From sweating to freezing, from telenovelas to CNN, from a dorm to a room with two king beds… yep, life is always an adventure.
I woke up early in Alajuela to take advantage of the free breakfast offered by the hostel.
It was a strange place. Due to its proximity to the airport, it was full of people arriving in Costa Rica or leaving. The owner was a sullen old lady obsessed with safety—she would buzz people in and out but didn’t give us the key to the front door. I didn’t talk to anyone but an old American guy who was at first very friendly. He said he had been there for a month—a month! What the hell was he doing here? Alajuela isn’t exactly an exciting place to stay.
Later in the night, everyone had gone to sleep and the TV in the living-room was on very loud. I met the old American guy in the kitchen. “Do you think it would be okay to turn it down a bit?” I asked. “I think everyone is sleeping.”
He looked at me. “Who the fuck do you think you are? It’s not a fucking library here,” he yelled. “The TV isn’t loud!”
Okaaayyy… I didn’t bother getting into an argument with him and dropped it. People like him scare me—you never know why they go from nice to rude.
My flight was at 2:35 p.m. and I had plenty of time but the old lady wanted all the guests out of the room as early as possible, even though the checkout time was 11 a.m.
It was only 8 a.m. and I didn’t have anything to do. I decided to see if I could walk to the airport, only 3 kilometres away. I went there and back to the hotel, grabbed my bags and checked out for good. It only took me 30 minutes to get to the airport with my bags but I was sweaty by the time I arrived that I had to change my t-shirt in the bathroom.
I paid the airport tax (a whopping $29), went through immigration and security and explored the airport. Overpriced souvenirs, overpriced food… the usual.
The passengers were a weird bunch. A lot of people flew wearing flip-flops and a swimsuit top. I mean, come on! I know you are coming from the beach but you are heading to Toronto. Who the hell think flying in a swimsuit is a good idea?
The flight was late and we only took off at 3:30 p.m.. We landed at 9:30 p.m. and I knew I may miss my connection to Ottawa, at 10:35 p.m. I rushed through immigration but checked luggage only started to show up on the carousel at 10:30 p.m. I had officially missed my flight.
I showed up at the Air Canada counter, where I was told I could be on stand-by for the 1 a.m. flight. “Can I just volunteer to be bumped to another flight tomorrow?” I asked. “Sure!”
A few phone calls later, the agent had arranged for me to stay at the Delta Hotel and I was given a few vouchers for food. I couldn’t believe it. First time I actually manage to get something from an airline! I do buy travel insurance and I know the best way to compare insurance in Montreal but I typically focus on medical, not travel interruption. And airlines never run out of excuse to avoid paying for hotel rooms and food. I was lucky this time.
And so here I am, in a nice hotel room, a cold pizza by my side (the only food I could get this late!). For once, I appreciate the free toiletry—shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc.—since I ran out of everything. And believe it or not, there was hot water! I haven’t had a hot shower in… well, three weeks.
Alone in an hotel room. That’s a cool way ease the North American culture again.