The story of how a two hour drive took five.
I felt like a chicken with her head cut off yesterday morning. But I was at the Embassy so I couldn´t run around. The girls that are visiting us and I decided the previous night that we´d see if we can get a deal for the three of us that was offering a deal for two at a hotel/spa a couple of hours north of where I live.
I started at the Travel Agency (Carlson Wagonlit location down the hall from my office) and asked the nice ladies if I could do what I wanted. They made a call to the hotel and directed her to another person to call. She told me she´d make the call and let me know. I had breakfast with a friend in her office who offered me one of her extra croissants. The wonderful woman from Carlson popped her head in and said that we could do it for $10 less than what I was asking for - woot!
I told her I needed to find babysitters before I made the reservation, so I thanked my friend for breakfast and went on my way. I stopped at the office next to mine and asked someone if her daughter could babysit that afternoon and this afternoon. She couldn´t get a hold of her, so I tried other options. Most of the teenagers and visiting college students were either out of town with their parents or with out. And then I remembered my neighbor. She´s become a friend and has an 18 month old of her own. She owns a store at the mall, but usually goes just in the evening.
Problem: I don´t have her phone number. So I ask my friend who shared breakfast who just happens to be from Spain to call my maid for me and ask her to have my neighbor call me at my desk. The message is passed on but she doesn´t call. So my maid goes to my neighbor and asks for the phone number. I call her to find out she was making pancakes. I feel a little bad, but am too excited for spa (two hours in the spa actually) to care too much (sorry A).
She says she can watch the kids that day and her maid will do it the next. Yes!! I make the reservation and wait at the Embassy for another half hour for Carlson to give me the voucher for the room.
Head home, pack, feed Simon, print out directions from Google, take kids over to neighbors house, get everything in the car - go! Get 15 minutes out and turn around because I forgot my purse. UGH!
I should´ve seen this as the bad omen it was.
We were going to San Jose first to buy bus tickets for the girls because the company doesn´t take credit cards and they´re leaving for Panama Friday night. We drive around for about an hour looking for the place because the book apparently doesn´t have the location right and the nice woman at the hotel we stopped at wasn´t quite sure either apparently.
So we finally give up and decide to go to the hotel. I think I´m supposed to turn left at the road and I don´t see any signs saying I can´t but people are honking at me (including a semi as it drives by - scary!!) so I move forward. And am very glad I didn´t turn because it turns out I was already on the road I wanted to be on. So we´re driving and we miss our turn. Because the signs don´t have road numbers on them - just what town they lead to. I´m not scared yet because we´re still on the Pan American Highway and I can just turn back if I need to. But eventually we need to turn off, so we get off the highway because we think this road will take us where we need to go. At this point my friend has pulled out her Costa Rica book and finds a map that´s not ideal but is great because I failed to bring one with me.
We stop at a restaurant and I ask in my broken Spanish if we´re at the place I think we are, and we are! Then I ask how to get to a different place and he tells me - and I understand!!
We get back on the highway and head for Naranja. We get excited to see a sign for Naranja that says it´s in 10 km. Great!
Miss that turn.
Stop at a mall ask a nice bank security guard for directions to Zarcero, he provides them. We then ask nice police men to verify and we get basically the same directions. I eat a Taco Bell double decker because in the excitement I´ve eaten very little and am shaking from hunger.
We find Zarcero after asking a nice girl on the side of the road where it was. I thought we´d passed it, because there´s so way it would take this long to get there. Nope. Go to the intersection, take a right and we´ll be there in 15 minutes. Awesome!
I have to mention that for a while we´d been climbing the mountains so driving was very slow going and it took a couple of minutes to go one kilometer. And then all of a sudden we´re in Zarcero - yay!! So according to my friend´s map we the next big town is Ciudad Quesada, which just happens to be very, very close to our hotel. With out needing to stop for directions we head there (there was a sign that said Ciudad Quesada 27 km so we stayed on the road we were already on and prepared for a 15 mile drive). The drive was beautiful if not a little scary and slow.
Finally we arrive in a very nice town and know we´ve made it to Quesada. We see signs for every town but the one we want - argh! At the next intersection while we´re still trying to decide which way to go I spot a sign for our hotel - salvation!!!!
It has an arrow pointing to the right and says 15 minutes, 7 km this way. So we turn, and we drive - about six or seven miles! I decide not to freak out until 10 miles, but I don´t need to because the hotel shows up on the left side. And there was much rejoicing!
At one point during the drive I say "this drive is a blog entry all of it´s own" and my friend looks over and replies "you should call it Are We There Yet?" We both laugh, she was great at keeping the mood light when the drive was scary either because of the crazy twists and turns or the fear that we were hopelessly lost.
So today I´ve been up since before four. Parly because I feel asleep before 8:30 and partly because someone used the bathroom this morning and shined the light into our room. Oh well. I´m not all that tired. But I should probably go get dressed for breakfast and get ready for a spa experience and then another awesome ride home!
John - I so appreciate your driving here now, and I appreciate any future driving you´ll most definitely do. ;)