Wow. Ninety days in Costa Rica.
We celebrated this milestone with a little vacay to Hollywood, FL. Ok, actually, we had to leave to country for 72 hours to renew our travel visa. This process, charmingly termed as a “visa run,” is mandatory every 90 days for perpetual tourists (another quaint term) or they face possible $100 per month over their passport date (I should include that “perpetual tourism” is frowned upon by the government). This is all very loosely regulated from what I have heard and experienced. For example: my passport was stamped and I was given 40 days… 30 days I could understand but 40? Either way I was anxious as I was over my allotted stay but not a single person looked at my passport stamp when going through Costa Rican and U.S. boarders. It could be possible that I am not sketchy looking character; I really can be quite charming.
All that aside, wow. Ninety days in Costa Rica. I know you can get on the Tica bus and travel to either neighboring countries for a fraction of the cost of a flight but we really needed to process, recharge and refresh. This is where this visa run comes into play.
We of course were homesick, for the States that is, but we really didn’t anticipate the longing we felt once in Florida. This trip was an opportunity for introspection, for us to change our surroundings and think about what we really want out of life. Well, the next year at least. We decided that now is not the time to move back to Traverse City, though still our end goal, we have so much more growing and exploring to do. Our plan as of now is to leave Costa Rica in June, spend a week in the 231, the drive to Detroit for a much anticipated Radiohead Concert. After that, everything is up in the air. We do know that we are done, for now at least, with Costa Rica. It’s been grand but we’re ready for a change.
The trip? It was amazing. We stayed (very reasonably) at the Hollywood Beachside Boutique Suites where we had the luxury of a full kitchen. One block from the beach and boardwalk, it was just the retreat we needed.
The hotel was exactly what we expected and perfectly fit our needs. The staff was friendly and very helpful at connecting us with transportation and they even offer beach towels and folding chairs so you don’t have to buy your own. I loved the color scheme and overall feel of our suite; direct TV, closet, hairdryer (first time using one in three months!), and an amazing bedroom to top it all off. The bedroom had the coolest shutters, so simple I know but it really made the space. The hotel has recently been renovated but the room was a bit dinged up and I couldn’t help giggle at the pencil lines still on the wall from hanging up photos. Oh, and there was chewed gum on our wall (feel free to laugh – we did).
The first night we walked the boardwalk and found an open air sports bar where I had a great microbrew – Angler Ale, or something like that – paired with a hefty BBQ beef sandwich with a modest side salad, served with their homemade red onion vinaigrette. Welcome to America. The next day was spent on the beach, watching the retirees stroll the boardwalk, soaking up some sun (that won’t fry me in an instant). Hunger struck and we walked to a nearby brewery, Organic Brewery, right on the strip for a brew and massive pretzel. I had an ale, Nick had a wheat beer.
Since this was technically a business trip, a stop to the casino was in order. We may have stopped to a Target on the way there… how convenient (I found a fedora, Gail!). It was the Hard Rock Seminole Casino, my first Hard Rock experience (people actually plan trips to these places?). Not much to report there other than it reminded us that we hate casinos, but worth it for the tax deductions. And Elvis’ pants; I took this picture for you grandma.
Our final day was spent on the beach, a swim in the ocean, two-for-one happy hour at a beach bar, then topped off with a trolly ride to Hollywood’s Expo Alfresco. It was completely coincidental that we were here at the same time but we are so glad we went. For $15 a person you were given a plate and expected to eat a lot. Wine samples we scattered about, as was live music, and the food represented all areas of Hollywood’s culinary scene. The $1 trolly ride to downtown really made the evening even more fun; functioning Wednesday-Sunday, there are three wooded trollies making rounds all over Hollywood every half hour.
We arrived home refreshed, although physically and mentally exhausted, and pleasantly surprised with our experience at immigration and customs. Overall a painless experience. I think I can speak for both of us in that, while we love it here in Costa Rica and our time has been life-changing, a countdown is in order:
~2 weeks until my mom is here!
49 days until we fly into Detroit, 50 days until Aaron and Chelsea pick us up for Traverse City
55 days until Radiohead in Detroit