Costa Rica: Tuesday, May 17

Here’s how this happened: A few weeks ago, Yen had dinner with a friend who has been studying in Venice. That was finishing up at the end of May, and she mentioned that she has a spare bedroom. When he told me all this, I (half joking) asked whether she needs visitors. He said that was the point of her telling him this, and let’s go. You know me and my permanently packed bag. So we started looking at airfare, and it was running about $900 each when you consider taxes and all of the other tiny jabs they add after luring you with a base price. Which seemed like a lot. But the travel urge had struck, and so we started looking for other deals. Lo, we found a great one to Costa Rica: six nights, breakfast each morning, car rental, and airfare for $800 each. We couldn’t have traveled domestically for that—or at least not to anywhere we might actually want to go.

One more note: I am going to post these as individual days and then go back and add more photos as Yen digs through the thousands (literally) that he took. So have patience and don’t forget to revisit the posts again later as I add more.

Tuesday Night

We arrived with no fuss and found the representative from our car rental company. He was holding a sign with two names: JAMES and COOPER. But where were the Coopers? After ten minutes or so, he gave up and ushered us into a van. “Poor Coopers,” Yen said.

At the rental counter, we ran into a group from Germany, two women and a man. They didn’t need to open their mouths to reveal their nationality. Why is German eyewear so recognizable? They finally hopped into their Hyundai as we finished our paperwork for a scrappy little Suzuki. And just as the ink on the contract began to dry, here came an American couple: the Coopers were safe at last.

Our hotel the first night? It was a Best Western. It was fine. Nothing remarkable except the casino downstairs. Where could we find something to eat at this hour? “Only fast food is open,” said the woman at the counter. “Around the corner is Denny’s or across the street is Subway.”


Yen, his usual agreeable, ready-come-what-may self said, “Well, this is new. I’ve never been to a Denny’s.” I can report to you now that Moon Over My Hammy is a universal constant, and should you find yourself trapped one day on Mars and stumble across a Denny’s (red with dust, of course), you will be able to order it and remember immediately what it was like back home again when you were 17, had just finished rehearsing a play, and wanted some hashbrowns.

There aren’t any photos of this first day for what I assume are obvious reasons to everyone. I’ll just end by saying that the whole journey from Boston to San Jose is extremely short, considering what a dramatic change you’re making in atmosphere (two hour to Atlanta and then three hours to San Jose). It’s little different from traveling to, say, San Francisco and so much more interesting.