The First Day in San Jose: The Day Everything Went Wrong

¨Necissitas una taxi!¨As soon as I got off the plane, I was bombarded from all sides.

¨No, no gracias,¨I muttered. According to the workaway email, there is a bus somewhere. Tired, and overwhelmed, I walk to the closest bus terminal and hop on.

The bus driver speaks rapidly in Spanish. I realize I have no colones, the Costa Rican currency. All I have is American Dollars.

How could I be so stupid!?

Luckily, a kind stranger behind me gives me 550 colones.

¨Gracias,¨I say, embarrassed.

I hop on the bus. My phone is extremely low on battery. ¨Crudmonkeys.¨

Also, my phone is not actually connecting to the google towers, and seems to be convinced that I am still in Boston. About fifteen minutes into the ride, my phone connects.

I realize, at this moment, I am going in the wrong direction.

I summon up all the memories I have from Spanish class, and turn around.

¨Necisito va a la hostel Aldea. Esta acqui.¨I say to the nearest girl, pointing at my phone.

¨¨Si,¨she says, and rattles off exactly what to do in rapid Spanish.

Unfortunately, my high school Spanish classes hadn’t prepared me to actually understand instructions, merely to ask.

The look on my face must have communicated this clearly because the women beckoned me to follow her off of the bus, showed me to a line and said, espera. Wait.

At this point, I am silently fingering my prayer cube. Honestly, I have no idea how I´m going to pay for the bus. It´s only supposed to be about $1 USD.

The line winds in front of me. Now that my phone has managed to connect to the data tours, it´s battery reaches the 15% mark. Awesome. It is my first day here, and I have already managed to take the wrong bus, with no money.

And, my phone is dying.

Finally, a bus pulls up to the station. I get on and pull out my $20 note. The bus driver accepts it and states, Uno.

¨Si, pero es viente.¨I struggle to explain in Spanish.

Without giving me change, he waves me to a seat on the bus.

Not only have I managed to end up at the completely wrong end of town; I have also managed to lose $20.

Ah well. It couldn’t have been avoided. I sat down in the seat. I mean, at least I got a seat. The people boarding after me seemed to have standing room only.

I check my phone. Still twenty minutes.

Finally after a crowded and long bus ride we reach the terminal. The driver hands me 6000 colones.

Great. I´m not out $20 after all.

I get off the bus, and my phone dies. This, I remind myself, is precisely why I should be paying attention to directions. So, I just started walking toward the busiest looking street in search of a place to charge my phone.

Pizza Hut. Awesome. Didn’t the directions mention a Pizza Hut? My phone started to charge. I put down my backpack and looked around. I am absolutely famished. I have American dollars…. I could get a pizza.

No. I don´t want a pizza. I want a Chicken Caeser Salad, dammit!

Finally, my phone charges and I am able to locate my hostel. This is when I realize that the directions were absolutely perfect.

If only I had screenshotted them!

Upon arriving at the hostel, I was able to relax and recharge: an enormous blessing after navigating my way through a brand-new city, language and culture.






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