Settling in

It’s hot here. Jack and I are amazed that we left a relatively comfortable anchorage just below the equator and sailed well north, only to find ourselves in the most hot and humid place we’ve ever been. Working out on deck to clean Escape Velocity of the salt and grime that accumulates at sea leaves me pouring sweat within minutes. The idea of plugging in at a marina, usually repugnant to us, is starting to sound pretty good, especially if we can run our air conditioner. That bears looking into.

But first, the formalities. We spent a large part of the day clearing in to the country. It’s our fault it took so long because in our delirium from the heat we missed the Immigration office and walked nearly a mile further down the road and had to double back. Then after immigration we needed to take our papers to the Port Captain back the other way again. We greeted the shopkeepers standing in their doorways each time we passed and they must have wondered why these crazy gringos were doing laps through town.


Eventually we were stamped and welcomed, but the customs office isn’t open on Monday so we have to do the bureaucracy dance again on Tuesday to get the boat entered and legal.

On the way back from the Port Captain we stopped in a little shop for a local SIM card. The proprietor was very friendly and spoke some English. He was halfway through cutting down the standard size SIM for my iPhone when his mobile rang and he answered. At first he held the phone on his shoulder and continued working on my phone, but then he put my phone down and just talked and talked and talked. I have a minimal understanding of Spanish (I’m working on it) but I could tell this was a personal call. We waited patiently. And we waited. Several customers entered the shop and waited and listened and waited. Eventually they left in frustration. Finally, after a good 20 minutes, I reached over the counter and picked up my phone and my passport and said we were leaving. It was clear by his shocked look that he’d forgotten we were even there! He put down his phone without even hanging up and clipped the SIM card and reached again for my phone.

“This is incredibly rude,” I said. He was completely flustered. “You have customers,” I said. “You’ve lost customers because of this.”

“Sorry. Sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry,” he kept saying, genuinely embarrassed and, I think, sorry.

“Sorry,” he said again and he waited, his own phone poised in his hand while we gathered ourselves and left.

By now it was raining, a light tropical, cooling rain. We were glad for the waterproof backpack to protect our things but we didn’t even bother with the umbrella we’d brought. The rain felt so good after the simmering morning heat. We ducked into a large supermarket and walked up and down the aisles in wonder. There were items we hadn’t seen since Puerto Rico, Lizano sauce and fresh corn tortillas! I picked up a warm package and inhaled the lovely corn aroma. We’ve been so long without tortillas. Now we can have tacos and quesadillas and breakfast burritos and chilaquiles and all the other things I make when tortillas are fresh and abundant. Maybe I can even find a tortilla press to make our own because the one I thought I brought aboard has gone walkabout.

After the supermarket we dashed through the raindrops to the bakery next door. There was no coffee in evidence but after choosing our pastries we asked and of course they had coffee and would make a fresh pot.


Any place that has a coffee shop and good pastries is ok with us. We finally made it back to the marina around 2pm and nearly collapsed from the heat and from legs not used to so much walking.

In honor of our arrival in Costa Rica, and because it’s Monday and we always eat beans on Monday, and because I bought some Lizano Sauce, I made gallo pinto for dinner, the traditional Costa Rican beans and rice dish, following the directions my cousin Arturo sent me a few years ago. Good stuff.

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