Thursday, August 2, 2012

Why oh why have I not learned Spanish?...

Today was our day in Puntarenas, Costa Rica before five, count ‘em, FIVE days at sea before a short day in Los Angeles. Not to mention that between here and Tahiti we will have 14 days at sea with two ports (LAX and HNL). Between here and Sydney there are six ports and 22 sea days. I know, I know, you feel my pain.

Our port stop in LA surprises me because the ship has only planned FOUR tours and three of those are just bus rides to do your own thing and the fourth is a city tour by bus. Not exactly the most scintillating tours I’ve heard of. In Puntarenas, population about 4,000, they have 12 tours offered! They can’t find things to do in LA? I have rented a mini-van and the Grechs (Steve and Donna) and the Barlows (Chris and Phil) will join us in a tour of Warner Brothers, a “photo-op” at the Hollywood sign, and whatever else we can fit in before we have to be back at the ship at 4:30.
Our ship, the Sun Princess, and Randy on the dock at Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Pam at our lunch spot

Flat Stanley has enjoyed his beers in the various ports

Pam and a fellow passenger discussing cameras and computers at a local coffee shop with high speed internet

One of the things I don’t understand is the timing of port calls. We have four sea days to get from LA to Honolulu; WHY do we have to leave LA at 5pm? Can’t we add a quarter of a knot and leave at 7? I am more and more coming to believe that Princess is cutting corners at every opportunity. The Olympics are on right now for the only time in four years and we can’t watch because, to quote Princess, “we don’t have the authority to broadcast that channel.” Well, Princess, the only reason you don’t have the “authority” is because you won’t pay for it. It’s once in four years, for heaven’s sake, couldn’t you pony up the money for a channel that broadcasts the Olympics?

But in the grand scheme of things, that’s pretty small potatoes. We are having a great time in all the ports, especially the ones, like Puntarenas, that we’ve never been to before. Again, we didn’t do much other than go to an internet café—two cups of coffee and we got internet at about warp speed. Well, it was pretty slow actually but anything other than the ship is blazing fast!—and wander the town but we had some interesting experiences. First the (semi-) bad (that resulted in a good):

We walked to a restaurant that was recommended on the Wake Show on the ship, Gugas. We walked in and we standing looking for a table that had been cleared; we stood about a minute with a couple coming up behind us. She then just pushed past me and went and sat at the only table (but it had not been cleared yet). No excuse me, no do you want to share a table, nothing, just pushed past me. And I mean pushed—she had to push me to get past. Randy and I looked in utter astonishment at them. Then Randy pulled himself together and walked over and said, “In case you were wondering, we were standing there waiting for a table” and we walked out. We really should thank them for their rudeness because we then had a wonderful experience at lunch.

The good: We walked around town looking for a likely restaurant. Seemed like most of them were oriental. Now I have nothing against oriental food but we’re in Costa Rica! I wanted local food and beer! We had almost given up and were about to head back to Gugas when we spied an open restaurant on the beach that looked promising. By promising I mean there were locals in there eating and drinking. Nevermind that my Spanish is rudimentary at best, we gave it a try.

First, of course, we had to get a local beer; delicious! Then the ordering of food. The waiter was an old man, very lean, very friendly, very toothless. I wanted what I thought was the Costa Rican version of fish and chips so I ordered it, emphasizing the “pappas fritas” I thought. I think the waiter just decided what he thought I should have. He was right! I got a huge plate that was covered from one side to the other with some hanging off each side with—a whole grilled fish! The ugliest thing I think I have ever seen on a plate. But what the heck it was there and I was hungry. OMG! It was the best fish I have had since I ate a piranha in Brazil years and years ago! It was crunchy on the outside and sweet and tender and juicy on the inside. I’m sure we would not have gotten such a great fish if those folks hadn’t aced us out of a table!

The resident cat liked the scraps I gave her and our waiter gave her the remains of my fish when I was done.
Pam's fish lunch
I know, I know, I shouldn't do this!

She enjoyed my lunch as much as I did. Maybe more?
 All in all, a very pleasant stay in Puntarenas. Our next stop is El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciúncula or Los Angeles, otherwise known as LaLaLand.

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you on the Olympics No reason they shouldn't have them on. And you surely did well on the lunch. The fish looked wonderful. I would loe an Imperial on the beach in CR right now!