After Manzanillo it was time to start the trek to Dominical. I planned to take a pit stop in San Jose to get some necessary items….. Sneakers and bathing suit. I have to admit I was a little afraid as I have heard horror stories of robberies and thefts and avoided the city last year. This year I am feeling more courageous and more desperate for certain items I couldn‘t get anywhere else. I arrived in San Jose and had planned to go to a hostel that is well known among backpackers. When I found a cab driver he insisted I wouldn’t like it. I am not sure why but he said in very good English “ trust me you won’t like….. I’ll take you somewhere you like better more nicer and quieter” I was skeptical but said ok. I reasoned that in the worst case I’d wasted four dollars. I arrived at the hostel and it was PERFECT. How did he know?! Really mellow and a beautiful building. It is in the home of an ex-president of Costa Rica. The hostel is called 1110 http://www.hostel1110.com it had an amazing courtyard and was incredibly homey!! One of my favorite places so far….. Have I said that before J Well I mean it this time too!!!! Have I just been lucky or are all of the hostels in Costa Rica AMAZING?! I think I’ve been lucky!
So I stayed in the dorm and it was great. I met a fantastic woman who lives in the dorms while teaching English in a few local schools. I don’t know how she does it with all of the different people in and out every day but she seemed relatively unaffected by it. We had great conversations about the paths we take when life turns us around. She had several losses including a sister, a house and a husband which lead her to realize happiness is not about what you have but your ability to persevere. I had definitely found a kindred spirit and shared my own story of health concerns and losses but also of perseverance. Even if for a while all you can bare to do is breath and most of the time you don‘t even want to do that. It can be as simple and as difficult breathing in and out. No feats of strength or Herculean heroics just breath through the pain ad fear and you will come out the other end. It was a very unlikely friendship but by the time I left I was sad to go.
At the hostel, I also met a delightful British girl who was having romantic problems. My specialty!! Since my love life is non-existant it is always great fun to live vicariously through others without the wear and tear on my own heart. We walked around the city and discussed men and love and sex and how they don’t always mesh quite the way we’d like them to. She joined me on a trip to the post office so I could unload some of my CRAP. My bag was getting altogether too heavy time to lighten up. When we got there the woman behind the counter opened my bags and went through every article of clothing, book and unmentionable I was sending home in front of EVERYONE at the post office. Then she sent me to another counter with some teenagers who referred to us as celebrities. They said I was the divine Ms. Alicia Keys and my friend was the British Avril Levine…. could have been worse!
For the record: San Jose got a bad deal. It isn’t nearly as bad as people say. I had nothing but great experiences there. Yes it is dirty and grubby…. I prefer to call it earthy…. but come on folks…it is a developing nation! I loved it there and as always the people of costa rica were very kind and welcoming! So if you are passing through San Jose on your way to somewhere more beautiful don’t run away too fast . The city does have a few redeeming qualities.