me they have arrived in Costa Rica, have rented a lovely house for a month in Samara and would love for us to come visit. With an eco-tourism meeting in Santa-Maria on Tuesday, Thanksgiving lunch at Annika and Roger's on Thursday (yum! cannot miss that!), getting the ponds ready the following Monday to start catching and selling, lots of garden preparation to sow more seeds, B&B guests arriving December 3, then my daughter, Phoenix, and her best friend arriving for on December 6th for a week, the only available time was this weekend. So I contacted Marie-Pierre to let her know and she said this weekend suited them perfectly. Unfortunately, Kevin had to stay behind to take care of the ponds and animals, so this was going to be a solo trip.
I woke up at 4:15 am yesterday (Saturday) and left the house to start my journey at 5:15 am. It was just starting to get light, so it wasn't too dark, but it was early enough that there was no traffic on the Pan-American Highway. It was overcast, but not too my fog... until I reached San Jose. I'd never seen so much fog in the capital before. However, it felt like I was the only one on the road, so it didn't prevent me from making good time. The clouds dispersed by the time I found myself on the other side of the city, on my way to the Pacific coast. The sun was shining and the temperature was creeping higher and higher. I left wearing a fleece jacket, but as I approached Puntarenas, it car temperature gauge was showing 30C. And muggy! I took my fleece off and haven't needed since. I made very good time: it took me 5 hours from home to Nicoya (the town). Once in Nicoya, I called Marie-Pierre to let her know I'd be soon in Samara. She said they would meet me at the entrance of the village and would lead me to their place form there. It was too complicated to try and give directions.
I had been following a very slow truck between Nicoya and Samara... I mean REALLY slow. So, I decided I would pass it. I waited for the yellow dotted line to be in my favour and I checked if there was any on-coming traffic. It was all clear. I passed the truck, but as I did so, I needed to accelerate over the speed limit to get around him. Just as I did so, comfortably, two policemen were standing at the side of the road checking for speeders... and I was caught red-handed. They waved me over. Ugh. One of the policeman walked over to my open window, asked me for my driver's license, which I produced immediately. He checked that our stickers were up to date... they were. Then he asked me for the vehicle's registration. I opened the glove compartment, took out the manual booklet where we keep such things and it wasn't there. I looked everywhere. In the meantime, the policeman asked me where I lived, what this a rented car, and so forth. He then looked at my license, which has my maiden name and asked me if I was French (I'm answering as best as I could in Spanish while still frantically looking for our registration card). I didn't fight or object to getting a ticket... I was speeding in that small window of time and got caught... it was unfortunate, but you have to pay the piper, right. So I started asking him where I could pay and he said at any bank. He told me it would be 7,350 colones ($15 U.S.). He was very nice and very patient, but I still couldn't produce the registration. I asked if he would mind if I called my husband to ask him where I might find this card. The policeman just looked at me and told me to not worry about it, told me to slow down, and to have a nice day. So no ticket!!! Yay! I thanked him and got on my way. I was very careful to not drive above the limit. A few minutes later, in my rearview mirror, I see the police car speeding up behind me with their siren light on. I pull over, thinking maybe I had misunderstood, perhaps he didn't let me off... or maybe I forgot my license??? As I pulled over, the police car sped by me paying no attention to me whatsoever, going what seemed like 120 km in a 80 km zone. Hmm, so that's how they play this game, I see. I could hardly get upset, considering he didn't right me up.
So after this little distraction, I made my way to Samara and within 30 minutes, I saw Marie-Pierre standing on the side of the road, waiting for me. We said our hellos. We parked the SUV and they drove me to see the beach. We decided it would be nice to have a drink, which we did at a little outdoor bar directly in front of the ocean. The view was perfect. Then, it was time for lunch, and grab something to eat. I had a spaghetti with shrimp and white sauce. So delicious.
The village of Samara reminds me of Puerto Viejo a little. Lots of little artisan shops. And the heat... so hot and sticky! After lunch, Marie-Pierre and Philippe lead me back to their place. There is a concrete bridge that we have to cross before climbing the dirt road 300 m up to their rented house. When we got to the bridge, the river had swelled due to the earlier rain and was spilling over with quite a strong current. With the mud creating a slick surface, we didn't want to chance it. Certainly, Philippe's small rented car would not make it across... and although our SUV most likely would have (with Kevin at the wheel), I was not feeling so adventurous.
Philippe called one of his neighbours to ask if there was another way up. His neighbour said to sit tight, he's be down in a few minutes to guide us up a different way. The detour only took a few minutes out of our way, except Philippe's rented car simply could not grip the road so he had to leave it at the bottom of the hill, and he and Marie-Pierre jumped in with me. Our SUV had no problems managing the steep and rocky terrain and we arrived at their house safe and sound.
Although it was raining, it was still a gorgeous view...
After our little Costa Rica hiccup, Philippe got changed into his bathing suit and jumped into the pool to cool off.
We had a lovely evening. Marie-Pierre and I chatted until 11 pm. By that time, having been up since 4:15 am, the long journey and the heat, I was exhausted and ready for bed.
I slept well... until about 4 am, I heard the strangest sound. Thank goodness Philippe had warned me that I would hear this odd noise, so I was somewhat prepared. This sound can only be described as what water draining from a bathtub located in a wind tunnel might sound like. It had this hollow airy resonance... a bit eerie. This noise in the distance were monkeys in the jungle. If Philippe hadn't mentioned it, I would never have guessed what it could possibly be... it seemed so unearthly... netherworld-like. It lasted about an hour and that was it. We don't have monkeys where we live, so it's not a sound I'm familiar with. I expect I'll be hearing it again tomorrow morning. It's amazing to be in the same country and experience such diverse climate, flora, and fauna. It never ceases to amaze me.
I will be leaving tomorrow morning at about 9 am so that I'll miss the morning traffic in San Jose. I'll be back home by early afternoon. It's been a great little holiday. Thank you Marie-Pierre and Philippe (I practiced speaking French all weekend! My mother will be so proud)
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Dave and Krista are a couple from the Pacific Northwest that led overwhelmingly busy lives.
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