After saying goodbye to hostel life and amazing homies I found myself leaving Uvita, vomiting the previous night’s party into a bag and darting glances from the old man across the isle. My next stop was Nicaragua, where I planned to finally do some Spanish courses and stop embarrassing myself with my artful butchering of the wonderful language. I spent two cool days in San Jose, one at a hostel that seemed like someone’s house, full of university students, and one at one of the most popular hostels in San Jose, Hostel Pangea. The first was quite cozy and intimate, with nice people, but out of town and very quite. I preferred the latter. They have a rooftop bar and a pool, enough said. Once the security guard pokes his eyes through the peephole and you enter the iron gates, trancey beats and trippy wall art welcome you into the backpacker-esque atmosphere of Pangea. The sky was gray and slightly spitting when I arrived, laying a sleepy layer over the hostel and the city. As I had discovered the night before, San Jose was cold. Cold of course compared to the sweltering jungle heat of Uvita, not cold enough to keep me out of the pool though. A friendly lad by the pool offered to share his sushi, but being in a new city I was too excited to take a solo walk to the grocery store. There is just something about strolling the isles of foreign grocery stores that is like being in an art gallery, shelves full of colors and new-ness. Perhaps it was the gray sky, the iron bars everywhere or bustling pace of the city people, or a combination, but the vibe I was feeing made me walk swiftly. I practiced my poor Spanish on the cashier as I paid for my gallo pinto and fruit. My next plan of action was purchasing a ticket to Granada, Nicaragua, where I planned to get schooled in Espanol. The friendly Tico fellow at the front desk finished work and we walked to the ticket office through the busy streets of San Jose. New shops, new faces, all different yet all sharing the bond of existing in the world together. San Jose is actually one of the only places I feel was similar to how I expected it. He told me about his university and thoughts and home outside the city and I felt my heart filled again with an ever-living pool of wonder and gratitude. As the clouds forecasted, the rain began, and we waited under the shelter of the ticket office for it to calm down, watching people come and go in the rain, my friend waved to a guy on rollerskates busting through a deep puddle. Bus ticket purchased, I returned to the Pangea ready to relax, wandered to the scenic rooftop bar and made some friends. Other than the unenthused bartender who I found particularly entertaining, the rootop bar was a fun atmosphere with a great view and served really good food! This turned into a long evening of enthusiastic chatter and stories and plans, excitement of memories and what adventures have yet to come. Later on a friend from Uvita showed up, as those things happen so often while travelling. Some other features of the hostel include computers available for use, a movie room and luggage storage in the day, a great place to stay if you go through San Jose for a night or two.
The next morning, cruising through silent San Jose streets I got to see the city as a skeleton, when it’s heart beat is slow and rythm still sleeping, the surrounding mountains watching cooly. My cab driver asked me where I was going and advised me to watch my belongings carefully, and I was comforted by his concern and friendliness. Long bus ride to Granada. here I come. Like most, I’m not a huge fan of crossing borders as it is, and this time in particular, realizing I had overtayed my visa in Costa by a month and not having proof of leaving Nicaragua, it was quite difficult to keep my mind from conujuring up numerous unpleasant situations in the purgatory of the bus. My heart raced as I approached the immigration desk with an auto-smile, hoping that I, would buffer whatever was coming. Next thing I knew I was back on the bus, a successful border crossing and in fact one of the easiest. Two obvious lessons here, don’t worry too much, but please first make sure you know when your shit expires, ya rookie. Next stop, Granada!
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