Costa Rica, Part 4
|One last drive through Santa Elena. This time we turn towards Tilarán. We're taking a route that parallels Lago Arenal instead of dropping immediately back to the Pan American Highway through the construction road closures.|
However, we alredy knew that this route was not paved for a third of its distance. A fine selection of potholes for our inspection.
As compensation, this route stays high on the ridges and snakes through increasingly drier fields with bits of forest.
|... and (not-so) wildlife.|
|9km before Tilarán we met pavement again. From Tilarán we turned left to drop back down to the lowlands near the Pacific coast|
|In the city of Las Cañas, we grocery-shopped and then hopped on to Highway 1, the Pan American Highway, heading northwest. Traffic is moderate and mostly headed towards Liberia, the biggest city in the north.|
|But we're heading for Guayabo, which meant we turned off at Bagaces. We don't know how small Guayabo would be so we filled up with gas and had lunch at Bagaces' Pollolandia. (it turned out that Guayabo also had a Pollolandia, but we never ate at it)|
|Highway 164 north to Guayabo and onward is paved. Lava pierced by the road cuts reminds us that ...|
|... we're going up the valley between 2 volcanos.|
Volcán Miravalles on the right (east) and...
... cloud-shrouded Rincón de la Vieja, with its foothills full of windmills, on the left (west). Neither peak cleared completely during the week we were there.
|After a bit of a search we found the proper driveway ...|
... and our cozy palace.
Mary Loly's "Wood Experience" on AirBnb.
|Hot water in the kitchen|
|There was a fun lichen-and-dried-flowers 3-d art piece on the wall in the kitchen area.|
|And a real shower!|
|plus a (cold water) laundry. The large sink has handy for really cleaning our new plastic boots before packing them in our luggage.|
|Some grand trees flanking the driveway (yes, it's windy)|
|The driveway was shared with a few apartments and truck parking.|
|The side yard was amazing.|
We spent hours watching the birds and ...
|... across the fence was a Finca. It provided grand views of the weather (with windmills).|
|The great-tailed grackles (and jays) often hang out across the back fence.|
|On the north side the neighbor was planting his field efficiently using a planting stick. Poke hole, drop in seed, repeat. He probably doesn't have a sore back from bending over all day like Karen has when planting seeds.|
|Indoors we had a resident gecko in the bathroom
(and a second one in the laundry, but he hid too quickly to photograph)
... and a spider about 2 inches across, hiding under the towels.
Not shown are the mosquitoes. When Karen got here she had 3 bites total from the first 3 weeks. After the first night here she had over 30. By patching the screens, stuffing paper towels in the warped screen frames and keeping the door to the bathroom shut (the wall seal to the corrugated roof didn't exist) we managed to solve the problem by the third night.
|Outside were several abandoned wasp's nests|
and one occupied.
We saw more birds in the back yard than on the whole rest of the trip. Flycatchers
|We think this is the same species|
|Great-tailed grackles. Very loquacious. One could duplicate a truck back-up alarm perfectly.|
|The females are brown like the one on the right.|
|In the evening they would hang out in a tree at the back fence.|
|The hummingbird was always in the cactus flowers in the afternoon.|
|The azure-hooded jays were more colorful than the brown jays of Monteverde. Quite elegant looking with crown and ...|
|... necklace but just as squawky.|
|The motmot spent time both on the ground and ...|
|... in the tree where he was surprisingly hard to see for such a colorful bird.|
|The pigeons would coo most of the day.|
|A flock of anis came through (note the beak)|
|... and a trio of spot-bellied bobwhites.|
|Turkey vultures like we have in the US,|
|... with these juveniles perched in the tree over the house. We also saw two other species but not in the yard (King vultures have an underwing pattern is that is the reverse of the turkey and black vultures have a white bar at the end of each wing).
Vultures would pass over our yard and dive for prey in the adjoining Finca.
|Besides the semi-resident dog and a cat or two, there were squirrels. He looks cute here but ...|
|... here he is about to jump on the metal roof and run across it. Not so cute when you are trying to sleep. How can something so small make such a heavy thump followed by an avalanche of sound running up one side of the roof and down the other?|
|Most days we would walk into town.
Guayabo is really a very nice town ... its main business district is about 1 km long, which made it "just right" as a stroll when we needed something. Not too small (three decent-sized grocery stores, a number of small convenience-sized ones), not too large (i.e. walkable).
The next few photos are some of the sights...
|Nearly across from our driveway were the Cabinas Primavera ... with a rather pink attempt at pre-Columbian statuary.|
|The south-end-of-town bus stop, eventually leading to Liberia via Bagaces.
The sign says that the rivers and volcanos provide more than 80% of Costa Rica's power.
|A house and garden with over-the-top statuary. Hidden among the plants were many more smaller creatures.|
|On the other side of the street this pony would occasionally appear beneath the coconuts.|
|The Pitburgesa burger and hot-plate joint we ate at on the last day.|
|Then came our most frequent stop: "Comidas Rapidas Chema". We hit it every day to satisfy Karen's daily coffee ice-cream cone addiction.|
|The church ...|
|... with always open door (sometimes decorated for a wedding).|
|The cell towers behind the ICE (Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad) office. Our Guayabo house had no wi-fi but the good cell coverage handled our needs.|
|Like many of us, Guayabo hadn't quite taken down all of their Christmas decorations yet.... we were particularly charmed by these Candy Canes made of painted and stacked tops of plastic bottles.|
|Across the street was a typical assortment of stores. The one on the right (light blue) is a Liberia: books and student supplies. Next came Musi, a small grocery, bakery outlet, cold drinks and packaged ice cream shop. On the floor above the Musi is the town's Chinese restaurant. Then the "m express" is an appliance, furniture, tires and bicycle shop. Finally the un-named opening on the left leads to a real bakery.|
|The pharmacy staff was very helpful and patient with our halting Spanish (unfortunately Karen reacted to the cream purchased to soothe the mosquito bites)|
|At the north end of town (just before the bridge) sits Sotavento. Just as we'd been lucky in our two previous locales, we found a restaurant that served good food that Karen could safely eat. Dick could more broadly explore their menu.
Our second day in Guayabo was a Saturday... and half of the town was shut, including most of the restaurants. It turned out everybody was down in Bagaces for the "Verano Toreado": the summer(?) bull-riding rodeo (YouTube clip). But Sotavento was open, had a good menu, and we ate there. We returned twice more during our stay.
Their menu explained that they coined the word "Sotavento" from the Latin subtus (beneath) and ventus (wind). Sotavento means "the sector opposite from where the wind blows in relation to a certain point". No wonder the bar was always well-populated...
|Our first morning we headed northwest to the Pailas unit of the Rincón de la Vieja National Park|
|How to keep your load from bouncing out ot the back on the bumpy road|
|We were quite surprised to find the road was paved almost all the way to the park. It climbed the ridge that had the wind farm. Speaking of farms, we spotted the cow-in-road symbol...|
|... and they were. Climbing the other side of the ridge was this herd. A motorcycle was pushing them, but the last cow is looking for the ...|
... (wait for it...) ...
... cowboys following well behind.
(You did notice that the GPS in the previous picture totally failed to mention "cattle"?)
A bit further along we spotted this sign.
But, unlike the cows, the animals advertised didn't suddenly appear.
|We decided the road paving was probably done to help get the windmills up into the hills.
Unlike the long-bladed windmills we encountered on the roads of South Africa, these had much shorter blades. Perhaps about 50 feet. Perhaps for higher winds?
|At the Rincón de la Vieja National Park we got to photograph the map. We were asked which paths we intended to take (some went to other park gates many kilometers away).|
|We had a look at the model
(we were going to be taking the yellow loop)
|and the display of critters in bottles that made up the museum area|
|This is one of Costa Rica's 20 poisonous snakes...|
|This small one probably isn't poisonous ...|
... but the labeling was not at all clear...
"Salsa Chunky Suave"??
|We dutifully read the sign...|
|and walked off into the woods.|
|We found big trees in various stages of being encased in fig roots.|
|Little orange milkweed flowers,|
|the red hybiscus that never really opens...|
|And passionflower leaves of a kind Karen had not seen before.|
|The habitat was getting drier but there was still water in the stream|
|As the trail moved out into the open, we saw a puff of steam in the distance|
|There were lumps of lava in the grassy spaces (maybe vegetation can't deal with the occasional hot ground?)|
|Most of the plants had thorns and spikes|
|The epiphytes tended to be cactus.|
|The gold tree we had seen in the lowlands|
|The pink tree: looks like a legume|
|Yellow flowers that look like fat pipecleaners|
|... and other yellow and purple flowers speak of more insect pollinators (red flowers are often a sign they are bird pollinated: insects don't see red well)|
|But there were still some red ones|
Don't step off the path
"Temperature range from 192 F to 248 F"
|The guidebooks are quick to mention those who have gone wandering and have been parboiled. Iceland had similar signage.|
|New signs marked each scenic side-path.
|Yes, it was windy|
|"Pails of Water"??|
|Bubble, bubble, boil and bubble....
(with more than a hint of sulfur in the air)
|"Pails of Mud"|
|Squirting hot mud...|
|plop, plop sounds of bubbling mud|
|... a quite active pool...|
|A few moments in the trees between hot spots...|
|"Small Volcano" (affectionate)|
|Up the steps to...|
|the "small volcano": a steaming pit of rocks|
|Very busy steam being whipped by the wind...|
|... steam drifting by in the forest...|
|... as we come to a fenced overlook...|
|Roiling boiling clear water instead of the previous mud pots...|
|Circling back into the more forested area, we came across an agouti poking around in the leafy debris...|
|... trying to keep him in frame...|
|Hey, he's hanging around long enough to kick the camera into video mode....|
|... up the trail a bit...|
|were these lovely peaceful falls...|
|Oh, well.... that's it for geothermal features on this loop, we head back through the forest to some more amazing figs|
|Do you get the faintest impression that's Karen's a big fan of butressed root systems?|
|Here's a cross section: you can see where the host tree had been.|
|Buttressed roots help hold against the wind|
|Overhead there's a goose-sized bird (crested guan), walking along the branches...|
|... munching something|
... as were the monkeys.
As we were walking along the trail, we heard a distant sound. Another hundred feet along the trail allowed us to locate the source... this Howler Monkey high in a tree, sounding his call. Eventually other monkeys in the distance answered. Our still camera took the photo, our cell phone served to capture the audio...
|Finally we met a lizard that posed long enough for a photo.|
|Returning to the park's building, we encountered the local lawnmowers.|
|We reported that we had returned so they could check us off the list.|
|The parking lot has filled up quite a bit. We asked other visitors and they reported that the usual entry road from near Liberia was not paved. We lucked out coming directly from Guayabo.|
|On the way home we got some shots of the geothermal plants and piping scattered about in this part of the landscape|
|Both geothermal and windmills were under the auspices of ICE (Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad), whose trucks we often met on the roads in the area.|
|Despite this being the "dry season", there was still water in the rivers.|
|When we were almost back to Guayabo, Karen managed to get a nearly clear photo of these really red bromiliads (mid-photo). The red is to help them cope with so much sunlight. The same species is much greener where the sun isn't so bright.|
|Volcaán Miravalles to the east is almost showing its top.|
|The next morning we went back through the forest of windmills to go to the nearer entry of the park, the Santa Maria unit of Rincón de la Vieja. Part of this unit was a ranch donated by former US president LBJ (oh, the joy of a paved road).
As you can see, the Volcán is pretty clouded over.
|The LBJ ranch, which serves as the sign-in booth.|
|This is a much less developed property. There is a campground for tenting, but that's about it. Even the ranch building has no power beyond what a small solar panel supplied. We head off down the path|
|actually more of an abandoned jeep road.|
|"These forests belong to all of humanity, to the current and future generations for they all have the right to enjoy them but also the obligation to protect them."|
|Sugar cane processing apparatus left over from the early 1900's.|
|The hearths for boiling the sugar.|
|An anthill complex.|
|yes, leaf cutter ants again.|
|We branch off onto the recommended path...|
|... but the water seems too deep and swift. We couldn't see the path on the other side ... so we turned back to take the other half of the loop.|
There were not very many remarkable plants -- the land is recovering from its past commercial use and it will probably take a few more years.
|Karen wonders if this fungus glows in the dark?|
|Costa spirals like this are always fun|
|Back on the road-like path and come to a broad shallow ford. It was probably the same stream, but more docile.|
|Since we hadn't brought our wading boots, we decided to head back to explore another trail.|
|The ranch house, with well-manicured lawn.|
|There are bees here.|
|and very tiny flowers in the short grass. Why is the grass so short?|
|Living lawnmowers again.|
We hike up another trail towards "the viewpoint"
(oh, the temptation to add a "thought bubble" asking "???Where???"
|We spot a few galls|
|passion flowers ready to bloom|
and a small white insect (about 2 inches long).
The trail became rougher and more vertical so we turned around ...
|and went back to the parking lot. The narrow groove in the grass under the tree is ...|
|... another ant trail heading off into the distance.|
|The trees nearby were full of bromiliads (note the flower stalk)|
|and orchids (yellow, mid-photo|
|two different pink ones.|
|On the way home we got a group portrait of the local oxen, volcano and windmills.|
|Miravalles was still not showing its crown.|
|Day 3: Despite our next goal being only 12 as-the-vulture-soars miles away, it was over 75 km (46 miles) away by road. We went back down to the Pan American Highway, and then a bit southeast.
Along the way, Karen achieved her best-photo-of-a-fruit-vendor-taken-at-speed so far. Yes, the other attempts were worse (traffic and lack of warning precluded a dedicated stop).
|There were a couple of very straight irrigation canals.|
|From the Pan American Highway, we turned left and went up Highway 6 into the next valley east. It runs between Volcán Miravalles and the more easterly Volcán Tenorio. Highway 6 had some very straight sections, pointed at Tenorio.|
with strange cement animals
|and rock-walled terraces.|
|In the town of Bijagua, we turned off Highway 6 to follow a gravel lane towards Volcán Tenrerio in the clouds. Bijagua seems about the size of Guayabo, but with tourism as a major "industry".|
Our goal: Heliconias Rainforest Lodge (and nature trails with hanging bridges)
At this point, we've actually crossed the continental divide to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica.
|They were at the forefront of developing sustainable tourism. The original owners retired and the new folks took over 3 months ago.|
|You can tell they've been working hard to replace worn drainage|
|...and will get to the signs soon. Being on the catches-it-all weather side of Tenorio accelerates the erosion.|
|Fallen trees give a chance to see if this tiny orchid has a bloom under the leaf (no).|
|Hurricanes and storms provide a lot of that kind of opportunity.|
|Better luck here|
|More trees with figs|
|No, these aren't walking trees. Can you see where the old fallen log they germinated on used to be?|
|We've been almost a month, and are still finding flowers we hadn't seen before.|
|A giant cecropia leaf|
|Heliconia, the namesake of the lodge|
|That sign is in good repair|
|the little red gentian (?) we've seen before|
|also the "kiss flower"|
|and large club mosses.|
|Round fruits looking like sea urchins (a whole pile was buried under the leaves)|
|One split open, the seeds are gone.|
|The main reason we came all this way is their hanging bridges.|
|Karen's death grip on handrail. These felt less secure then the ones in Monteverde (little did she know what lay in her future)|
|But we did enjoy again getting our noses in the treetops.|
|Well, the lower treetops. There were still some giants tantalizingly out of reach.|
|The middle bridge, of what had been 3, was destroyed in the hurricane six months ago.|
|They cut a new path up and around the valley at about the same elevation and added a small bridge to take you over the stream. All welded aluminum and extremely sturdy.|
|Near one end of the destroyed bridge, Dick spotted this vine holding things in place.|
|The red is probably mold decaying the peel after something ate the fruit.|
|There was even a viewpoint out into the clouds|
|The third bridge looked even narrower. Luckily we had the bridges to ourselves.|
|Dick tended to use the "capacity" signs as an indication of how strong the builders thought the bridge was ... many years ago when it was built.|
|Camouflaged butterfly. How did it know that bridge cable was a match?|
|Views from the bridge: yellow orchids|
|Looking down upon yellow flowers in the top of a tree|
|and another view of the giants the hurricane spared.|
|Back on the ground (with buttresses)|
|blooming palm tree|
|this liverwort looks different from previous ones|
|No, not a fern. I've seldom seen vascular plants with paired opposite leaves at the terminus. Usually there's an odd leaf at the end.|
|another familiar red flower|
|a new yellow one|
|New growth catching the light. Does this really look like dead foliage to those that might eat it? Maybe the red signifies higher toxin levels? How would you test which theory is more likely?|
|There were "ghost trees" that had very white bark|
|In keeping with every valley having unique characteristics, we met this... Trees with what looked like sausages growing out of the trunk. Those weren't tiny... they're the size of decent-sized zucchinis.|
|They're probably bat pollinated.|
|well worth the trip, if only for this curiosity.|
|It had started raining by the time we got back to Heliconia's restaurant.|
|Sitting (dryly) indoors, there was a nice view down the valley|
|... and then it started to pour. This butterfly hung out on the window under the eaves.|
|The sign telling about their devotion to sustainable tourisum|
|We watched the clay-coloured robins hop around on the ground|
|and peck at the bananas.|
|A woodpecker appeared and would hop around and peck and hop and peck|
|Then the toucan showed up ...|
|look at that saw blade bill.|
|Facing due north, we were told one could see Lake Nicaragua from here on a clear day. Not yet.|
|and the mountain isn't showing either.|
|Nicely timed with the end of our lunch, the rain stopped.
So off we went on the shorter "easy trail". First it went past the guest buildings and through the formal plantings...
|... and led to mostly un-exciting second growth and muddy trails that hadn't been repaired yet.|
|But we did find out how and where they were getting the wood to fix the other trail. Lumber hewn while you wait.|
|It was a pleasant biome.|
|Back in the parking lot we think we can see the lake.|
|Dropping back down through the Bijagua side road, we came across an interesting road. The car stops to chat with the family. The cow eventually gets bored and kicks over the bucket of what is probably pig-slops. The roadblock clears as the people run to try and save some of the spillage.|
|In Bijagua, the Vultures were waiting for something.|
|We were told there was a passable road up and over the saddle on the north side of Miravalles. If so it would save many miles.|
|But there was evidence of a major river wash out...|
|... and a bit further on so did the road.|
|Back on Highway 6 it still very windy...|
|... on the way back down to the Pan American and around.|
|This friendly rainbow ...|
|... followed us home (Guayabo is just around that corner and down a couple of hundred feet).|
|The next day we took a short-cut that did work (and was paved) to nearby La Fortuna.
Just north of La Fortuna is "Las Hornillas", on the near slopes of Volcán Miravalles for geothermal features and two hanging bridges. "Hornilla" is "burner" (like a stove).
|Our rainbow was with us this morning, too...|
|We could see the volcanic area we had come for.|
|Again we were a bit early for the attraction, and had to wait a few minutes for someone to come and sell us admissions. The troupe of dogs was ready and willing.|
|The peacocks seemed to be waiting too.|
|The cleaning person said we could go into the paths and pay when we came out. Yes, it was raining quite heavily... and (for once) we even had our Agricola Raincoats with us!|
|Even with the rain, you could still see the steam.|
|Molded cement railings (wood wouldn't hold up)|
|Steaming pits and waters...|
(note soggy shoe...)
|Fallen tree in corroded rock|
|the view down river.|
|Some of the water is piped to pools for a thermal spa experience...|
|... with interesting showers for the folks using them.|
|The person who took money finally showed up and told us we could only go to the hanging bridges with a tour and the next one was in an hour. So we waited and took pictures of the local area.
a yellow flowered tree.
|probably horticultural rather than local flowers|
|the orange milkweed again|
|a large cactus|
|an even larger anthill|
|a geothermal plant in the distance (and the rain stopped!).|
|Yet no mountain top for Miravalles.|
|Our tour vehicle showed up|
|Two other families were booked for this tour, so we waited for them all to appear. 3 or 4 of the dogs from the ticket office showed up, too.
We all (wet dogs too) clambered aboard and drove off.
|The tractor took us up through pastures via a rough road that was ICE's access to some of their geothermal installations. The rain came and went as we rode along, our Agricola coats served as lap-tents for us front-row sitters. We parked at a wide spot in the road and were let through a locked gate to the forested hillside.|
|These bridges merely served to cross raging rivers and were windy. Karen didn't stop in the middle of the bridge to take a photo.
Her cohort was more willing...
|... it was a rushing river.|
|Then we (and dogs, under foot and between legs) climbed up ...|
|... along with the other members of the group.|
|Karen saw some new blue flowers but was not given much time for botany|
|Along the edge of the river (with dogs)|
|The guide led us to lots of waterfalls.|
|The dogs found something to dig for so they were now sandy too.|
|There is a lot of power raging through here sometimes|
|and landslides are probably frequent|
|back down the hill|
|following the water.|
|These were some of the steepest trails we were on in Costa Rica.|
|Back in the vehicle we head for the second trail and hanging bridge|
|Again, a river crossing... a long one...|
|...on a bridge that was very steeply slanted.|
|No one stopped to take a photo on this one...|
|At the far end of that bridge, the trail simply dropped down a couple of steep switchbacks to ...|
|... a destroyed viewing platform that (had) hung out over the river.|
Karen and one of the other tourists had forgone that last steep bit and had wisely waited at the end of the hanging bridge.
So now (except for the smart two), it's back up the slope to the bridge we have to go back across
|The dogs underfoot were not helping|
|Then we tractored back to the base where it had finally stopped raining.|
|The geothermal area steams showed much clearer|
|There were now three peacocks in the bar.|
|The menu at Las Hornillas didn't offer anything Karen could safely eat, so we decided to go back to Sotavento in Guayabo for lunch|
|where it was raining.|
|And once we were home it really let loose.|
So we read until dinner and went to bed early.
(One of our discoveries in Costa Rica was lactose-free cream cheese. We hadn't known such existed. Karen came up with broccoli with cream cheese as a sauce. Since returning to Seattle we've adopted it here, too)
|The wind howled all night and in the morning there was no power. Dick discovered someone was removing a branch from the wires.|
|By the time we drove out the remains were stacked in the yard.|
|Today's plan was to head south to the lowlands to see a well-reviewed waterfall, the Catarades Falls de Bagace, and then continue on to the city of Liberia.|
|Route 164 towards the Pan American Highway.|
Access to the falls is from the southbound lanes of the Pan American Highway ... which we reached by driving north 5km and taking a designated U-turn to head south. That allowed looking at/for the intersection (which was (ahem) subtle... a dirt road at a tiny farmer's stall).
A bit along the dirt road was this sign advising us that the falls even had a (nearby) sometimes (it was still closed when we left) restaurant.
|The Falls had an entry gate that used to ask for donations. They had recently paved the path and upgraded the parking lot to include flush toilets. Thanks to the upgrade, the donation had jumped from $2 to a mandatory $7 ... but wasn't going into effect until the weekend. Today was free.|
|Being early on a weekday morning meant that crowds were miniscule.|
|An apparently brand new cement path led down ...|
|... to promising sounds.|
|A quite idyllic grotto...|
|Obligatory short video...|
|Then back to the Pan American Highway (southbound), an exit-assisted U-turn in Bagaces, and then north...|
|Rincón de la Vieja from a distance|
|and into downtown Liberia.|
|We wandered around for a couple of hours. Liberia has about 60,000 people, making it not too much larger than Alajuela, but it certain felt livelier. We found fun artwork in a parking lot.|
|The church||... and the park facing it.|
|Going back towards Bagaces, we noticed puffs of steam on the flanks of the volcano|
|Given the nearby building, perhaps venting from the geothermal electricity plants.|
|This bull may look like the others but it is cement|
|For lunch we finally tried Pitburgesa|
|people were very nice and the food tasted good (but Karen later regretted it)|
|Then we went next door for the final coffee ice cream cone of our trip ... all of that for only 500 Colones.|
|Karen washed the car to give a better impression when we turned it in. We'd heard horror stories of other rental agencies claiming hidden scratches beneath the dirt.|
|Dick watched the sunset...|
|and the vulture soaring past the wind farm.|
|Our final morning dawned with a misty rainbow.|
|A last walk into town. Very little was open but these two were hard at work widening the entry of a neighbor's home|
|We loaded up and said goodbye to Guayabo.|
|Near Bagaces, Dick had been seeing this stonework tower and wondering what it was. With a door in the base it wasn't a water tower. He stopped and finally got a good shot of what turned out to be the top of a cement waterslide. In reviewing the photos for this travelog, we noticed that Las Hornillas also showed a "250 meter waterslide" on their sign... but we didn't notice it at the facility.|
|Route 164 ... this week's "commute route".|
|Karen tried for more photos of street-side fruit and veggie vendors, but we were too early in the day.|
|Bagaces provided some interesting diversions as we passed through.|
|The entry ramp for the Pan American Highway offered ... let's see ... Pasteles are pastries, Frescos are cold drinks, Burros are probably burritos, and our dictionaries haven't got a clue what a bigoron is.|
|Some vendors are less formal than a booth.|
|One on the side of the 55 mph divided Pan American Highway.|
|We returned the very clean car to Vamos Car Rental ... no muss, no fuss. Their Liberia office is located directly across Highway 21 from the airport, a bit south of the Hilton Garden Inn.|
|Being ridiculously early-arrivers, we sat around the airport for several hours. As is typical, we couldn't check in until three hours before the flight, so most of our time was in the arrivals hall, not the shop-filled after-security departure lounge.|
|We took off about sunset...|
|... which gave some spectacular lighting.|
|We saw lots of lights at one point in Mexico, the pilot announced it was Veracruz.|
|Then we had a city tour of LA circa 9pm their time.|
|Karen stiffens up during long flights. So we had a pre-arranged wheelchair ride through customs and around the terminal. The distance between International arrivals and Terminal 6 for Alaska domestice flights is about a mile... and includes having to pass through security again. Our wheelchair helper knew both the ropes and the way. We wouldn't have made our flight otherwise.|
|The lights of home about 2 am.|
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