Tuesday, December 4, 2007

On November 13th of 2007, my wife Liliya and I began our trip to Costa Rica. It is perhaps a misnomer when I define my activities in Costa Rica as a trip. It is in fact a job. I have been hired as the new Marketing and Communications Director for Costa Rica Rain Forrest Outward Bound (CRROBS).

Our trip began early in the morning. Flying out of Minneapolis, MN we had stops in Chicago and Dallas before we made it to San Jose International Airport in Costa Rica (SJO by the airport code).

Getting through the airport was easy enough. The line formed, and went way back. There was a wide variety of foreigners passing through immigration, ranging in age from late eighties to several days, and appearances ranging from the very scruffy to the sparkly clean cut. My wife and I probably would have looked more towards the scruffy side; we had been traveling for over 12 hours when we submitted our passports to the immigration official.

Costa Rica has a relationship with the United States, which means that you can get your three month travel Visa upon arrival. My wife who is from Kazakhstan, and holds their light blue passport, would normally have had to apply ahead of time. However under new laws Costa Rica will accept a traveler so long as they have a valid visa to the US, Canada or EU. So she was allowed entrance with no problem as well.

After claiming our luggage we stepped into the nigh air. There was a pick up arranged, but in the crowd of Taxi drivers, we had trouble seeing our CRROBS drivers. Speaking little Spanish, and not enough to politely refuse the services of a luggage jockey, he loaded our belongings on his cart, and politely waited for us to lead him to a car or taxi.
Luckily our CRROBS drivers, Orlando and Mauricio, found us and took us to the truck.

At this point our devoted luggage jockey followed us to the truck. It seems no one in Costa Rica is really that adept at being rude, and a proper tip for a service I didn't really want or need seemed elusive to my mind. I handed the gentleman some change which was probably about 700 Colones, or just over a dollar.

Cruising down San Jose, at night was exhilarating. We had made it to our destination, luggage and documents intact on our way to the CRROBS base.

To be Continued….

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