Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Should I rent a car on arrival at SJO

Well someone wanted to fly in one evening and drive 4 hours to Uvita.

"We will be arriving this Saturday around 7:00Pm and will be driving to Dominical after picking up the rental car.  Which is the fastest route to take and how long should it take? "

This topic falls under another famous discussion on the idea of Costa Rican "standard deviation" or this one about "standard timeframe" when it came to standard timeframe for getting permissions to build a house viz:

Um Jim . . ."standard timeframe" . . . . "standard" and "timeframe" are two words not used much here on their own . . . and when co-joined at the hip they have never been used - well except today :-))

For your plan plan, you need to have a friend who is an architect, so all in all this will take longer. There are no end times here, only beginnings. Again as I mentioned earlier where you do this deed will have a huge effect on it's viability and timeframe. People who live in Escazu think it works one way, people who live in P Jimenez think it works another.

Berni, In Alajuela where it rarely works (and never the way you expected) but when it does you are thankful

Anyway - getting back to the "after dark" arrival at SJO airport . . .this is how we do it:

. . . as you arrive a huge temporada baja storm will be passing by causing you to circle the airport for an hour while the pilot debates should he/she bypass to Panama. If the pilot is Latin American he at some point will get bored and will dunk down and land as quickly as possible. If he/she is a gringo airline carrier they will wait for a bit at least until the large spikes of electricity are at least 1km off the runway.

The plane will be late. So will 4 other planes that all now land simultaneously dumping 500 people into passport control simultaneously. An hour or two later you will squirt through to baggage and one of your party will insist they need a chip from Kolbi for their locked non quad band Verizon super phone that is guaranteed to work everywhere except Costa Rica. Your baggage will be scanned and discovered to contain a jar of peanuts which will cause a long discussion in Spanglish delaying you further. You will exit the terminal finally and be jumped on by 20 idiots with big smiles and eye patches, tri-cornered hats, parrots etc yelling "Pura Vida, I have your car/taxi/boat/hotel" (whatever it is you may have mumbled a moment ago to the pushy baggage handler guy you just wrestled back your luggage from).

Your guy from Yahoo Rentacar will not be among the hoard of guys you now notice have earrings, facial scars and peg legs. You find a sympathetic person who loans you a phone (as your Verizon clearly cannot work and no chips are to be found). You call the Yahoos and they say they did not expect you any more and nobody is available. You spot JoSchmos Rentacar guy and grab him and beg him for a car - he says sure I have an excellent Lada 4WD in red I can bring you to in 2 minutes. You are soooo thankful you forget to ask him "what exactly is a Lada?" He would have replied if you had asked, "the perfect car for the steep hills behind Uvita and it is only $20 a day to you."

Around midnight you are in the back lot of a darkened bar on the back airport road trying to stuff your bags and offspring in the non existent trunk of the little Lada and asking why the car rental is $145 a day. Jo Schmo tells you it is a government problem and you have to pay the full insurance too. He tells you this with a slightly hostile air implying you should have known about crazy rental insurance in Costa Rica.

Around 1am you are set. But you have a stupid rentacar map which seemingly shows there are only 3 roads in all of Costa Rica, there are no street lights, there is not a single sign to be found and it is a moonless night.

Your spouse is yelling, the offspring are crying as you discover you managed to drive in a complete circle during the last 20 minutes.

Now to be serious for a minute . . . I have a map . . . it shows you how to navigate from the airport to Hghway 27. I can email it to you. It is a little complicated and requires you can recognize a football field and "Super La Garita" on a possibly moonless night as there is not one single sign between you and the "fastest route". You can't make this stuff up.

Other than the roads with drop offs there is one more hazard to this night time adventure - there are 3 toll booths between you and your destination. They want "colones" BUT you have already been advised by your friends in Uvita not to use the cambio booths in the airport as they charge a frightening exchange rate?

This simple bit of data will not be of much help as your spouse yells at you "they want 600 *****G colones, what were you thinking they would want."

OK sorry couldn't help it - most of these things happened to me at some point,
Berni
in Alajuela



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