Trip to San Jose

I was in the shower when the room started rocking. Pretty good-sized quake. Just continued to clean up.

Oct. 10, 2010


Think I mentioned that Jack receives this report about the cheapest places to live in the world. Now he’s all hopped up about Thailand. He mentioned Chaing Mai, which I visited in the 90s. Now he’s found that he has $74,000 in an IRA and plans to tap into that so he can spend a month in Thailand next year during the off-season here. He’s even willing to absorb the tax hit for taking the money out early. Thailand was on my short list for relocation but decided it was too far away and the culture change might have been too dramatic, never mind the language thing. He’s got a lot of time to think about it, or to lose steam on the idea. I gather that a lot of the expats here are wanderers like Jack, and me. It’s a typical trait for retirees in America to start exploring – going to U.S. parks/sites, traveling abroad. For some of us, visiting is not enough.  

Do you know the way….

Friday night met Jack for pool at Tabacon. Later we went to a Tico bar nearby that he referred to as a poor man’s Beatle Bar. Turned out to be the bar with four pool tables that I discovered three weeks ago. As soon as we sat down at the bar there was a young woman at our side. She was one of the two Nicaraguans he spent his 59th birthday with. Definitely not my type but she was nice. Then another woman, who said she was 18, came over. By now, I’m thinking Jack has set me up again, but that was not the case. Somewhere during all this, and sipping on a Pilsner, we must have discussed a road trip to San Jose the next morning. I know this because Saturday morning he’s knocking on my door at 9:30. I did not remember the plan and was sleeping in late. Dressed hurriedly and off we went, first stopping at a panderia (bakery) for a snack and coffee, which they made on the spot a la Starbucks. A stop for gas and we were on our way to see if the old highway was open to the capital. The new highway was still closed so we would have to take the more circuitous, filled-with-curves and narrow roads alternative. Traffic was minimal and we made it in about an hour and a half.

First stop was PriceSmart, the Walmart store. Checked out the groceries this time. This place sells like Sam’s Club, with volume offerings. Bought a large jar of dill slices and a large bottle of salad dressing. Can’t find good pickles or honey mustard dressing in Jaco.

Next stop was the mall. Three stories and just like back home. Very crowded, especially the food court, which had McDonald’s (our choice for lunch), KFC, Oriental, and lots of other restaurants. Mall stores were all upscale, including a Cartier. We had two hours to kill before our selected movie would start so did some shopping for some of those things I can’t find in Jaco – shower curtain pole, iron skillet, shorts (I don’t like the new longer styles though), corkscrew, Pyrex casserole dish for microwave cooking. Finally, we went to the theater to see the new Wall street movie. I did the standing in line for tickets and had to wait extra because their computer system went down. Here, you select your seats just like you do when booking a flight online. Price was about $4 per ticket and I think the rates changed based on the seat selection. Diet Coke was 900 colones, or $1.80, for the 16-ouncer (I bought some candy at the grocery just before we went in.)

After the movie we went across the highway to have dinner at Outback, but first we went to the Hooters next door where we had lunch last time we made the trip. Jack wanted to flirt with the waitresses. Had a couple of drinks and met several of the girls, including Barbie, very cute (hot actually), 22 years old and still in school. She wants to be a veterinarian. Outback was a little expensive, about 50% more than what I remember of their prices in the U.S. The rib-eye was about $32, so I opted for country fried chicken, with a baked. Very good. Jack had the ribs. As is usual in this country, the portions were large so we took doggie bags. Of course, Jack made friends with our female bartender and the manager, heaping praise on everyone. He did get some good info from the manager about a shortcut on the highway for our trip home. Got to tell you that the ride there was pretty harrowing at times, and I was a littler nervous about the return trip at night. My job was to make sure Jack didn’t fall asleep, as well as to count the change for the tolls. Return trip was pretty uneventful, though.

About 2bagsandapack

Lifetime journalist, author, magazine editor and publisher, now semi-retired and traveling the world. My plan, after living in Costa Rica for 14 months, was to visit a new country in southern Europe every three months to experience the culture and the challenge of adapting to a new environment, while on a fixed income. That plan was sidetracked when I was offered a job in Indonesia, providing an opportunity to explore Asia. Indonesia lasted for a 4 wonderful years but I have now moved on to Hua Hin, Thailand.
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