Back in Costa Rica

Years ago, I used to think business travel was glamourous. You got to go to far-flung places, see different things, and engage in activities you just don’t do at home. Then I started going on business trips. I learned fast that the enjoyment is only so deep.

Worst experience was Cincinnati in 2000. Second, and only because I was utterly exhausted by the end (the trip itself was very helpful) was Paris in 2006. (As I learned, when you travel to Europe, you end up with 18-20 hour days, because you’re trying to stay sync’d with the home office.)

But today hasn’t exactly been a slice, either. And just because I’m currently in Costa Rica doesn’t mean I’m sitting on a beach.

I woke up at 3:50. That’s AM, as in “before most sane people wake up”. I was at Jason’s house by 4:30. We were at the airport by 5:00. Along with — it seemed — all the Japanese tourists in Canada. Very strange. Check in, customs, security, and wait for the flight.

Roughly four hours to Houston. And then a six hour wait. There are no direct flights from Calgary to San Jose, Costa Rica. You have to fly through somewhere. And with costs being what they are, that means Houston. There are worse places to be stuck for six hours, but frankly, any six-hour stint in an airport is enough to drive you batty.

About 45 minutes before our flight boarded, we met up with Mark. Mark’s day has been considerably easier, as he didn’t have to wait nearly as long. Flights from Chicago are much more reasonable. The three of us boarded our flight to San Jose — another 3.25 hour journey.

I should point out by this point that it was 18:15, and I’d been up quite a lot longer than I’d like, and wasn’t feeling particularly happy about the next leg of the trip. I wanted a nap. Badly.

The flight, like the one before it, had a few bumpy parts (especially the landing — I was certain the pilot had blown out one of the tires), iffy food (we were actually fed, though), and not-so-great movies (or more importantly, they weren’t ones I wanted to watch).

But it was on that flight that it hit me. The announcements were no longer in just English. Now I heard Español, too. I need to learn Spanish. It sounds weird, but this all sounded fine on paper sitting comfortably 5,000 kilometres to the north. But here, now, sitting in my hotel room, this is something different.

Tengo que hablar Español. Especially if I have any hope of survival.


Arrival (bumps aside) was easy. Going to the States on business merits proctological examination. Here, we could have brought in an entire company and no-one would have been the wiser. In typical Tican form, we were immediately hit upon by a guy willing to take us to his hotel. Disappointed that we already had reservations elsewhere, he still drove us. For $6 each. Probably a bit on the expensive side, but we’re here, and that’s all that matters.

Tomorrow, we house-hunt. This should be interesting…