February 25th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
San Jose, Costa Rica – the picture is fuzzy, but the sign on the left says Hotel Managua, where we stayed

Decided priority no. 1, among many high priorities, was to have breakfast, then find another hotel.  Breakfast was easily dealt with, in a cheap café we’d passed last night, where they served splendid fried eggs, + the most magnificent banana milk-shake.  Then, after much asking, were able to find the Tourist Info. Centre, to help us find a hotel, as well as supply us with other useful addresses for the day’s business – our lack of success in Managua left it all to be done now.  It seemed, however, that the lady in Tourism over-valued our wallets, because she directed us to some very expensive hotels.  However, we found one on our own, near the market, cheap + cheerful.

Next, American Express.  We’d decided to “lose” Val’s travellers’ cheques, so as to obtain some more – not for fraudulent purposes, you understand, but useful perhaps for entering countries who are over-fastidious about letting in paupers.  Some form-filling, of course, + then they told us to return in the afternoon.  Visited the market, where I bought a very cheap leather belt.  The exchange rate is such that Costa Rica is incredibly cheap for us, tho’ very expensive for the locals.  Wandered around a little, + down to the Red Cross, hoping to be able to get a jab for Yellow fever, but they weren’t able to help.  Back at AmEx, they told us we had to wait 8 days for the cheques – a blow, but we weren’t really in a position to argue… or change our mind.

Bought 2 MCOs for Central Am airlines – I only hope they’re as good as they promise, + the things can be used anywhere.  Put some films in to be developed, + changed some money – it’s crazy!  The official rate here is about 8 or 9 colones to the dollar, but you can get 42 anywhere!  We bought some cheap wine, which we drank in our room – it was revolting, but had the desired effect, since Val at least was very drunk, giggling + telling me stories all the way thro’ our dinner, a very cheap meal in a café (I couldn’t eat half of mine – I think it was the wine’s fault.)  Then we went to see “Tess”, which we enjoyed, tho’ with some reservations.

Hmm – not sure what I feel about our travellers’ cheque scam now.  Not with any fraudulent intent, I claim, but of course it was fraud, all the same, even though we regarded it as a sensible bureaucratic procedure at the time.  And it did come back to bite us, changing what we had imagined to be a very short visit to Costa Rica into an eight-day stay.  And I am a little puzzled why we were investing in MCOs, when they seemed to offer little more than the money they cost.  But I cannot account for our actions so long agol.

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