Day 8 -- Home
We found the airport easily and returned the Jeep and began to feel as though we knew what were doing at last -- even though we would be leaving in a couple of hours. As we walked up to the airport, a man stopped us and waved a handful of stamps at us.
"Airport tax! $16.50 American!" he screamed.
We evaded him and went to the United counter and asked about the tax. We were told that yes, in fact, you did have to pay the tax and show the stamp with your passport before you could get through customs. Having no idea this was coming, we found ourselves $10 short of the $33 we needed, but were assured that we could get cash with our Visa card at the jewelry store upstairs. Of course, it was closed. So we sat in front of the store as the boarding time for our flight approached.
After and insanely frustrating 20 minutes, someone did finally arrive. She charged way too much for a necklace and then let us charge the extra $10. We bought the tax stamps, made it through customs, and boarded the plane with time to spare.
Through the window of the plane, I could see over the poverty of suburban San Jose to the horizon, where the Arenal Volcano was steaming in the distance. I closed my eyes and went to sleep.