Day Three - The Whole Story
Whew! Much better after some sleep! I went in to the dentist at noon on Tuesday and left with three new beautiful white fillings! (I wasn't getting cavities filled, rather they were digging out old - like 40 years old - fillings and replacing them.) I also had a deep cleaning because of the old thing again and I'd like my gums and teeth to stay in my head. Neither was bad and I was out before 1:30. The soreness last night was from where the novacaine shots went in, not from the actual work. By noon today, my mouth was feeling mostly normal. But, back to Tuesday. The dentist added an appointment for Thursday which caused us to scramble - we had planned a two-day mini trip thinking I did not have to go back until Friday. So, Tuesday evening we were restless and ended up taking the hotel shuttle to the local mall. My mom and I are terrible shoppers so you know we were restless. On the shuttle we befriended a really funny lady named Maru from Mexico. The hotel's internet had been down all afternoon and she was headed to the mall for wifi (she was traveling for work). We agreed to meet up at 8 to catch the shuttle at 8:15.
My mom and I wandered around the giant mall. It was weird, even though most of the signs are in Spanish, prices are given in colones and dollars. And, many of the stores are exactly the same as in a high end US mall. After the second floor of the mall we had no idea where the hell we were, much less what country we were in. I've also decided the constant presence of security everywhere in San Jose to be more disconcerting than comforting. I have yet to feel threatened - maybe because of the security? - but they make things feel ominous rather than a safer. Fortunately, we found a haven in awesome Italian restaurant in the back of the mall.
We had a beautiful meal. One thing I've noticed about Costa Rica is that while they don't really seem to have a national cuisine, everything they make is with super-fresh, real ingredients. I've seen eggs coming into the hotel and restaurants that are clearly from local sources. We have yet to have a bad meal. This mall restaurant - a pizza place - had trained waiters, real silverware and beautiful food. At the end of the meal, my mom looked at the receipt very seriously considering it until the waiter cautiously stepped in and flipped it right-side up. It was beyond funny. Fortunately, my mom has a sense of humor too.
We met up with Maru at 8 and the three of us waited. And waited. And waited. No shuttle. We tried to call the hotel, no answer - obviously the internet was still out. We decided to hail a cab. Everywhere we've been has a guy who hails cabs. This no exception. A cab pulled up and Maru skipped talking to him and hopped in the front seat and started negotiating the price in rapid Spanish. The cabby kept looking at me and mom. Finally, Maru said it was good and we should get it.
Half way back to the hotel (mind you this is a 4 mile ride) the cabby stops at a toll booth and refuses to move. We were in heavy traffic. Maru got in his face again with the rapid Spanish but even I recognized a few good curse words. Finally we gave him change for the tolls. Maru berated him for the rest of the trip to the hotel.
Once back in the hotel, we tried to pay our portion and Maru refused, instead going after the wee little girl managing the front desk. It was a sight to see. From what little Spanish I have, she was more angry that the hotel left me and my mom (and rightfully so in hindsight) than herself. The promised to reimburse Maru and apologized. With no internet, I couldn't write and Maru couldn't work so, the three of us went to the lounge for wine. There, Maru explained that she had negotiated the price with the cabby by telling him that "the blondes are with me and they are fluent so be careful what you say." The three of us were screaming laughing at this point. My mom and I are (and look) about as fluent as bobble-head dolls. But the fact that she claimed us as her blondes was beyond funny. The next hour or so was spent talking about our families and the stuff that women talk about. And laughing. A lot.
Despite my painful mouth, last night was fun and we made a new friend! Maru headed home this morning to get home for her grandfather's 90th surprise birthday party. Send a good thought their way. (And, give me and Bing a call if you ever need a couple of blondes who are fluent in Spanish.)