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2015- Rainforest Revisit - Part Two Caribbean Rainforest

2015 August 10-11 Touring Tortuguero


View 2014-St Croix & 2015 Compo and Doc Martin & 2015 Costa Rica (plus 1996 and 2008) & 2014 - Visit to Vermont & 2014 - Texas on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

10 August 2015
The bus for the group tour to Tortuguero was to pick us up between 6:15 and 7:00. We were up at 5 and down at breakfast at 6.
omelet chef

omelet chef


breakfast

breakfast


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Bob checked us out after breakfast. We sat in the lobby to wait. While we waited, I walked around and took photos of the hotel gift shop.
jewelry laid out in rows

jewelry laid out in rows

T shirts

T shirts


First to leave was a whole group of 30 traveling with a guide. Then came a red and black bus - that wasn't our bus either. Then came a tour leader from another lodge. Finally the Mawamba bus came. When the bus came, we found out that they had not been informed that I used a scooter. This was one of the several problems with this trip - it turned out that Pat Hewitt had failed to say anything to the tour company about my use of the scooter and as a result they were totally unprepared. The tour leader Anna Maria put us in a front seat which was fine as it allowed better photography. She gave almost all the narrative in English and Spanish although there were French and also Italians on board. We had several more people to pick up,
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and then we drove out of town
Dividing river between Heredia and San Jose

Dividing river between Heredia and San Jose


through the
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Clouds in Braulio Carrillo

Clouds in Braulio Carrillo


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which was a toll road. Our guide passed around a branch of a coffee tree which grows in the mountains in this area.large_IMG_2219.jpg
We stopped for breakfast at Guápiles. This town is on Highway 32 which is the road that goes between San Jose and the jumping off point for Tortuguero.
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Restaurant in the morning

Restaurant in the morning

Breakfast

Breakfast


The restaurant also gives a chance for a bathroom stop. The restaurant is a part of a group which includes two hotels - the Mawamba Lodge at Tortuguero being one of them. This was also a place where people would get on or off the bus tours to switch tours or to rent a car. Facilities include a bar, a family style restaurant (which basically means a buffet), which include typical Costa Rican and Caribbean foods and marked natural trails for tours. We were never told about the possibilities for nature trails.
fire hydrant on the way to La Pavona

fire hydrant on the way to La Pavona

old unused narrow guage railroad tracks

old unused narrow guage railroad tracks


The place where people get boats to Tortuguero is La Pavona.
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The bus goes down a long unpaved road,
Road in to La Pavona

Road in to La Pavona


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and turns at a small parking lot which has a sign with the boat times on it.
Sign with times of public boats

Sign with times of public boats


At the end of this road is a larger parking lot, and a place where the charter buses disgorge their passengers. There is a restaurant there where you can use the rest room for a small fee. This is also where you buy your boat ticket if you are not on a charter.If you are on a charter, you carry your luggage (or pay a small fee for a man with a handcart to take it for you) to the luggage boat for your hotel, and then slide down the muddy bank to the boat for the guests at that lodge. There is no dock. At the boat landing, Bob had to take the two suitcases and the scooter to the luggage boat.
Transfer point - bus to boat

Transfer point - bus to boat


Boats down the mud bank

Boats down the mud bank


boats as we left La Pavona

boats as we left La Pavona


River-canal side - muddy

River-canal side - muddy


supply boat

supply boat


On the bus, Anna, the tour leader for our Mawamba group gave rapid fire instructions on how things were to go when we got to the lodge. I don't know why we could not have a printed schedule (such as when lunch would be) and a map of the place. I got completely lost coming back from dinner. Anna did not really spend much energy helping us until we were back in San Jose at which time she expected a tip.
Kayakers on the river

Kayakers on the river


When we got to the lodge, they could not give me a room that I could scooter to.
Hotel manager assigning rooms

Hotel manager assigning rooms


The manager was most upset when he found out but they were completely full so they do not have anywhere to move us to and the room they have given us has five steps. First a step up to and down from a kind of pagoda,
cabins from central pagoda

cabins from central pagoda


and then the five steps into the room. Each time Bob has to pick up the 55 pound scooter and lift it up the steps. This is really not satisfactory. The best they can do is to move us to another room tomorrow. I did have to walk from the pagoda to the room. At lunch Bob could not find anything that he wanted to eat. So then he was hungry and dinner is not for an hour and a half. It took us so long to get to the room that almost everyone was seated when we got there, and all the people at our table were talking only in French.
Pasta for lunch

Pasta for lunch


Bob could not figure out how to work the ceiling fan - it is on a dial switch that we didn't see.
Cabin, one bed, shelf with blankets and window

Cabin, one bed, shelf with blankets and window


shelves in hotel room

shelves in hotel room


I was so exhausted from the walk to the boat that - after I tried and failed to get the wi-fi connection, I just fell asleep and slept until 4:30. I thought about swimming, but it would take too much effort to get my bathing suit on. I could not do the afternoon walk of the grounds anyway. Bob did it on his own and he said the path to town had big mud holes in it that the scooter couldn't do (although they ride bikes through there)
Lots of rain in the rainy season makes muddy walks

Lots of rain in the rainy season makes muddy walks


When I woke up I decided to take the computer to the internet place. But I had stripped down my suitcase so it wouldn't be heavy and I had nothing to carry it in. I had the bright idea of using a pillowcase. So we found a working plug and tried to log on.
IMG_2274.jpgWi-fi hot spot

Wi-fi hot spot


Wi-fi area near the office

Wi-fi area near the office


Good signal but no internet. Bob went to reception and they said to bring it in. With difficulty I climbed the steps with my computer. But he couldn't do it either. He had to recycle the modems for it to work. I sat in the only A/C place on the property to do the internet.

Anna Maria told us just to sit at a different place at dinner and we did - it was easy to find a seat because half of the group was out on the night rainforest walk
Coconut and chocolate for dessert

Coconut and chocolate for dessert


I signed up for the early boat trip in the morning but Bob does not want to go. He still has to get me to the meeting place by 5:30 a.m

11 August 2015

All last night it was raining, thundering and lightening. And Bob had the ceiling fan on - he likes air blowing on him and I do not. I tried to cover up with a sheet, but eventually had to go get a blanket. At 5 we got up and Bob said there was no way we should be going out in a boat in lightning and thunder. Also the paths are mostly covered, but not the path from our room to the pagoda. There was standing water on the path. So Bob said I could not use the scooter (which I agreed with). .
Morning rain

Morning rain


I put on my raincoat and put my camera in a baggie and set off with my cane. I was soaked (the bottom half of me) by the time I got to the pagoda and it isn't that far. The path from here was covered, but I was already wet. I soldiered on and got to the meeting place. They decided to postpone the tour about 40 minutes.
Waiting for the rain to stop

Waiting for the rain to stop


I think the boat drivers didn't want to go with the lightening either. But at 6:15, the rain had let up some and it had more or less stopped thundering. So we got in the boats. I paid for our Tortuguero passes (I was told it was $10 each, but Anna Maria charged us $15.00 each and no explanation has ever been given to me. The park website still says $10). Some people had it included as part of their package - but we did not. I sat in the middle seat and an English couple sat on either side of me. My glasses got rain on them
Selfie with cell phone in the rain

Selfie with cell phone in the rain


and I had nothing dry to wipe them off with. I was afraid to get my camera out to take photos so I used my cell phone. We saw quite a few toucans (but I couldn't get photos with my cell phone because they were too far away), a caiman, a basilisk lizard, a lizard that was swimming like a snake, a gallinule and a couple of jacana.
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Boat tour in the rain

Boat tour in the rain


There's a snake here?

There's a snake here?


Is that a snake

Is that a snake


Anhinga

Anhinga

Lizard

Lizard

Night heron

Night heron

House with low pedestrian bridge

House with low pedestrian bridge

Low bridge - regular boats can't pass

Low bridge - regular boats can't pass

No TV - this is jungle sign

No TV - this is jungle sign


Another boat in the rain

Another boat in the rain


Also monkeys and some bats. Our guide was Owen and he was very good.
Bats on the boathouse

Bats on the boathouse


On the roof of the boathouse

On the roof of the boathouse


The little boy behind me was most unhappy with the tour and wanted to go back to the hotel. It was really no tour for a child. When we got back, I was soaked through to my underwear on the bottom and not much dryer on the top. We were going to have to switch rooms and I didn't want to put the wet clothes in the suitcase, so I kept them on. We had breakfast
Breakfast omelet

Breakfast omelet


and then Bob told me that I needed to do a better selfie (with my eyes open)
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Anna Maria did not remember that we were switching rooms to one that I could get the scooter to at 10 and she scheduled the walk to the village then - that was one thing I really wanted to do which I thought I could definitely do. But it conflicted. Also she was going to walk both ways - I might have done it if we had gone in a boat, but she said there were no boats available. I do not think that there were no boats available. I think it was just easier for her to walk rather than hire a boat.
Necessities and Souvenirs shop near our new room

Necessities and Souvenirs shop near our new room


Anyway we moved, and then I removed my wet things and changed into dry ones and tested out the internet, which I can get at this cabin. I talked to a couple of people who did the turtle nesting walk and decided that the way they described it, I could not possibly do it. One of the ladies said she lost a shoe in the mud. So I have not signed up for it. That's the two things I wanted to do and I am not going to get to do them. The grounds of the Mawamba hotel were nicely landscaped with many flowering plants. While I was drying myself out, Bob walked around the grounds and took some photos of the butterflies for me - he said I couldn't get there because they have big round stepping stones on the trail and some of them were underwater.
non-scooter/wheelchair path

non-scooter/wheelchair path


Pool during the day at Mawamba

Pool during the day at Mawamba


Bluish iguana

Bluish iguana

Iguana on the grounds of Mawamba

Iguana on the grounds of Mawamba


Kayak storage

Kayak storage


Flowering plants

Flowering plants


Flowering plants

Flowering plants


Ginger

Ginger


Flowering plants

Flowering plants


The lodge was breeding butterflies and he took photos in the butterfly enclosure
Butterfly chrysalis

Butterfly chrysalis


Butterfly up by enclosure top

Butterfly up by enclosure top


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Butterfly feeding station

Butterfly feeding station


- particularly the blue morpho butterflies. These butterflies only show the brilliant blue back of their wings when they are flying. When they are sitting still, their wings are brown and look like bark
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Blue morpho in the center

Blue morpho in the center


Blue morpho feeding on left

Blue morpho feeding on left


Blue morphos flying

Blue morphos flying


Then we had lunch. The meals were buffet style and we ate at big tables. Each guide had their tables marked with their name so we would sit at the correct one.
Part of the salad bar

Part of the salad bar


lunch plate

lunch plate


When we were getting ready to go on the afternoon tour, one of my sandals (which I bought for the trip in 1996) came apart. So after the tour, I put them in the trash as the soles were separating. I think it would be easier and probably more efficient to buy some new one rather than try to get a repair. I hoped the afternoon tour would be better. We stopped for the guides to pay for the park passes.
village from the river

village from the river


On the way to get park passes from the boat

On the way to get park passes from the boat


Guides lined up to pay

Guides lined up to pay


Our guide in the Spanish speaking boat after paying

Our guide in the Spanish speaking boat after paying


Building the new park entrance

Building the new park entrance


Trees above the river

Trees above the river


and at least I was able to use my 300 mm lens to take some photos of animals in the trees, so I got some reasonable ones. I didn't think the guide was as good as Owen, but at least I wasn't all wet. We had three boats this afternoon and our boat was all people from California except us. We saw quite a few herons and anhingas - but no toucans. There was a basilisk lizard but it jumped into the water before we could get a photo and there was an olive keeled snake but I could not see it. We saw many more different kinds of birds when we were here in 1996.
Heron in flight

Heron in flight


Tiger heron

Tiger heron


Blue heron

Blue heron

Male anhinga

Male anhinga

Female anhinga

Female anhinga

Green heron

Green heron


We also saw quite a few Howler monkeys - on trip in 1996 we saw all three kinds of monkeys, but on this trip, just the Howlers
Howler monkey

Howler monkey

Monkey in a tree

Monkey in a tree

Monkey sitting in a tree

Monkey sitting in a tree

Monkey

Monkey


There was an amusing incident - one of the monkeys decided to hang upside down and eat fruit that was below him on another branch.
Monkey unzoomed

Monkey unzoomed


There were a couple of little girls sitting with me and they were pointing and giggling and one of them said the monkey had a pink vagina. The monkey was quite away off, and I couldn't see that well, so I zoomed in with my 300 mm lens and took a look. It was a male monkey, so he did not have a vagina
Monkey with 300 mm lens

Monkey with 300 mm lens


Dinner was fish, rice, beans salad and spaghetti with a 'Costa Rican' dessert). The salad had hearts of palm. I didn't eat much - I just had trouble wanting to eat. They have taken away the palm that I park by - I guess I was too hard on it.
Salad with hearts of palm

Salad with hearts of palm


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pool at night

pool at night

Mawamba bar after dark

Mawamba bar after dark

August 12th Returning to San Jose
In the morning, it was raining fairly hard. and the route from our cabin to the eating area/cafeteria includes an area by the pool that is not covered. We went to breakfast and I had an omelet and cinnamon bread. Their cinnamon bread is really good. After breakfast, I put on the wet clothes from yesterday morning (which were still kind of damp) and packed. We got ourselves out to the reception area by 9. Anna Maria took our key, but they asked Bob to go back and tried to charge him for a second tour. Bob explained that I went by myself. I was on the scooter and draped my raincoat over my shoulders and somehow the cord to tie the bottom caught on and wrapped around the scooter wheel and pulled the raincoat apart. It was ripped right up the back. I threw it out. Bob claims he could have fixed it but I think not. So I need another one of those too. We loaded the luggage into the boats and we got on also and we ran down the canals mostly in the rain
Passing the village on the way back to San Jose

Passing the village on the way back to San Jose

Passing by

Passing by

Colorful

Colorful

Buildings over the water

Buildings over the water

Tour boat at the park as we leave for San Jose

Tour boat at the park as we leave for San Jose


to where the bus was to meet us. The landing was just as muddy as before except that now we couldn't just slide down - now we had to go uphill. My pants were a little long and were dragging in the mud and of course I could not use the scooter.One of the guys from the boat helped me and together we struggled up to the restaurant where we were to wait. I tipped him $5.00. He was a big help. I persuaded Bob that he had to get help from the guy with the wheelbarrow to get the luggage from the boat up to the restaurant - La Pavona restaurant in the rain

La Pavona restaurant in the rain


- he couldn't even wheel the scooter in the mud. I sat on the stool and waited. Bob found me and left his bag and went back to get my bag (the handle on it broke so that makes three things) and the scooter. I made my way over there (a guy from England carried Bob's bag over. We sat and waited for our bus - the English guy said it was green and I said it was orange. (It was orange, but the seats inside were green). We loaded onto the bus but Anna Maria was two people short. She said that the agency said there was a family of six, but there was only a family of four. This caused a delay. The driver said we would be at the restaurant for lunch by 12:30 even if he had to get 25 tickets. And we were. No tickets, but I noticed that he did not slow down at all for the school zones
Rain through the bus window

Rain through the bus window


I took photos on the drive, as is my habit, to show interesting parts of Costa Rican life
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Bus stop - Guápiles

Bus stop - Guápiles


Restaurant sign - Guápiles

Restaurant sign - Guápiles


When we got to the restaurant for lunch,
Lunch dishes - two salad plates and chicken rice

Lunch dishes - two salad plates and chicken rice

Sweet fruit dessert

Sweet fruit dessert


most people got off the bus. Apparently this restaurant is also a transfer point where there are rental car people and also buses transfer passengers from one tour to another.
Luggage at transfer point

Luggage at transfer point


our guide Anna Maria in the white shirt

our guide Anna Maria in the white shirt


but a couple of us went back to San Jose.
Signs on poles - A Soda is family-run restaurant like a diner in the USA

Signs on poles - A Soda is family-run restaurant like a diner in the USA


Anna Maria took our luggage in to the hotel (now that we were the only ones on the bus, she wanted her tip), and the hotel clerk remembered us. It was only about 2:45, but our room was ready and they got our luggage out of storage and brought it up too. The elevators are too small for me on the scooter and the luggage cart too so we went up on two separate elevators. This time we had a room on the 8th floor.
elevator area on the 8th floor

elevator area on the 8th floor


shower head

shower head

grab bars

grab bars

bathroom mirrors

bathroom mirrors


View from the 8th floor

View from the 8th floor


I decided I wanted to go to the Jade Museum, but the website said they closed at 3:30 (I found out later that it was wrong - they didn't close until 5). So I tried to call Mario who brought us in from the airport but neither of his phones worked. So I emailed him and he called me right back. He is to pick us up at 8:30.

Bob asked me what I wanted to do for dinner and I said he should walk to Burger King again, and he didn't hear me. So after it got dark, he asked again, and I said Room Service and he said they wouldn't have anything. They do, but it is a little expensive. So I told him what I wanted and handed him the menu, and he decided to go to Burger King after all. They are getting to know him because he wants one Whopper with cheese (for me) and one without (for him) and they have to get the one boy who speaks English to take his order..
dinner

dinner

August 13th- I had an idea that I could print out stuff from FindAGrave at the visitor's center. So I did that, and while I was there, I looked up the serpentarium again and it said that it wasn't open except Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So we couldn't go there today and that made things simpler. (assuming that the website was up-to-date).

So today we would go to the Jade Museum. In 2014, a NEW building was been built for this museum which covers the life in Costa Rica from 500 B.C. to 900 A.D. Not just jade but other aspects of life. This museum might be best visited before the Gold Museum which starts at about 900 A.D..

The Jade Museum website said it opened at 8:30, Mario came at 8:30 as promised, and drove .... to a place that didn't look like the Jade Museum. Turned out it was the place where the Jade Museum had been. So we went to the new Jade Museum, and I took the scooter up to the door
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- new hours..... it does not open until 10:00. All the websites (as of 2015) still had the information (address, hours,admission) of the old museum. The current museum hours are 10 to 5 every day

So - I decided we should go to Obrero Cemetery while we were waiting for the Jade Museum to open. Obrero apparently means Worker, and it was next to the big General Cemetery for all the big wigs. Mario backed into the gate. Bob and Mario got out the scooter (Mario said just to put the back of the seat down and not to fold it up - it went OK in the back of his van). I started out down the central aisle taking photos and Bob apparently misunderstood or wasn't thinking because he did the same. Then when we met up, he decided to do some side areas that I couldn't get to. I got back to the gate, and we couldn't find him. He was wearing a dark plaid shirt and I thought he was wearing red. But eventually he came back We spent about a hour there and took 290 photos
Obrero Cemetery gate with watchman

Obrero Cemetery gate with watchman

Main path inside the cemetery

Main path inside the cemetery

Graves in Cementerio Obrero

Graves in Cementerio Obrero

Graves in Obrero Cemetery

Graves in Obrero Cemetery

Back to the Jade Museum.
Logo for the museum

Logo for the museum


This is a very fancy and very well done museum which has five floors. The admission was $15.00 each, but the girl looked at me on the scooter and said "I will only charge you $5.00 each". Maybe there is a discount for old people.Or maybe we looked particularly poor.
looking down to the entrance

looking down to the entrance


looking up

looking up


There were six "Halls" to visit.
1) Threshold - ground floor - level 1. This has the jade item which is the museum logo
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Jade

Jade


I tried the face painting yourself to look like a shaman (you took a photo of yourself and used the computer to do the painting - not actual paint) but I was pretty bad at it.
interactive face painting book

interactive face painting book


2) The Jade - level 2. This area shows where Jade comes from (no natural jade in Costa Rica) and how it is prepared and used.
Origins of Jade - map in the center of Hall 2

Origins of Jade - map in the center of Hall 2


Tools for working with Jade - Hall 2

Tools for working with Jade - Hall 2


stages where jade is cut and worked

stages where jade is cut and worked


3) The Day - level 3. Activities of daily life
Jade spoons hollowed at one end

Jade spoons hollowed at one end


I was more or less looking for the little painted ceramic horse that I saw before. Didn't find it. I had also forgotten how tactual but non-sparkly jade was.
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family group

family group


fishing

fishing

4) The Night - level 3 Mythology and war
War - illustration from Hall 4 - The Night

War - illustration from Hall 4 - The Night


alligator as a fertility object

alligator as a fertility object

offerings

offerings


shaiman blowing smoke from leaves and tobacco for healing

shaiman blowing smoke from leaves and tobacco for healing


burial practices

burial practices

burial bundle

burial bundle

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5) Ancestral Memory - level 4. What archaeology teaches us
Pottery in the Jade Museum

Pottery in the Jade Museum


Ceramics at the Jade Museum

Ceramics at the Jade Museum


stone sphere for ceremonial purposes

stone sphere for ceremonial purposes


6) Visitable Collection - level 5. Many cases of objects made from different materials from the three regions of Costa Rica.
Hall 6 - Visitable Collection

Hall 6 - Visitable Collection


Stone owl at the Jade Museum

Stone owl at the Jade Museum


Stone owl with folded wings carrying an inverted carved head. According to religious beliefs, some species of birds carried souls to the afterlife or the spirit world
stone barrels and seats

stone barrels and seats

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Different stone objects to touch and discover the texture of pre-Columbian stone objects. (The sign was also in Braille)

We saw a couple that were at Mawamba there. We were there about a hour (could have been double that as we shorted the last two levels) We took 190 photos there - mostly Bob took them. He is very methodical about it.

I decided to try to find Cemeterio de Lomas de Salitral where some famous person named Ivan "Coach" Murrell is buried. Mario put it in his GPS but when we got there it wasn't a cemetery and no one knew that there was a cemetery around there. But we did pass another cemetery - La Piedad. So we went there. This turned out to be one of those fancy private cemeteries with flat markers.. We were only there for about 15 minutes. It was now noon.
Entrance to Camposanto la Piedad

Entrance to Camposanto la Piedad


When I looked at my photos later, I wondered about the one for Jose Vargas.
Grave of Jose Antonio Gutierrez Vargas

Grave of Jose Antonio Gutierrez Vargas


It turns out that Jose Antonio Gutierrez Vargas was a comedian and folklorist who was better known as Mena Olegario Barrantes. He began broadcasting on June 15, 1947 at Radio City. The character of Olegario Mena entertained several generations of Costa Ricans. He also starred as Don Tranquilino Ordonez with Carmen Granados who played Macedonia. He was part of the cast that performed the famous Costa Rican folk tune "The Purple Orchid" which was written by his brother Robert and Carlos Maria Lopez Castro in 1936. In addition to radio shows, he also appeared on television and in the theatre.

I decided that we probably had one more cemetery in us and Mario said he knew where Desampriados Cemetery was. He could park on the sidewalk - there was a parking attendant who could help you park and you would tip them. This was right on the street - not in a parking lot. I was interested in this cemetery because Desampriados means Abandoned. And it isn't. Apparently Desampriados is the name of the place and this is the municipal cemetery. Over the gate it says Quien Cree En Mi No Morira. Which means something like "Whoever believes in me will never die".
Gate of Desamparados Cemetery with Bob and me

Gate of Desamparados Cemetery with Bob and me

Graves in Cementerio Desamparados

Graves in Cementerio Desamparados

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This was a very very big cemetery. Between us we took 356 photos. We were there about 45 minutes

Then Mario took us through the McDonalds drive through and we got food

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and went back to the hotel. I paid him $20/hour for five hours worth.

Bob went out to Burger King again (this time they asked his name and he said Bob and they wrote down MOB which was amusing to the employees. Then he went and got milkshakes at POPS (which we also did in 1996).

Posted by greatgrandmaR 12:49 Archived in Costa Rica

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Comments

Anna Maria seems little lazy..Did you tip her in the end?

The Mawamba Lodge looks beautiful, shame they weren't informed about the scooter..

Toni likes fans to be on too and then he wonders why I am cold and have warm clothes on and he has just shorts and t shirt..

Would the boy been happier if the weather were better or was he too young to enjoy just watching nature and animals? The boat trip seems nice, hope you weren't too cold with your soaked clothes!

by hennaonthetrek

Yes, I thought Anna Maria was not very helpful. Yes we tipped her, but not as much as we would if she had been better. The Lodge was great. When we were there before we didn't stay there because it was more expensive.

I think the boy was just too young and he was also too cold and wet to enjoy looking at birds and lizards at 6 in the morning. My children would have been OK at that age, but they would have been prepared.

The weather was quite warm (It was August) and there was no A/C so wet clothes were not a problem except for not wanting to pack them and get everything else wet. It was humid and they didn't dry quickly.

by greatgrandmaR

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