Kath and I left lovely Uvita yesterday (Saturday) morning via taxi, amazingly making the Porto Jiminez bus just perfectly in Palmer Norte. That sort of thing rarely happens to us, where we make a bus just right when it is about to leave. Of course, we made the bus just in time, which didn’t leave any time to go to the bank, which is where we really needed to go, since we were low on cash. And it turned out that Porto Jiminez only has one bank, a Banco National, which doesn’t work with our ATM card. However, amazingly, the bank was open, which means that we could get money off of our credit card. So, I went inside and tried to get some money there, and they said, “No, we are only open for the telethon.”
The telethon? “What telethon?”
Some national telethon was happening, and people that pledged money could pay their pledges at the National Bank. So, even though the bank was open, and they had money, and they took credit cards, they wouldn’t do anything for me. So, Kath and I have been scraping by on our last collones and dollars, waiting for the bank to open tomorrow (Monday). It is pretty amazing: In the largest town in the region, with over 7,000 people in the town and many thousands more on the peninsula, there is only 1 ATM. And one unhelpful bank.
We spent our last day in Uvita exploring the national park and getting really sunburned walking all of the way out the end of the peninsula. You have to be careful there, because if the tide comes in, you have little time to hike the half-mile back to the mainland over the low sand spit.
We enjoyed a pizza in the middle of the jungle, in this strange little restaurant on the edge of civilization, where they have discovered the take-out cooked chicken. (Take-out is called “servico expresso” here, which does not describe the speed of the wait staff.)
We also had a wonderful stay at the Tucan Hotel and got to know the new owner, Tre, who is amazingly from Memphis. We got off of a dusty bus in the middle of the night and hiked up the road to his hotel, only to be greeted by a guy in a “Memphis Tigers” t-shirt. The Tucan is really an oasis for the entire area, and we think that Tre will be very successful with his new venture. Air-con, lots of hammocks, free Internet, and $1 beers make staying at the Tucan an easy choice.
Porto Jiminez has been pretty sleepy since we arrived, as it’s the weekend. We did watch a soccer game yesterday, though, were a big fight broke out, which is really unusual in Costa Rica (ticos are big pacifists and will usually do anything to avoid a confrontation). The fight ended up cancelling the game, and the cops were called. After the second big blow-up between these two guys, one guy went back to where his team’s fans were sitting and got a machete (where are really common all around Costa Rica) and ran at the other guy, in full view of the police. Thankfully, a bunch of machete guy’s friends grabbed him and got the machete away from him. Also, amazingly, no one was arrested, and the scene just gradually broke up and everyone drifted away. For a minute, there, I was sure we were going to witness a murder, though.
We will probably just hang around in Porto Jiminez until Tuesday morning, when we are due to get a collectivo to take us to Carate and the tent camps, where we will stay through Friday, when we fly back to the states. All is well, as long as the credit card keeps working… 🙂