They say if you watch a kettle it never boils but in the case of last night it was “if you need to get to sleep then you won’t” due to numerous factors keeping me awake all night. Firstly I had to wait up until Guido got back from the club, which was fair enough, but when they all got back whoever was in the room next to us put the TV on quite loudly which kept us awake. Then I had to turn the fan off in our room as it was so loud but this meant it was too hot to get to sleep although I got used to it after a while – just in time to hear Guido start snoring. Our came the ear plugs and just as I thought I was drifting off to sleep we had an earthquake which shook the building for around 20 seconds. I decided that it really wasn’t my night and as it was almost 5am at this point I just gave up and sat up in bed collecting my thoughts – I can usually get through anything but I can’t compete with Mother Nature shaking me awake!
I wish I wasn’t such a light sleeper when I travel as half of our group didn’t even feel the earthquake. I’m not sure how they managed that as they’re estimating it was a pretty strong magnitude 6.0 on the Richter Scale with an epicenter just south of San Jose but it’s a skill I need to learn. I guess on a positive side it wasn’t the Arenal Volcano erupting like I initially thought when it shook me awake.
After a last minute explore of the town it was back to the hotel to check out and wait for our transport to San Jose. Half of the group wanted to go rafting but were unable to fit it in along with the other activities available so Mena organised a way for them to be able to fit it today which was set aside for travel. One of the rafting options goes in the direction of San Jose so they were able to do that this morning and then the rest of us picked them up on route in a private minibus ready for the final part of our journey to the capital. It cost us a few dollars to upgrade from local bus but gave us a more leisurely day and meant everybody could do the things they wanted.
We arrived at the rendezvous point early so had to wait a little while for them to finish lunch and collect their belongings but we were soon on our way. We stopped for a quick lunch as those of us that didn’t go rafting hadn’t eaten all day – the others were annoyed but we were starving and they soon found ways to entertain themselves during the stop.
I relaxed and listened to music during the remainder of the journey to San Jose during which the scenery became a lot more mountainous as we passed over the mountain range between La Fortuna and San Jose. The scenery itself wasn’t as beautiful as some of the valleys in Honduras but it was more “large scale” if that makes sense with huge rivers to cross and larger rolling hills which were perfect to collect my thoughts on our last group transfer day of the trip. After passing over several hills and through several police check points we slowly made out descent into San Jose.
San Jose is the most built up and chaotic place we’ve visited on this whole trip so I’m glad we’re finishing here rather than starting. There is so much traffic and the city is full of one-way systems it’s just chaos unless you know where you’re going and it took our driver some time to find our destination, Gaudy’s Hostel, but we got there in the end. Gaudy’s is a nice little place with a couple of lounge areas, the rooms set out around various wings leading off a central courtyard and all the facilities you’d expect at a hostel like kitchen, Internet etc. The rooms could do with some improvement but San Jose is an expensive city compared to the others we’ve visited so it was a good place on our budget.
After checking in and freshening up it was time to head into the city for our goodbye group meal which Mena had booked at an oriental restaurant that came highly recommended called “Tin Jo” which was really nice but a little pricey. A few of us decided to stretch our legs after a long day of travelling and walked there but we managed to get lost due to the fact San Jose has no visible road signs and there are so many open parks and plazas which, although they are lovely, confused us quite a bit. We got there eventually and I tucked into a lovely meal of crunchy tofu followed by Filipino pork. During the meal the bulk of the group presented Mena with her tip but they didn’t even think to ask us to contribute – apparently they didn’t think we would want to give her a tip as we hadn’t been on the trip for as long as them which I found a bit rude. Mena has done a great job even though it’s only her first group lead and I’ve had a great trip so of course we would want to contribute. We’ll be having a Team Breakaway group meal tomorrow so I’ll see about organising one then, but I’m not going to let the whole thing bother me :).
Instead of walking and getting lost again we decided to get a taxi back to the hostel although this was an experience – the driver was absolutely crazy and drove the car like a mad man. From his random incoherent rantings I’m sure he was drunk or high or something but we somehow got back in one piece where we relaxed with a few drinks before bed. I’m glad I’ve booked an extra night in San Jose tomorrow night – I’m not ready to say goodbye to Costa Rica or Team Breakaway yet!