We are now official drivers in Costa Rica.On August 19th we caravanned with our friends, Michal and Andres (thank goodness for friends!), to our capital city, San Jose, to obtain our driverís licenses. Andres was in need of renewing his and the plan was to hopefully teach us how to get around this city.After dropping off Michal and their almost 2year old son Irie at the hotel where we would be spending the night (you donít want to drive that mountainous road back in the dark!!) and where they would join up later with Andresí siblings that were arriving that day from Guatemala and Israel, we were back on the road maneuvering the Rodeo in this very congested and confusing city.

 

As mentioned in an earlier update, with no road signs or street names to guide us, we quickly learned that paying attention to landmarks along the way was the trick to understanding this city. Through Andresí guidance we discovered that bordering the city is a highway (there are two lanes going in both directions, most of the time) with major Roundabouts, each having three or four off shoot streets that dispersed into the heart of the city.

 

At Roundabout Three (by the big globe fountain) and then the third off shoot street (by the McDonalds, yes McDonalds) we pulled into what appeared to be a small gated parking lot. There is no way we would have found this place by ourselves!The process then started in the tiny shack that we thought was the guardhouse for the lot. Here we met with a doctor who in a very simple manner tested our vision, reflexes, hearing, blood pressure, strength, and range of motion. After paying 4000 colones ($10) each, which included parking, we were ready for phase two.

 

With our approved medical certificate in hand and Xerox copies of our CA driver licenses and passports, we crossed the street to the white building with the blue trim. After getting our papers stamped and approved by the Manager and then only spending a few minutes in the same line as Andres, we were guided by one of the security guards to the proper line, the line for new drivers. To our surprise and pleasure this was actually a shorter line than Andresí. In certain situations it does come in handy to stick out from all the rest. It took no time at all to meet with the employee who did the data entry from our paper work, pay the fee (4000 colones =$10) at the bank counter (there was actually a bank inside this place), get our picture taken, and then receive our new Costa Rica drivers license. (See fotos). Weíre good to drive for the next two years.

 

Back on the crazy roads (Kurt was amazing dealing with the stress of the confusing traffic) we headed to Hiper Mas (prounounced Ēper Mas), a mega shopping complex, where we were scheduled to meet up with Andresí family and do some serious shopping. And serious shopping is what we did! Having sold almost everything and what we didnít is being stored in Goleta at our friend Ericís house waiting for shipment in October, we needed it all! After filling up two large shopping carts with such items as sheets, dish set, cooking set, drinking glasses, clothes basket, a phone, anda coffee maker (a must with all this great local coffee!) we were in need of only one more item, a very important and essential item, a washing machine. Being here for almost a month and doing only undies in the sink, we wanted that machine in a bad way!

 

Once again our friends came through for us by negotiating a slightly dinged floor model for half price. We were stoked to be getting a new machine for 70,000 colones ($158). Then our friends truly shined for us when they arranged delivery for the machine from the store to Vegas Transport in San Jose, who would then delivery the machine to us over and through the mountains to Esterillos Oeste. Hiper Mas wanted to charge $150 for delivery, whereas Vegas charges 6000 colones ($13). Thanks Michal!!!

 

Our machine was to arrive on Saturday, August 21st, the day after we were to have moved into the 3 bedroom rental house. Unfortunately, we didnít move on the 20th as the house was not ready (no surprise there!) and the machine hadnít arrived. We then called (Michal again!!) Hiper Mas and Vegas to find out actually where our machine was and discovered that it hadnít been delivered to Vegas yet, but would by Monday for a noon delivery. WellÖ.we finally moved into the house around 4 pm on Monday, the 23rd (it was finally ready and there was a break in the rain, so we went for it!), but no machine in sight that day. On Tuesday, Michal called again and was told that it would be there in manana (in the morning). Yeah right, Iíve heard that before, but we were still hopeful. Later that same day, we learned that the road from the city to the coast has been blocked by truckers and taxi drivers protesting the high tax on new vehicles and the high demands on older vehicles passing an emission inspection. All hope of that machine being here on Wednesday quickly faded.

 

Thursday morning we regained hope when we heard that buses were finally getting through to the city, so we waited in the house and watched every delivery truck on the street below that went by on its way to restock the Supermarket across from the La Sirena Hotel. Remember our address is 50 meters north of the La Sirena Hotel. By 1:00 pm Kurt headed to Michal and Andresí to have them call about our mystery machine once again. While waiting for a return call from Vegas on the delivery status, Andres and Kurt noticed a truck drive by that just said Delivery. Figuring it wouldnít hurt to check it out, Kurt walked down the hill to the truck and to our delight it was Vegas and they had our machine!! Oh, what a glorious sight that was seeing Kurt walking back to our place with a delivery truck following behind him.

 

Now itís a load a day as our clothes line space is limited. But we have no where to go as we are now waiting for the phone company to arrive to install a phone line within the 15 days that they said they would.

 

Pura Vida.