We go to our hotel’s bar to watch the end of the superbowl. As Sandy sits down at the bar, a loud, fat American woman says “Well, huh. Sitting right in front of us. That’s just great.” So we turn to their table, which is the fat woman, her husband, and a young man who might be their son, and ask, “are we blocking you?” The young man says, “Oh, no! It’s fine.” Sandy says, “Really? You can see?” and they guy says, “No, not really” and sighs. Later, the fat woman is heard to tell a story that ends, “and that’s the last time I’LL go smelt fishing.”
Our tour guide at Teatro Nacional cannot stop speaking. She is high on coffee or possibly crystal meth and she is freaking us the hell out. She speaks so fast her words become a blur and all I can tell you about the Teatro Nacional is that “it is the best of the best of the center of the center of the country of Costa Rica which is Pura Vida and here is a painting and watch her eyes will follow you around the room Pura Vida and have cup of coffee which is the best of the best and the cheapest of the cheapest Pura Vida hope you had a great great great great time Pura Vida bye.”
We go to ask the front desk clerk about tours from the hotel. She is sitting at the pay phone talking to someone, and instead of hanging up, she asks her friend to hang on and talks to us with the phone cradled in her lap, sitting on a bench. Tour number one: “Oh, that one’s just for cruise boats.” Tour number two: “That one isn’t very interesting.” Tour number three: “Yeah, you can go if you want.” Tour number four: “I’m not really sure if we do that one anymore.” Who leads the tours? “I do.
Ursula and Ron are from Canada. They are in their 60s, and they’re having a great time. Ron wants to talk about his camera. Ursula wants to talk about really anything, as long as you’ve got a lot of time. So, unfortunately for me, while Sandy gets to share photos with Ron, I get the horrifically long version of how big box stores are changing the face of retail shopping in Canada. Ursula works for Sears. Later, I am treating to precise driving instructions in case Sandy and I ever want to drive from Maine to Newfoundland. Seriously, she gave me highway numbers.
We are renting snorkeling equipment. Do we need a guided tour? “Nah. Just walk over to the radio tower and then swim out for a while and you’ll find the reef.” It’s been raining a lot—will visibility be ok? “Sure!” Any dangers we should know about? “Nope.” What should we expect to see out there? “Fish and coral!” We’ve never been snorkeling before, any advice? “Just swim around for a while. It’ll be fine.” So, can we leave our car parked by the restaurant? “NO!! EVERYTHING WILL BE STOLEN!!”