February 24th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Nicaraguan cordobas – with apologies for the quality of the picture

Up with the lark, packed, + on our way.  Well, we had a long way to go, heading all the way to San Jose in Costa Rica.  We didn’t even stop for breakfast, tho’ not really from choice – we just didn’t pass anywhere that was open.  However, with quite remarkable efficiency we immediately located our first bus of the day, which whisked us direct to the bus terminal we’d arrived at, where we immediately switched to bus no. 2 – perhaps we were getting the hang of this bus lark after all.  The second bus took us to Rivas, towards the south of Nicaragua, where – yes, correct – we changed buses.  No. 3 took just a little while coming, enabling us to buy a loaf of bread for our breakfast, + turned out to be a converted pick-up truck, with wooden benches.  An hour’s windy ride, + we were at the frontier.

We had been warned, both by passing travellers + their own Tourist office, that Nicaragua imposed a 100c levy for leaving the country, so when we found a money-changer, offering an appalling rate of exchange (tho’ better than the official) we changed $10 worth.  And were then rather peeved when we were dismissed from Nicaragua without them requiring a penny.  So, spent some of our ill-gotten cordobas on a couple of tasty, tho’ not sufficiently cooked, hamburgers, + thus fortified, prepared to enter Costa Rica.

Was rather worried when the Costa Rican border guard seemed to be asking for $150 – ah, he only wanted to see it.  The Costa Rican border post very modern, very efficient – they whisked us thro’ pretty promptly, even taking the trouble to blood-test us + whop 4 anti-Malaria pills down our throats.  We then changed some money with one of the flock of black-market guys there, operating quite openly under the full view of the officials, + whiled away some time in their cafeteria, waiting for our bus.

A long, tho’ reasonably comfortable ride to San Jose, tho’ travelling does tire you out.  We arrived pretty well shagged at about 8.30 pm, took the first hotel we came across – a real dive, + expensive, as we later discovered – then strolled a little, to get some air.  I saw, I fell – they had a McDonalds there, + I indulged myself.  I apologise.  Horrible places, but I like them.

Little to comment on today, apart from the patchy way one received information from wherever one could get it, and its unreliability as a result.  And we submitted cheerfully enough, I imagine, to them sticking needles and tablets into us; it was not as though they gave us a lot of choice.  And apologies for falling for the dubious attraction of McDonalds; even in England, they were relatively exotic at this time, and did provide, at least, certainty.

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