The airport was some way out of town so the pick up was most welcome, as was the supermarket stock up for provisions. As I had to give up anything enjoyable food wise ahead of the retreat, meat, spice, salt, cheese, most carbs it made sense to cook at home anyway. Home for three days was a high ceilinged somewhat dark house (due to vegetation and the green netting at the fence to stop people noseying in). Everything worked, even if it had a bit of the bodger and badgers about it – e.g. best not lean on the sink, as not secured, never quite got the hang of that, 3 gas rings but only one worked, the tiling was done by a blind man with a spoon, but mere details and although set by the road it felt safe and calm.
There’s one road in and out of Manuel Antonio, with restaurants and accommodation branching off of it. Like any other place serving tourists it feels a bit soulless, transient, although people feel genuinely friendly. The Costa Rican saying of Pura Vida, ‘pure life’ is a way of being and it shows up through the lack of overt pushy hustle, the relaxed yet getting things done way of working.
Inigo had pointed out the bus stop where the bus to the national park and beach went from for about 50p. Lots of windy roads, no footpaths, and a lot of hills so best to take the bus. Having showered and changed I decided to be a twat and walk it. Then stopped for lunch after a few mins at a falafel place which turned out to be the no.1 restaurant here. It was more fell-a-flat than falafel, 3 chickpea balls floating in a sea of bland ooo-moose and oil. The pita was so spongy I should have been using it to wash dishes. Second sad meal of the day. I cried silently, inside. On the plus side my guts were no longer trumpeting their woes to the world.
I meandered my way down, and down, and down toward the beach, all the time thinking…I’ve go walk back up later, naaah, I’ll get the bus, naaah, I’ll walk, I’ll die, bus…bus.’ Seeing no end in sight, I finally cut through a hostel grounds, and I reached a fairly deserted and overcast beach. As to where the bus stop might be, I’d seen a random couple waiting on the road at a random spot, but with no bus stop sign(par for the course, everyone just ‘knows’ where the bus will stop) timetable or bus clues I wasn’t 100% sure.
After an hour of contorting myself into various uncomfortable positions to read, I thought I may as well head back to the ranch and read in comfort.
No signs of life at the place where randoms had been, so I decided to walk. Five minutes in and I’m panting like a paedo in a playground, but too late, I’m on my way heading up, and up, and up. I’m red faced and sweating as any pudgy unfit Northern European unused to exercise or heat would be. I staggered on, watching buses going down, and buses going up. The only safe side to walk on was the side where the buses were going down so no chance of even accidentally finding a bus stop en route. What doesn’t kill you just fucks up your calves, and the main thing was that I’d achieved – I achieved sweaty redness, out of breathedness, pain and a much needed shower. Not doing that again.