The Costa Rica Adventure – The Shaky Start

You know what it is like the week before a vacation. Your head is spinning as you try to get everything done. The time change completely did me in. I was exhausted all week, “It’s an hour, body, and you got more sleep than normal as I tried to force you to adjust. Why be so rebellious anyway?”

As always I didn’t pack until the last minute. This is normal for me, but usually I knock it out quickly. Not this time, though. It was excruciating. Still wondering where my one of my favorite flip flops has gotten off to.
In the course of packing, I decide to print off out itinerary and my boarding pass. Looking at the itinerary in a new view I realize everything was booked for April instead of March. I not only told our travel agent our dates correctly, I had sent a copy of our airline reservations. I realized the view of our itinerary I had been looking at practically hid dates from view on my iPad, so I had never noticed them. I I called the travel agent immediately and thankfully someone was manning the phones (though it was well after hours…..about 11 their time.) Within about 15 minutes he had a driver lined up to pick us up from the airport and a hotel for the first night. That evidently was a chore since a lot of hotels were booked. But they pulled it off.
I planned to stay up all night, and getting ready took most of it. Left my house to pick up Ruthi at 3:15 a.m. My car is in desperate need of medical attention, so I wondered whether it would make it. Especially since it was in the middle if the night and we had a plane to catch. But yes, it survived the trip to long term parking. We’ll see how it does after a week outside. Yes, I need to buy a new car. Will do that when I get back home. One of my most hated things to do.
Our flights were great. We had to change planes in Miami. The only annoying thing was that the volcano that erupted in another part of Costa Rica closed the airport for a couple of days, so lots of people from prior flights were trying to get on ours. It was probably a bit chaotic for the airline. We ended up getting new boarding passes. My seat had changed, but still….we had seats and we were on our way. On our flight people were trying to get others to change seats with them so they could sit with their travel companions. I know there are sometimes circumstances when people need to be together, but when things are already chaotic, people, just sit in whatever seat you get. We’re talking about a few hours here! But no….people ask others to give up their window seat to sit in their middle seat. I hate seeing people feel guilty for saying no to the deal….or saying yes because they feel pressured.

We arrive in San Jose, Costa Rica on time….it was around 10:30 a.m. their time (two hours difference,12:30 p.m. eastern.) We go through immigration, and head to baggage claim. Ruthi’s bag comes up pretty quickly. We wait for mine. And wait. And wait. I ask one of the luggage guys if there are more bags to come. He says yes, so I don’t go to the lost baggage line. Mistake! After a while I realize that no more bags are coming. I get in the then long line. Ruthi goes to tell our driver what is going on and get the name of the hotel we are going to be in. (We didn’t know because of the change the night before.) We forget she has to go through customs on the way out. Once out, you don’t get back in. That’s why you need to travel with someone that is tenacious. Ruthi didn’t take no for an answer. She talked her way back in, with the hotel name in hand. Security accompanies her. When she gets back to me, I still had not moved up in the line at all.Why it was taking so long, I have no idea. Noone seemed concerned about this except me! Ruthi goes back outside to wait with the driver. I think the people in front of me spoke French, those in back Spanish. You know I hated not having anyone to listen to me give ideas for making the process better!!!!

Finally my time came. I have no clue why the process took so long for everyone else. For me it took about five minutes. My bag was still showing in Miami. I filled out paperwork giving all of my identifying info and my contact info in La Fortuna. The agent said that there was a chance that I could get my luggage that day, but probably if it was on the last flight that night it would be the next morning. I gave my travel agent’s phone number in Costa Rica.I get a sheet giving my claim number and the online site for American Airlines where I can check the status of my luggage. We realized on the way to our hotel that the driver did not have the name of the new hotel. He had the one we had reservations in for April! The online edit buttons to change my hotel destination and contact info didn’t work. Wouldn’t you know? I talked to the travel agent (we used a local Costa Rican travel agency….Anywhere Costa Rica….in spite of the botched itinerary I recommend!) and they said they would call the old hotel and tell them to send the luggage to the new hotel when it arrived. Gee! Nothing can be easy! Later on when I checked on the website it said the location of my luggage was unknown. Yes….it was all a bit of a mess. Thanks American Airlines. Welcome to Costa Rica!!!!!

(to be continued….)


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