We had a nice night of rest then woke up around 10 or 11 am so as to make the 12 pm check-out time for the hotel (yeah, turns out we needed 30 extra minutes. whatev). we packed our crap and bounced out of the lotus garden only to sit in the car for five minutes with the ac on then walk across the street to an Indian restaurant (bugh, but good food) and have lunch while we perused the guidebook to decide what our next moves were going to be. I had shawarma (a sandwich consisting of pita bread, roast chicken, ensalada, and some kind of tzatziki sauce). lauren had freaky falafel (same pita bread and tzatiziki ensalada but who knows what the hell the fried green falafel is). both were damn good though and we washed it all down with water, alpina to be exact, which is owned by The Coca Cola company which runs the world apparently.
Lunch ended and we hopped in the whip and cruised out of puerto viejo on our way to puerto limon, which is about an hour or so north of puerto viejo. Lauren stopped to get some replacement colones at a bank in town then went to a supermercado and bought local coconut cookies which were a bit tough but enjoyable enough. The trip to limon was decent albeit somewhat routine. Lauren took some videos as we drove. We stopped at a gas station to fill up the tank about halfway along, figuring it might be the only one for a good distance (it was). I went inside to use el bano and lauren stayed with the car. unbeknownst to either of us, we were both getting laughed at by costa ricans simultaneously. I for asking where the bathroom was in my best spanish and lauren for not being able to drive a manual car and move the piece out of the way of the pump.
After that we continued on to limon/moin which has horribly narrow/ windy roads, lots of wild perros, and even more unsavory locals (JK! not really . . .there’s piles of basura and I’m sure doodoo in the street). Lauren spoke on the phone to francesca, the wife of this dude named modesto who runs a tour guide business for tortuguero (our intended destination) out of moin. They chatted and decided for us to stay the night at a hotel called Mar Azul in Puerto Moin. During one of the phone calls, the service was lost and the call cut short. We figured, oh well we’ll talk to her as soon as we get to moin. somehow we found moin and the hotel but kept driving past it into the wilderness on the dirt road that led into moin. We thought maybe we could drive ourselves all the way to tortuguero and avoid the canal tour. We drove about 25 miles past puerto moin, over coconuts, mud pits, and open beaches ( I said it, we drove ONTO the beach).
At one of the beaches we stopped for a little rest and exploration. I tried to knock down a coconut from a palm tree with a smaller coconut I found on the ground (as i had done the previous night in puerto viejo but with rocks). That endeavor being flighty, lauren and I worked together to concoct a way to wrangle one of the elusive coconuts from a palm tree. We found a washed up piece of driftwood, a forgotten bit of plastic tie, another fallen branch, and a machete and collaborated our materials and brains until we finally pulled down a whomping mo fo of a coconut, or so we thought. I went to work on that thing with my machete on the beach. Lauren took some pictures as I mangled the nut. I was able to hack it open and lauren and I sat staring at the open ocean and sipping on fresh coconut milk then we ate the innards of the coconut. The water and rind were both delicious and even more so because we murdered that shiz together on the beach.
Lauren learned how to drive a manual four wheel drive suv offroad next and, surprise, she DIDN’T stall the first time. Impressive I must say. It started raining so I took over the wheel of the Suzuki monster. We busted through the costa rican jungle at about 100 or so kilometers an hour in the down pour back to hotel Mar Azul. As soon as we got there we parked and dragged ourselves up to the bar in search of a room for the night. The matron of the hotel didn’t speak english but a really cool bar patron from nicaragua named Fausto did and he helped us make our reservation. I bought him a beer to thank him, then lauren and I sat down for dinner.
As reggae music wafted through the open-air bar, Fausto intermittently bought Lauren and I beers (Imperial and Pilsner) as well as gallo pinto (beans and rice). We both ordered arroz con pollo for dinner, which consisted of a plate of fried chicken and rice, ensalada, and papas fritas. Pretty good food. As we finished the meal with a cacique and coca cola Fausto literally gave the shirt off his back to another quite drunk and quite cold local. We bid farewell, thanked everyone for their kidness, then retired to our room. It had a fully functioning bathroom so we both showered then bedded down for the night
. . . except the bed was dirty as hell and caused both of our allergies to flare uncontrollably. lauren’s pillow smelled of feces so we both put down camping gear (sleeping bags, pads, sacks, etc.) and slept peacefully on that.