Day One - Alajuela
We had a fine flight from Los Angeles to San Jose. I sat by a little girl and so I could stretch out and be comfortable. Our plane stopped in El Salvador and dropped off over half of the passengers. Then guards boarded the plane and searched everyone's luggage. It was a strange feeling - like earlier today, as we were walking through Alajuela and turned down a street passed the police station. There was a guard out front with a semi-automatic assault rifle. It gave me a weird lump in my stomach. I was bummed, too, as because this was my first impression of a country I thought was so peaceful - they don't even have an army.
Anyway, our hotel in Alajuela pretty much sucked. We paid c7200 ($42) for a dark room with two tiny beds. It was right on the town square though, and we hung out there and saw some awful DJ beg for money. After a few beers (the local brew, Imperial, are great and cost less than a buck), we went to the market. It was full of Ticos, and I stood out tremendously - a foot taller than everyone. Everything was so cheap - a pound of bananas for 10c, and I saw foods I'd never seen before.
Later, we changed money with an old man in the square named Narcisso, who has a better rate than even the banks and hotels. That night, after a large dinner of chicken, rice and beans, and a half dozen more Imperials, we saw "Batman Eternamente" at the theater by the hotel. It was in English with Spanish subtitles and it was interesting to see the translations. (For some reason, Bruce Wayne was rendered as Bruno Diaz...) Occasionally, the projector would fail and all the men in the audience would immediate and in unison whistle loudly until it was fixed.