I arrived with a tiny propeller plane in San Jose yesterday, after having spent some two weeks in Nicaragua. Already after 24 hours here, more has happened than during my whole time in the neighbouring country.
After a somewhat confusing and messy border crossing, me, Mariella and Sarah got to San Juan del sur. This is said to be a laid-back surfer town, i.e. the place to be for a nice groove, good swell and relaxing atmosphere. Honestly, yet a surfer town wasn’t what I was up for but if there is surf, there is yoga. However, this touristy little town didn’t impress much. The hostel was invaded by Swedes (besides that the town was more or less empty) and the surf was only on the nearby beaches, a shuttle ride away. The yoga and shala were beautiful though. Days past by and we didn’t achieve much: yoga, gym, two different beaches and food. Yes, this is a touristy place, but after adding the tax (which is obligatory but still not included in the price) nothing seemed as cheap as word on the street tells you.
We happened to find two Norwegians (or they found us, that argument can go on for ever) who spiced up the entertainment of our stay. We kept them and spent the following days in Granada together.
What first strikes you when entering Granada is the beauty of all its colonial buildings. In addition, the city has a fair amount of fancy cafés and restaurants, enough to keep you busy (eating) for a week. Taking a closer look, however, the city and its atmosphere are hard to grasp. Various tours are offered without any greater enthusiasm nor actual containment, spas are in every corner and the mandatory souvenirs can be purchased every here and there. Despite this, Granada is a complete ghost town: there is hardly anyone out and I never understood why. Maybe because of that weird feeling that kept crawling up my spine but was never really determined. Walking around alone was sketchy even at daytime. A man grabbed my hair one day, another whispered puta when I walked by and yet another followed my sister so that she had to go straight back to the hostel instead of buying food. We weren’t supposed to be there. Tourists are supposed to be hiding in the spas that are set up for them. There they can feed the dictatorship with their money and use blinders to ignore the kids working on the streets.
Maybe I don’t know enough or understand the city’s and country’s history, but to me Granada put up an effortless show for the tourists. It’s a charade going on and they are sick of it. Needless to say, we spent too many days hanging around doing nothing. Finally, Monday morning, I got a cab to the airport, jumped on the tiny airplane and almost cried of relief when I sat my feet on Costa Rican land. Sarah had left for León and Mariella and the Norwegians went to climb a volcano while I was looking forward to meet up with my friends.
On my way to the hostel I started talking with the driver, who apparently has two sons living in Sweden. One of them is here now and I’m going to meet him later today. I met Cydney in San Pedro where we met up with Alan who took us drinking at a bar with beer on tap. I had a shower without getting sandy after. I wore jeans. I had good beer and I was at a bar where no one tried to hit on me. It was good. I felt normal. Today, I’ve been offered a job in a rum commercial and had drinks with a former wall streeter. As I said, crazy things happen in Costa Rica. Tomorrow I’ll leave for Puerto Viejo.