Christmas day started early this year as we were cabbing it to O'Hare around 4:00am. We arrived half a sleep to a rude awakening of about 200 people waiting to check their bags in AA's International Flights line. You wouldn't think there'd be too many people traveling outside the States that early on Christmas morning... and apparently neither did American Airlines as they only had 4 counters open. Luckily the 15 family vacations infront of us were all heading to Mexico for the usual all inclusive that we were planning on avoiding. After spending an hour and a half in line and almost missing the cut off for check in we hurried through security and jogged to our gate just in time to grab McDonald's breakfast and board our flight. We connected in Dallas and had a couple hours to kill which consisted of calling family and sleeping before boarding our flight to San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica.
We arrived in San Jose around 4:30 pm, rolled through customs, found up our bags, picked up some Colones (the local currency) and then tried to locate the cab we had scheduled through our hotel. Like most countries in Latin America the cab stand at the airport is like a 3rd world trading floor. Amazingly for all the things we had planned through the course of our trip the most difficult part was getting the cab stand to understand that we had in fact prepaid
for the cab. Luckily Rikki knew enough Spanish to get things worked out; I myself know enough Spanish to communicate at the level of a caveman. Our cab driver Geraldo spent the entire ride talking to us about Fiestas, Chicas, and pointing out where all the rich Gringos lived. About 5 minutes into the ride we were relieved that we were leaving San Jose the next morning as there really wasn't a lot to see and the area of the city we drove through was fairly run down.
We finally got to Hotel Don Carlos located in downtown San Jose, checked in, dropped our bags off and headed downstairs for a Christmas dinner of cervezas and nachos in the hotel's "Pre Columbian Lounge". The hotel use to be a residence for Presidential families and was fairly well kept. Our room was fairly large and had a small balcony that overlooked the main lobby area. After dinner we took a walk outside hoping to see a little more of San Jose before we called it a night. There supposedly was strip of bars nearby however after passing about 5 street walkers within about 2 blocks (Costa Rica has a very high rate of prositution) we decided that we'd seen enough of San Jose. We headed back to our room and crashed around 10:00pm as we had an early morning and very long day ahead of us traveling to our next stop Manuel Antonio.