Tell you what, jet lag is great for blogging at a time when there's nothing else to do. It's nice not to be in a hurry, what with it being just gone 5am. Yesterday this was not the case, however; the abrupt end to the previous chapter was due to my being in a very great hurry, as we were on a strict schedule.
Before that though, another great breakfast. The hotel has a few other guests but also seems to be used as staff canteen for some local businesses, which if true seems like a pretty decent perk. I went for the tortilla Española and it were lovely.
But then, yes, a hurried shower - without anywhere near as much temperature trouble - and then quickly write up the previous day and out, out, out. Our destination for the day, spoiled in the header photo, was Volcan Poas. Our book and various websites gave us the impression there was only one bus a day, at 9:15am or even 9:00am, so we had to navigate the bus stations and find our place.
First, though, we run into a man asking if we speak English. Says he's just sold all his worldy posessions apart from the stuff in his rucksack - house, guns (he's from Texas), car, etc - and left the USA for the first time in his life. He's had a shitty night in a shitty hostel and is wondering what to do, where to go, etc. He's heard about the bus station, and we're going there so he can join us. Privately we're worried he'll be a bit of a horrible hanger-on, especially when he mentions his credit card got cancelled, but this proves unfounded.
At the bus station we immediately find the bus, already with a fairly decent sized queue despite it not leaving for 40 minutes. The man from Houston - I'm loathe to use his real name, but the only nicknames I can think of are "Whitney" or "We Have A Problem", which seems a bit off - strikes up conversation elsewhere and we shake hands goodbye. He doesn't really want to go see a big hole in the ground, he's starting a new life damn it.
The bus station is not exactly salubrious, but neither is it a bustling chaotic mess that stereotypes of central/southern America (or, for that matter, experience in SE Asia) might lead one to expect. And the queueing makes us feel very comfortable still.
1090 colones each are handed over and we get a seat at the back. Mr Houston gets on the bus anyway, sitting in front of us and saying he's doing it due entirely to a lack of ideas. And then, away we go.
Once we leave central Alajuela we start heading uphill, and continue to do so unabated for over half an hour. There are a few nice views of the valley and some coffee plantations, and after about 300 yards on the flat we head upwards again. And then it stays like that. Apart from the odd small bridge over creeks, we're driving uphill for another hour. Speed bumps seem sensible on the other lane but not on ours.
With a few kilometres to go there's a 15 minute stop, which gives Helen time to vape, both of us the chance to take photos of a scruffy cat, and Houston the chance to get scare stories from another, taller, American man who is dishing out advice like "use TripAdvisor", "don't put your bags down for even a second", and saying something about having visited a Shaman. I'll call him Shaman Jim.
We're back at Alajuela before we know it. Well, no, we're back exactly when we know it. The hostellers are deep in conversation so we scoot off without so much as a goodbye, and walk back to the hotel. There's dancing going on in the main square, for no obvious reason that some people like to play music and others like to dance. It's nice. Not one person is taking photos and neither of us want to be That Person.
Back at the hotel I have a warm beer and a late equaliser, as we avenge Coventry's 90+6 earlier in the season with a 90+3 of our own. Game sounded shit though.
We head back out at about 5pm and this time think of eating in the local vegan place, but it's shut, so opt again for Jalapeños Central. Different food to yesterday: a Super Taco and an enchilada. Also cheesecake.