In other words, laundry and internet.
20.01.2006 22 °C
After a quick breakfast, Gen, Tina, Ofri and me headed to downtown San Jose to look for ATMs and laundromats. It felt a bit weird carrying a few pounds of dirty clothings on a busy street with sored muscles. Finally, we found a place who only charged 3000 colones for 3 kg ($2/kg) compared to $2 per shirt in our hotel. What a deal!
Overall, San Jose is very much like a small American city with Macdonald, Pizza Hut and KFC everywhere, historic buildings and museo. I felt like I was in the Queens, with a vast majority of people there are hispanic anyway. The bancos here are modern and efficient, reminded me of those in Hong Kong. One thing that really amazed me during this trip - there are plenty of internet cafes everywhere, even in very poor areas. Going online is very cheap and it is very common to see people making phone calls over the internet. Why bother to buy a phone card for $1/min while you can talk for free over the internet and pay only $2/hour to go online. Maybe the fact that not everyone has computer at home explains the popularity of internet cafes. Maybe they are just for tourists. If this is the case, New York City has to lot to catch up. Besides Starbuck, Kinkos and a few other places with wi-fi connections, it's very difficult to find a place just to go online if you don't have a laptop. After an hour of surfing, Tina, Gen and me went shopping on Avenida Central. I bought a new pair of jeans and sandles to reward myself on the volcano hike. We all got what we wanted.
Kristy and Anthony were already waiting for me at the hotel reception. We were supposed to go to our hostel on the far side of Paseo Colon on Calle 40 and Avenida 2. A 2000 Colones taxi ride later, we checked in. I was excited to have a room by myself for the first time. Once we settled, we took another taxi to the Coca Cola bus terminal to look for the La Fortuna bus. After a few wrong stops, we finally found the Atlantico bus terminal and bought our ticket for the next morning.
Getting out of the Coca-Cola area was quite challenging, there were drug addicts 'working' on some corners we passed by. The streets were lined with food or household stores with so many locals that we had to watch every step just to get out of there. After a quick stop at MacDonald, we visited briefly the art and craft market. I picked up my laundry afterwards and walked back to the hotel to join the group for dinner at Newscafe. During dinner, I met the couple in their 60s from New Zealand who just joined our group. How wonderful to have a traveling companion at this age! To grow old together and share your life experience with each other.
Afterwards, the younger bunch decided to check out the night scene. There wasn't much in San Jose. Most clubs are located in San Pedro where the university is. We stopped at an irish pub with the owner self-indulging with his own singing (some country folk/rock songs) and a few American girls embarrassing themselves with their altitude. Gen and I chat in the back of the pub. After a while, it had become apparent that my ear was refusing to listen to the music anymore.
Unfortunately, the cool new lounge I had planned to go in San Pedro was too far. All of us have to get up early. On our way back to the hotel, we found an empty bar with a pool table and sofas. Not a bad place to kill some time with a few games. We settled in.
I would love to spend a few more days to explore this city but tomorrow we are heading to the nature!