Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tamarindo Day 5--Dog Poo, Grasshoppers, and MIA

Way too early. That's what I remember thinking when my alarm started blaring at me to get up. We had tried to get to bed at a decent time the night before, but 3:15 am is just way too early. When you have a flight to catch, there isn't much choice in the matter, however.

I dutifully rolled out of bed and started getting ready for our trip home. About 10 minutes before we had planned to leave the hotel, Gary received a text on his phone from the airlines. Seems our departure time was pushed back 45 minutes. Wow, they couldn't have figured that out before we went to bed so we'd have some extra sleep? Oh well, now we have some extra time to mill around our room. Pura Vida!

Finally, the time came to leave, so we headed to the car. It was pretty dark outside, with some dim lights scattered about. As I was getting into the car, I smelled something peculiar. "Hmmm, that doesn't smell too good," I thought. It smelled like dog poo. I got out of the car, but didn't see anything on the ground I could have stepped in, so I shrugged my shoulders and got back in. After about 3 seconds, I realized that was not going to work. Back out of the car, I walked toward the brightest light I could find. Sure enough, somewhere along the way, I had "stepped in it". Great. I grabbed some leaves and wiped off as much as I could, and ran my shoe (a sneaker with all those wonderful, deep groves to give traction) across the gravel hoping it would help. Back into the car. Oh boy, what a smell! Of course, it's not only on my shoe, but the car mat as well. Back out of the car to try to rub off my shoe and the mat. After 10 minutes of trying to clean up with leaves and gravel, I'm starting to get nervous about missing our flight. So, back in the car.

It quickly became obvious I did not get everything cleaned off, but what could I do at this point? We had left the room keys safely locked in the room, so there was nowhere to do a decent clean up. We decided to forge ahead, but I had to have the air vents blowing on me or I would surely get sick from the smell. We had a 1 1/2 hour, smelly trip ahead of us!

As we got closer to the airport, our anxieties turned from the smell (and what the car rental company would charge our credit card when they discovered the smell), to whether the car rental people would even be at the airport to take the keys. They had promised they would be there, and given us a phone to contact them when we got there, but it was 5:45 am. It's not nice to call people at 5:45 am, but I did it anyway. No answer. Uh oh. As we contemplated what to do, the phone rang back, and our very sleepy car driver from Day 3 was on the other end. He assured us his co-worker would be there and told us where to meet him.

The hand off of the rental car went very smoothly. I would have warned the guy about the smell, but I didn't know how to say "dog poo" in Spanish, so thought it better to leave that one alone. After everything was signed, Gary and I watched the guy get in the car and drive away. We couldn't help wondering what he was thinking of the smell. We started laughing, as I headed to some grass to try to do some more clean up, which of course didn't really help.

The line in the airport was surprisingly long, but I spotted a bathroom nearby. While Gary held our place in line, I ran to the bathroom and finally got my shoe cleaned. What a mess, but what a relief to smell better!

After checking in, we spotted this neat fellow on the inside window of the airport. I really wanted to touch him, but I refrained. I'm guessing he was a good 4-5" long.

Our flight from Tamarindo to Miami was without incident, but because we departed late, we had about an hour to get to our next flight. Normally no big deal, but the Miami airport (MIA) was a disaster! 
Even though we were not changing airlines, we actually had to pick our baggage up, go through customs, recheck our bags, and go through security all over again. The walk to baggage claim must have been close to a mile. No joke. Our departure gate was about as far as you could get from our arrival gate. The security lines were huge. We got through security with 5 minutes to spare and were running to our gate, just as we heard them giving away our seats! We pushed past all the "stand bys" who looked a little more than upset that they now weren't getting our seats, and we made it aboard--only to find our seats were the only ones on the airplane with no window. The seats directly across the aisle from us had a window, but not us. I had been looking forward to seeing Miami from the air, but that would have to wait for another time. 

The flight from Miami to Los Angeles was also uneventful other than the passenger next to me. I was in the center seat, which I guess means you don't get an armrest, since the two outside-seat-people decided they needed one on each side of them, which left me with zero. I could deal with that with Gary, but with the other guy, it didn't leave me much room, plus he promptly fell asleep and started leaning into me. I still get claustrophobic thinking about it. Oh the joys of flying.

But, we made it home safely, ready to do it all over again. :-)