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Costa Rica Journal

Posted: Jan 07 2012 4:29 pm
by azbackpackr
The countdown is on, less than a week to go! I'm off to Costa Rica on Friday morning! I have probably gained quite a few new gray hairs over the past few weeks, what with all the hassle in getting a correct authentication/apostille on my birth certificate (would you believe the California Secretary of State made an error and the Consulate would not accept the document?) I had to have that in order to get a student visa. I ought to run for President, what with all the problems with my birth certificate. I have had to order THREE of them!

So, look for me hereon this thread over the coming months, and I will post up some photos (and likely even some hikes) from time to time. It will be fun to keep in touch with everyone while I'm there, too!

Re: Costa Rica Journal

Posted: Jan 07 2012 7:22 pm
by PLC92084
azbackpackr wrote:would you believe the California Secretary of State made an error and the Consulate would not accept the document?

I would, actually... If there's a way, CA will find a way to screw things up!

Looking forward to hearing about your South American exploits; keep us posted on your adventures. I hear there's a lot to do down there...

Re: Costa Rica Journal

Posted: Jan 07 2012 7:51 pm
by MtnBart01
@PLC92084
Isn't Costa Rica in Central America? :sl:

Re: Costa Rica Journal

Posted: Jan 08 2012 7:26 am
by azbackpackr
bart01 wrote:@PLC92084
Isn't Costa Rica in Central America? :sl:
Yes it is. But that is not as bad a geographical gaffe as the person I was talking to who said, "Oh, aren't there a whole lot of people from there who live in New York City?" I said, "I do believe you are thinking of Puerto Ricans, not Costa Ricans!"

I have signed up through my school for a tour that goes to Nicaragua--lake Nicaragua to be specific, where we are going to ride horses, of all things. I like to ride horses, so that's good. I also hope to go to Panama, and to the east side of Costa Rica while I'm there. They will take us to Monteverde in March. There is also the Arenal Volcano I'd like to see!

Re: Costa Rica Journal

Posted: Jan 08 2012 1:25 pm
by New2hyk
I think what you are doing is super AWESOME. :) Can't wait to read about your experiences :y:

Re: Costa Rica Journal

Posted: Jan 08 2012 2:09 pm
by big_load
azbackpackr wrote:all the problems with my birth certificate
The toughened requirements on IDs have uncovered countless problems with original birth certificates and also with the procedures of agencies who issue duplicates. It extends to other documents, too. My wife had trouble renewing her driver's license because the NJ DMV objected to the seal on our marriage license. I don't know how they can expect to dictate what kind of seal another county in another state should have had 24 years ago.

Re: Costa Rica Journal

Posted: Jan 08 2012 4:31 pm
by PLC92084
@bart01
While you are technically correct, you must remember who you're dealing with... For Normando Fabuloso it's all South America once I get past Tijuana...

Re: Costa Rica Journal

Posted: Jan 08 2012 4:56 pm
by azbackpackr
New2hyk wrote:I think what you are doing is super AWESOME. :) Can't wait to read about your experiences :y:
Thanks!

And Paul, under your definition, I think it starts just about when you hit National City...

Re: Costa Rica Journal

Posted: Jan 08 2012 5:17 pm
by azbackpackr
big_load wrote:
azbackpackr wrote:all the problems with my birth certificate
The toughened requirements on IDs have uncovered countless problems with original birth certificates and also with the procedures of agencies who issue duplicates. It extends to other documents, too. My wife had trouble renewing her driver's license because the NJ DMV objected to the seal on our marriage license. I don't know how they can expect to dictate what kind of seal another county in another state should have had 24 years ago.
The first birth certificate I sent to the Sec of State was an original, and they wouldn't accept it, they said they had no record of that county recorder who had signed it! By the time I got it back I had ordered a new birth certificate from San Diego County, so I sent that one to the Sec of State. But that was the one they put the wrong type of authentication on it, so the Costa Rican consulate would not accept it. When I found out about that, I was actually in Oceanside, so I went to the county recorder's office and got yet another birth certificate in person. Then I drove to Los Angeles the next day, to the regional office of the Sec. of State, and got the proper apostille on my birth certificate! I had not been to L.A. in 32 years, and that in itself was quite an adventure. I overnighted that to my school, whose office is in Reno, and they emailed back that the consulate finally accepted it last week! Sheesh. Talk about just getting in under the wire! Very stressful.

Re: Costa Rica Journal

Posted: Jan 13 2012 5:32 am
by azbackpackr
This has been a very stressful week, lots of Tums, but I am AT the AIRPORT in Phoenix, at Starbucks, and have checked my suitcase. In a few minutes I am going to take my chances going through security.

I have not been out of the US, other than walking across the Mexican border a few times at Nogales, Douglas, etc., since I went to Canada in 1974. Last time I was in Europe was in '72. So, it's about time, eh?

Re: Costa Rica Journal

Posted: Jan 13 2012 5:49 am
by PaleoRob
Alright! Have a great flight down there! Look forward to hearing your updates once you get settled in!

Re: Costa Rica Journal

Posted: Jan 13 2012 5:59 am
by kingsnake
I originally read that sentence as "I have not been out of the US since I went to Casa Grande ..." :lol:

Re: Costa Rica Journal

Posted: Jan 13 2012 6:46 am
by azbackpackr
kingsnake wrote:I originally read that sentence as "I have not been out of the US since I went to Casa Grande ..." :lol:
Oh, hardy harhar! ;)

I was in Canada when Nixon resigned, Aug. 1974. Watched it on CBC. Decidedly different point of view...taught me something.

Re: Costa Rica Journal

Posted: Jan 13 2012 7:03 am
by kingsnake
I'm sure. International travel, with an open mind, you can't help but realize there is more than one way of looking at things ... :)

Re: Costa Rica Journal

Posted: Jan 13 2012 7:44 am
by PLC92084
Have a fun, safe trip Liz!! Post lots of pictures!

Re: Costa Rica Journal

Posted: Jan 13 2012 9:24 am
by New2hyk
Have a safe and joyful trip :) When I take international trips, I start taking naps on the plane to coordinate with the night times of the country I visit. Usually combination of benadryl and a drink ;) gets me to take a nap despite the noisy environment on the plane. The older I get, the tougher it becomes for me to adjust to various time zones :(

Re: Costa Rica Journal

Posted: Jan 13 2012 10:04 am
by sirena
Have a great trip!

Re: Costa Rica Journal

Posted: Jan 13 2012 10:29 pm
by azbackpackr
Woohoo! I"m here! VERY long day!

Nice host family, and pretty comfy room, private bathroom. And a big fan! (No AC in most houses.) I am barefooted, in shorts.

The drive from the capital to Puntarenas goes down and down, losing about 3800 feet in 70 miles. But, it was all in the dark, so I have yet to see Costa Rica in the light of day. Saw a fantastic sunset while still on the plane, though!

Re: Costa Rica Journal

Posted: Jan 13 2012 11:27 pm
by big_load
Good luck!

Re: Costa Rica Journal

Posted: Jan 14 2012 7:40 am
by azbackpackr
This morning I was shown around the house. There is a gated front courtyard on most houses, including this one, and the car is parked inside of it. There is no actual door to the backyard, just a hallway, and then you're in the backyard. No screens on the windows, no screen doors, so this very dry area by the beach must not be too buggy. I still have not walked around, but I'm told that since Puntarenas is on a very narrow peninsula you are never more than 2 blocks from the water. It is only about 2 blocks from my school, also.

I was served very strong coffee, which I like, eggs, rice and black beans. Rice and black beans are served with most meals, I think. My hostess speaks only Spanish, but I gather she'll get some fruit later. I asked her if papayas are in season, and I think she said they may just be coming into season. I don't know if they have the good little Hawaiian-style papayas here, or the big Mexican ones (which aren't too good, to my taste.)

The furnishings are plain and serviceable, comfortable, there is no hot water, except in the main bathroom. I tried the cold-only shower in my private bathroom last night, including shampoo, and it was not very cold, and felt great. I've been told that many homes have no hot water.

My hostess seems to be a practitioner of interesting things such as Raiki, and something I gather is similar to homeopathy. She teaches it, too.

My Spanish is rusty, and my vocabulary is lacking. Sometimes I understand everything whereas other times I am kind of lost. I hope this gets better!