Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tamarindo Day 3

Tico Time--it means pretty much the same thing as Island Time. Things will get done when they get done, which usually won't be when you want them done. It's something that can be maddening for us North Americans who are used to moving at break-neck speed, but it's an integral part of Costa Rica, and therefore something we need to adjust to. Actually we're kind of looking forward to it, as it forces you to s-l-o-w down and enjoy the moment.

We had booked a rental car to be delivered to our hotel so we could go out and explore, and it was due to be dropped off at 8 am. I picked the earliest time I could since I figured we'd encounter some Tico Time, and we wanted as much time as possible to head out into the unknown. Sure enough, 8 o'clock came and went, but hey, we're living Tico Time, right? By 8:30, I was starting to get a little antsy. By 8:45, I'm wondering if we should call the place and make sure they're coming (and I'm not feeling too good about how well I'm adjusting to Tico Time). Around 9 the car arrives, with a very apologetic driver. It seems he couldn't find our hotel. So then I'm wondering why he didn't use the GPS we had ordered to go with the car. "GPS?" he asks. "We don't have a request for a GPS."  Hmmm. Now Gary's worried as we have to drive the car back to the airport at 4 am to catch our flight on Sunday, and the airport is an hour and a half away. "It's easy," says the driver. "Just follow the signs, you can't get lost. You won't have a problem."

Now let me digress a little. We've driven in Costa Rica before. NONE of the roads have signs. There are no street names, no addresses. If you own a house, your address is not something like 123 Main Street; it's more like: from the old church go 200 meters west, right at the mango tree, 400 meters north, yellow house.  We were both starting to have visions of being lost forever in the jungles of Costa Rica, which in retrospect may not have been too bad, but I did want to see my children again.

Thankfully I had brought our paperwork with us, and it did show that we had requested a GPS, so after profuse apologies, he arranged to have it delivered to us later that day. Both Gary and I breathed a sigh of relief feeling more confident we would be able to see our family again.

After picking up the GPS at our meeting point at a gas station in the middle of nowhere, we headed north of Tamarindo to check out some of the beaches. A few miles down the road, we realized the GPS was not working. We fiddled with it, unplugged it, turned it off then back on, but it just didn't work. Hmmm. Back to feeling a little apprehensive again. Not only do the streets not have signs, but half of the streets look like they aren't streets. What if we never make it back to the hotel? Would we see our family again? We decided to continue moving forward, keeping careful watch of where we were turning, and we were rewarded with some great views.
Flamingo Beach
 Flamingo Beach

Playa Grande looking south towards Tamarindo
Playa Grande looking north
 It's hard to tell from the pictures, but Playa Grande had some awe-inspiring waves. There were several surfers out there enjoying themselves, but the beach had warning signs about being dangerous to swim. I went in to my knees, but that was enough for me.

We had been trying to find a restaurant our hotel owner had told us about.  He said it had breathtaking views of the water and was just north of Playa Flamingo. "Just don't take the turn-off to Playa Flamingo, go the other way. You can't miss it." But we missed it. I'm thinking it was the unmarked, very narrow dirt road that looked like it veered off into nowhere. I remember seeing it but thinking, "That can't be it." Sure would have been nice to have a working GPS!

After some more exploring, and some back-and-forth of "I don't remember this part of the road, do you?", we got onto the main road and made it back to Tamarindo. On recommendation from several of the other hotel guests, we decided to give Nogui's a try for dinner. It was awesome!

Chicken with orange and sweet pepper sauce
Watermelon, lemon, and mint smoothie. So good!
View from our table
Nogui's is known for their pies--specifically the coconut cream and pineapple pies. I ordered the pineapple, and Gary ordered the coconut so we could try both. I meant to take pictures, but we started eating them as soon as they arrived. They were sooo good! Made with fresh coconut and pineapple how can you go wrong? Plus the pineapple pie was warm with a scoop of melting vanilla ice cream on top. Muy delicioso! And speaking of Spanish, I must brag a little. My "restaurant Spanish" is getting pretty good. In fact, when Gary asked about the type of fish in one entree, the waiter was speaking in Spanish and looking at me to explain to Gary what he meant. Of course, I didn't have too much of a clue, but I got the basic jist. It felt good to have the waiter think I knew what he was saying. At least with the Spanish I have down I won't starve!

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