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Articles tagged with: Tamarindo

Written By: Gary on September 19, 2008 One Comment

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I uploaded a album of sunsets to FaceBook. These are from my last two trips to Costa Rica. There are a few dozen and I think all of them are labeled where and when they are from.

If you are a member of FaceBook be sure to add me as a friend while you’re there. Just click on “Gary’s Profile” at the top and then “Add as a Friend”.

(I didn’t realize that these public links to Facebook photo albums expire, I’m not even sure how long they last. That’s annoying, I’m glad I only used them for a few albums…)

Written By: Gary on September 18, 2008 No Comment

So I like this town, it’s a tourist town so it’s missing some of the remoteness of some of the other towns, but it’s got every thing you might need. Lots of restaurants and hotels, a beach with surfing so it’s a got something for everyone. The beach could be bigger, especially since the tide comes up pretty high but I’ve never been very far up or down the coast from to see what else there is, maybe the next trip.

Since it’s a tourist town, it’s got lots of parking so it’s generally not a problem parking right where you want to be. This is a big bonus if there’s a huge downpour (or you’re really sick).

A lot of the people in Costa Rica scoff at Tamirindo because it is a big tourist town (especially the smaller towns on the coast some of them are just rude about it) but it’s completely different from the smaller towns so (to me) it shouldn’t be compared, you might as well as compare it to New York City; but if you’re looking for surfing NYC isn’t the place and if you’re looking for theatre Tamarindo isn’t the place, so the question is “what is it that you are looking for?” and this might be it…

Here’s the Tamarindo Photo Album I put together. I’m trying this with the MobileMe service, so if it doesn’t view very well for you let me know and I’ll put it in the old format. Photo.Me.FormatNotice the buttons at the bottom of the photos for Grid, Mosaic, Carousel or Slideshow; be sure to check out how they work.

Written By: Gary on September 5, 2008 2 Comments

So I left Tamarindo with more than enough time to spare to get to the airport. That’s it. The rest of the story pretty much writes itself doesn’t it? It’s clear I don’t make my plane but why? There’s the obvious like car problems and the not so obvious like I was abducted by aliens; I wasn’t abducted but it was certainly closer to that end of the continuum.

When I left Tamarindo it was raining but everything was fine. About ten minutes into the ride I get a few cars flashing their lights at me, usually a sign of a speed trap so I slowed down. A few turns later I see there was some kind of avalanche but I’m not sure if it’s from the rain or the earthquake from last night. There are some huge items about a meter in diameter but I’m not sure if it’s rock or mud either way I drove around it. I did pass a few more mini-avalances but some I probably could have just driven through and been okay.

But as I drive I notice the water is getting deeper on the sides of the road; I hadn’t noticed much at the start but I was much closer to the ocean so it has lots of options for drainage. Then I notice the fields are flooded on both sides of the road and while I’m not certain how tall the crops are I know the backs of those tires are under at least a dozen inches of water. Then it starts covering the road! What’s really nice is the few times that I can’t see what’s under the water (hopefully road) there are other cars so i just follow them along. The worst was probably about three-hundred feet(?) long. Many shorter ones but there were a few deep dips too; these weren’t wide but I didn’t know about flash flooding coming down these roads. The flooding is worse for the homes much of them are in water that is knee deep at parts but some are waist deep (some of these homes are on cement platforms but I don’t think many were more than 18 inches and most were less than a foot). No one seems panicky and some people were relaxing on a bench on a porch, it was really sad to see.

Then I see a quantity of people walking towards me on both sides of the road and now I’m in a traffic jam and I can’t see the other end of it. What’s going on? I’m still thinking I might catch this flight so I’m trying to get around everyone and this bus seems to know what he’s doing so I’m following him; we’re in the wrong lane at this point but there is no oncoming traffic. There’s a lot more people on the road, Should I be heading into the “fire”? The a traffic cop stops us, lets the bus through but tries to explain in Spanis to me and then leaves me for some other problem; when I see he’s busy I leave and then I see the problem so merge back into stopped traffic.

GuardiabridgeThe problem is there’s a bridge ahead so there has got of be some kind of a problem with it. But there are still refugees people coming off the bridge so it’s not collapsed. By very illegally parking and then walking to the bridge (it’s two bridges: an old one and a new one) and talking to a partially-English speaking officer and some others I determined I need to ditch my rental and cross the bridge. Oh, and at this point I’m pretty sure I’m not getting on that plane today.

Because the bridge will not be open until tomorrow and maybe not until the afternoon! But I guess even though they are concerned about the lower supports it’s okay for people and not cars. Did I mention it’s only 7 kilometers (4-5 miles) to the airport at this point?

Since then I’ve done some research, I believe this was the Guardia Bridge over the Tempisque River, ‘ve read on-line (nothing official or I’d quote that) that’s it’s 50 or 100 feet down. When I was on the bridge I’d say the water was 8-12 feet below but I’m not the best guesser at those kinds of guesstimates. Notice on the map (direct link) that this is the main road to get from the Nicoya Peninsula to the Liberia Airport. Zoom out and you’ll see it’s the only road to cross the river when it has any depth of water. That’s not really try if you zoom out farther you’ll see the huge Friendship Bridge (image) but since another trapped person told me she was going to San Jose (the long way) and she was avoiding that bridge for some reason that didn’t translate but I knew it was going to add hours (4-5?) to her trip it must be a good reason. And it turns out that this Tempisque River is the same river that forms the start of the Nicoya Bay (which, with the Pacific Ocean, makes the Nicoya peninsula).Back to getting off the peninsula: I think I can get a ride on the other side but I gotta get rid of the car. I can’t find a phone that takes change and I don’t know how to use these phones since I never make local calls and I normally use the computer. I try the hardware store but they’re closed, they have no power (I assume no power in this area). As I start to try to get a person to lend (or rent) me their cell phone an American woman (who just dropped her husband off at the bridge for the same flight) takes pity on me and lets me use her mobile to call the car rental place.

The phone bounces between several people that that can’t help me and I hear them conversing between each other and I know they don’t fully understand the problem. Finally I stick to “This has had to have happened before. How can I leave this car here and have you retrieve it later?” and repeat that to someone else and I get an answer: “Leave it at the hardware store and give the keys to the shuttle driver at the airport” plus he tells me there is no charge for this retrieval! That was pretty simple! But since the hardware store is closed the gate is locked so we settle on the gas station two kilometers down the road.

So I park there and the guy at the station speaks no english but somehow I’m truly confident he understands what I’m doing. Now I need a ride to the bridge, I can’t get a taxi or a phone to call one (or a bus) so I end up taking an illegal (which was parked near the bus stop but I didn’t know that’s what it was). The taxi driver is reading and has no idea where I’ve come from (this is important later) and knows he can’t cross the bridge so he doesn’t understand but I get him to do it for $2. So as were get to the traffic I bully him to drive around it and the traffic cop (I make it clear that he’s just “an hombre” not “a taxi”). The cop really yells at us and I can’t figure out why, but then I get realize why! I guess it’s tomorrow already because the bridge is open!!! I wasn’t going to argue about it!

So here’s the new problem, the taxi driver wants to take me across the bridge, he has no idea I have a car back there. This did no communicate so well but I finally got him to make a u-turn and take me back, we almost made it to the bridge before I convinced him. I put my stuff in my 4×4 and got across the bridge ASAP!

I’ve got six bridge photos posted (not the best I’ve ever taken) and I realized as I did it that it certainly looks significantly lower than an hour before. Wow! I’m definitely lacking in the earth sciences area so maybe that’s normal…

Wrap up – Obviously it was too late for my flight. No other flights I could find until Saturday. Delta made me pay $150 to rebook. Why doesn’t act of God ever benefit me in these circumstances? It’s the only way there!!!

I’ll tell you about Liberia and my way cute hotel later…

Written By: Gary on September 4, 2008 No Comment

Picture 20Something just happened. I’d say a huge semi-truck or two just drove by too fast and went through the crazy potholes (or something) but that’s not really possible where I am let alone it would have had to had been a 180 wheeled truck since it lasted a bit. It really shook the place for at least 4-5 seconds (it seemed much longer but I’m guessing it wasn’t) with a short ones a few seconds later about 22 or 23 minutes after midnight. Afterwards, it sounded like a few doors opened up at the hotel but no chatter of what might have happened. I don’t know how common earthquakes are here. I know I’ve never felt anything like it!

I’ve been looking on-line and finally found some data! It was a 4.3 Magnitude earthquake!!!! Not sure how big that is, but I’m from Michigan so…

The event id for this is “us2008wnan” as it’s official designation (I guess). This is the closest seismogram I could find from a drum recorder (are they still actually drums?) which happens to be the Volcano at Rincon de la Vieja, you can clearly see in the second block of 15 minutes after midnight the needle went a little crazy. Here’s some info on reading the seismograms.

275 10Looking at the attached right-hand image (the “A” is the estimated center), I’m guessing it centered about 25-30 miles from here (Tamarindo). The smaller left-hand image has some time/date info with location info (and no other earthquake boxes for the last week in Costa Rica).

This was at 10.490°N, 85.851°W, a 4.3 magnitude and 39.7 miles (63.9 km) deep. Could this have been picked up as far os New Mexico or Oregon? Or were those coincidental marks on their graphs? Finding this I’m going to say “yes” (I found this in the morning).

I’ll keep adding data as I find it! It’s been two hours I’ve been collecting info, I’m off to bed, gotta get up in the morning to catch a flight.

Written By: Gary on September 3, 2008 2 Comments

It’s raining out today, pretty hard actually, but I’ve got my covered porch and my high-speed internet so I’m okay from an entertainment standpoint. I’d much rather it be sunny but it’s rainy season and I knew that before I came here. It’s nice and cool out so I don’t need to even have the A/C on. Also, knowing there are a few places to go around here that I can actually park at helps me mentally with the rain.

Knowing how much better I actually feel mentally and physically makes me feel better:)

But it doesn’t look like it’s going to clear up soon (see below image). Clicking the image shows you a live weather view of Costa Rica. I’m around the “155” highway marker on the most left part.

tamarindo weather
Maps courtesy of Google Maps and Weather Underground.

Can you tell I’m feeling more “normal” today?

Written By: Gary on September 2, 2008 6 Comments

So except for the last trip I’ve never had any “stomach issues” and on that trip it was very minor and passed in few days (no pun intended). This trip the same thing happened for a few days and by Friday I was feeling fine. But then Saturday came…

I think it was the water in something I ate or drank, I don’t drink the water or take ice, but there are vegetables and juices and all sorts of stuff with water. It could have been the bottle of water I purchased from a street vendor on Thursday, the cellophane on the bottle seemed a little loose but the cap seemed sealed but it had crossed my mind enough to check and it seemed fine (but it’s still in my head).

Feel free to skip the rest of this blog post, I avoid getting graphic but it does have a bit on my experience with the health care here in Costa Rica.
Let’s just say Saturday morning I made a few too many trips to the restroom that I went to the farmacia before I left San Jose. I purchased some pills and some electrolyte mixture to add to water. Then I headed out to Samara still feeling lousy. When I stopped for lunch I couldn’t find the medicine anywhere but then I got to my hotel I tore everything apart and still couldn’t find the medicine. And, of course, all the pharmacies were closed by then.

My symptoms got worse as the day went on. That night I got up at least forty times during the night and it got worse as the night went on. The next day, Sunday, all the pharmacies and doctor’s offices were closed so I head on out to the hospital in Nicoya. If I was leaving town, then I was going to see a Doctor…

The hospital in Nicoya was about what I expected not much of a building, no Air Conditioning (fortunately it had been raining and was slightly cool) and they said the Doctor’s did not speak English. I checked in and sat down in the crowd. I starting translating words to Spanish so it’d go faster when I saw the Doctor. I expected to be waiting for hours but I’d say it was only about twenty minutes. The Doctor said he didn’t know English but between what I wrote down and what he knew, we only had to look up a few words. He sent me for an IV and some tests; the IV was really a huge syringe and it as at least an inch-and-a-quarter around and five inches long. It wasn’t too bad but it made me a little dizzy, which they didn’t want to understand as they’re trying to move me to the next room (when I plopped on the a chair and stopped, I think they got the hint).

All of these things had a very short wait except for waiting for the test results. The test results were at least two hours. Then waiting for the Doctor took a while which would have been fine if I could have sat down and not queued up where they had us. He prescribed what I assume to be a similar electrolyte mixture and some pills (more for the stomach pain I believe). Total time four maybe four-and-a-half hours.

The room for the IV was the nicest and I didn’t even need to try and say “utilice por favor una aguja nueva”; it was a specific sentence in the Costa Rican Spanish book for the phrase “please use a new needle”, I assumed it was in there for a reason. Some of the rooms were more warehouse-ish than anything with roofed cubicles in and around the building. FYI – the office for the Doctor and the syringe room were both air conditioned but that was it. I’m sure the building would freak many of you out :)

I got a receipt for the 40,000 colones (about $73) but it’s lacking info so we’ll see what Blue Cross does with it when I try to submit it…

So, I left there and headed towards the main highway, I would have sworn there was an “American Hotel” that I was planning to splurge for but I couldn’t find it. So I drove all the way to Tamarindo (second largest city?) and grabbed the second hotel I tried (the first one was full). I was still sick for about a day and a half, but I was slowly getting better. Part of the problem was that I wasn’t eating either, I normally graze and eat 4-5 times a day but I was averaging less than I meal a day. Monday night, I forced myself out for a second meal hoping only for some soup and a sandwich, and while I’d normally avoid an American chain while I vacation, the Subway fit that requirement for me. I took it back to my room and the soup was so good and I nibbled on the sandwich over the next few hours. From then on I’ve only been feeling better.

It’s Tuesday and I’m not perfect but I’m way better. I’m eating (most of three meals I’ve had) and I got more of a similar electrolyte solution from the farmacia today. I’ve felt well enough to wander around town and the beach a few times and I’m in a hotel I really like so that makes it even better…

Written By: Gary on September 2, 2008 One Comment

DomuskahunaI love the Domus Kahuna unfortunately they were full when I came to Tamarindo a few days ago. It’s this small cute place a block from the main strip (it’s behind the Voodoo Lounge?) and we only found it by accident last trip (we pulled into the “driveway” to turn around and thought we’d check). Last time we had this tiny two bedroom with living room/kitchenette, I’ve just got a plain room this time but it’s perfect and it’s more than 1/2 off what I’ve paid the last few days. No view of the ocean but it’s only 150 meters to town and the beach and that’s better. I think it comes with a minimal breakfast (at least it did last time) and the free WiFi leaks into the room.

If you’ve been to / heading to Tamirindo, it’s the last turn before you get to the circle at the end of “the strip”; go up one block and hang a left and it’s shortly on your right (careful, the road is awful as soon as you turn off the strip).I couldn’t find this place in my GPS so here’s the info N 10°17.917 W 085°50.401. I would hope that would get you to a few meters of the spot.

Written By: Gary on September 2, 2008 No Comment

Sorry, I’ve been off-line lately, I haven’t had ‘net access or felt well enough to do it (I’ve been really really sick the last few days), but I’m feeling much much better today. I’ll give you the scoop on my experiences with the CR medical system later.

I’m in Tamarindo the next few days, I couldn’t get the little hotel that I liked from last trip, Domus Kahuna, but I grabbed a room at the Best Western Vista Villas since I didn’t feel well enough to go looking for a room (wanted a safe bet); I’d normally avoid the US chains when in Costa Rica. Turns out my room has a view of the ocean and so does the pool/returant area (which also has WiFi), it’s a little bit of a hike down to the water but it’s a great view :)

This is looking like one of the top weather days this trip so far! I think I just need to take it easy for a little bit still. So I’ll drive into town and pick up a few things and then head down and check out the beach.

Written By: Gary on August 19, 2008 2 Comments

Normally when I travel I like to stay put for a few days (at least a few days) and not keep repacking and moving to another place. I personally don’t find that very relaxing and that’s generally the point of vacationing, IMHO.

This past spring when we went to Costa Rica we (my friend Mark was with me) didn’t sit still. We moved hotels almost every night and probably saw an additional town or two each day while we traveled. Not exactly my preferred way to travel but that’s because we had a mission for this trip…

I love the small town Montezuma, located at the south end of the Nicoya Peninsula (just above Cabuya on the map to the right), but the mission was to find some other towns that I might like. I wanted someday to spend a few months in Costa Rica, my concern was that I’d rent a place for a few months and then realize that I liked the next town over since I hadn’t done much exploring from that perspective.

So we drove around like cRaZy checking out towns and staying different places and checking out different areas to see if there was anything I liked better. Montezuma was still my favorite but it’s definitely more isolated than some of the other towns. Tamarindo was a large town but a lot busier than I was hoping for but it pretty much had everything you need. Samara was a medium to small town that I didn’t get to explore enough. But comparatively Montezuma was a tiny town, but for some reason seems to fit me just right…

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