Well…we had quite the adventure yesterday. It should have been one of the more simple days on our voyage, but it ended up being a 12 hour excursion with no end in sight. It all started on our walk to Tamarindo. We were heading to town to rent a motor scooter for a day so that we could go to a festival/carnival in Huacas, a town located between Playa Grande (where we are staying) and Tamarindo. The festival is famous in the area, and draws a very large crowd. Anyway, we made it to Tamarindo without any problems and we were on our way to get our scooter, or so we thought. The scooter rental was ½ a mile away from the beach and once we arrived we were informed that there was a deposit required for the scooter (the last time I was here there was no deposit required, apparently some of our fellow gringos have taken advantage of the rental policy over the past few years). There was a minor communication error between the Hertz agent and I over the exact dollar amount of the deposit. I thought he said that there was a $300 deposit…I was wrong. When he tried to charge my card it was declined, again and again and again. We tried to call the credit card company at the Hertz office but it would not go through.
So we started a mission to try and find a public phone so that I could get a hold of my credit card company to figure out what was going on, and of course I did not bring my iphone along. So we had to walk the ½ mile back into town to find a pay phone that we could not understand how to use (yes, we are college grads). We then went into the most tourist friendly hotel we could find (aka modern landscape and white crowds hovering the front desk), and used their phone to get everything squared away with Visa.
So, back up the hill ½ a mile to the Hertz agent and guess what, my card was declined again, and again. So back to the hotel again, ½ a mile and a phone call later…This time the operator informed me that Hertz was trying to charge me $600 for a deposit, not $300, now it all makes sense because I don’t have $600 on my card. I could have probably found a beat-up scooter for sale around here at that same price. At this point we decided screw the festival and the scooter, let’s just grab some lunch, some Cuban cigars and drink our sorrows away. Moral of the story....learn better Spanish (and don’t put Justin in charge..j/k–ra)
While enjoying our lunch, our waiter informed us that Huacas was only a $10 taxi ride from where we were at. So, we got a cab and headed for the festival anyways. However, when we arrived in Huacas the festival grounds were empty, we were 3 hours early. We then convinced a local bar to open early for us and we attempted to wait for the festival to begin. The only problem was that this town was in the middle of nowhere and we were the only gringos in sight. After our second beer we made the decision to head home while there was still daylight, we both did not feel comfortable staying by ourselves until after dark. We hadn’t seen a taxi go by in over an hour and a half, so our options home looked liked hitchhiking or walking, whatever came first.
As we left the bar we began to walk down the highway towards home. We made it about 400 yards when we heard someone call out “hey Justin, Rachelle!” To our surprise it was our neighbors here at the hotel, they had also arrived at the festival early, only they had a car. After explaining our day to them we all decided to wait for the festival at the bar we were just at.
Once the sun set the festival began. There was loud Latin techno music blaring, stray dogs running around, and the best carnival food we have ever had. We sampled the fried chicken (best ever), homemade tamales (wrapped in a giant palm leaf), and churros with some sort of caramel goo injected into them, they were amazing! The evening was capped off when the local men began to ride bulls in the rodeo ring. This was very, very amateur bull riding and three of the riders had to be taken away by ambulance after being gored by the bull. Needless to say it was a lot of fun and an experience like no other.
After the festival our friends gave us a ride and we thankfully made it home safe and sound around 10pm. It was an incredible day. We were tired, frustrated, nervous, scared, relieved and thankful all within a short amount of time. It was one of those days that brought us closer together and one of the stories that we will always remember when looking back on this trip.
Today we are relaxing and will soon be attending a Super Bowl party at one of the local hotels. Go Cardinals!
P.S. we posted new pictures