From San Jose I rode a short distance to Alajuela, Costa Rica, so I could catch a flight home from the nearby San Jose airport. It turned out that the flight back home to Vancouver, Canada, and the flight back, were not as routine as I thought they would be.
In Alajuela I rented an Airbnb for a month, including the 2 weeks I would be at home. The cost was under my accommodation budget and had a secure place to store my motorcycle. Perhaps I could have found secure parking at a cheaper cost, but this was a place I could stay for a few days before leaving and a known place to come back to without have to move everything a couple of times.
For the first time, I used the Uber app to get an Uber ride to the airport. Unlike most things in Costa Rica, it was cheap! Although the driver was preoccupied with sex. I guess when he found out I was traveling alone he thought that was what I would be interested in talking about.
I got to the airport and my gate on time. Unfortunately, I couldn’t say the same thing about my flight 🙁 It was late. I was taking a flight from San Jose to Houston and then Houston to Vancouver.
Soon I heard my name called on the intercom. Yup … My flight was so late I would miss my flight to Houston. I had two choices, catch a flight tomorrow from San Jose, or go to Houston and catch a flight home tomorrow from there. I decided just to start all over again tomorrow.
Copa Airlines was pretty good in their response. They escorted me past immigration to get my luggage, then past Customs. I then met with a ticket agent to reserve my flights for tomorrow. The best deal was a 4 am flight to Panama City, then to Houston and finally Vancouver. The first 2 flights were in First Class.
With that settled they got me a taxi to a nearby Best Western where they gave me a $12 meal voucher.
By 6 pm I closed my blinds, set the alarm for 1 a.m., and went to sleep.
1 a.m. came early 🙁
The first 2 flights were good. But by the time I got to Houston I just didn’t want to go any further.
I arrived in Vancouver at 10:30 and was so glad to be met by my daughter. A long day!
Kids and Grandkids
The main reason for going home now was to be with my kids and grandkids while it was still summer in Vancouver. By far the hardest part of my adventure is being away from them for extended periods of time.
So I REALLY enjoyed spending time with them. Going to English Bay, Ambleside Park, White Rock, Langley, Stanley Park, bowling, picnics, patios … Of course there was a lot of swinging, see-sawing and digging in the sand with the grandkids. So much fun.
Here we were watching kids jump off of the pier at White Rock along with watching crabbers bring up their catch.
I went once with my grandkids to White Rock, but I also managed to sneak off to enjoy it on my own. It is definitely one of my favorite places in the world.
One thing I made time for was to see friends who I hadn’t seen since high school over 40 years ago! A very surreal experience. My high school experiences are a bit of a blur now. I don’t remember a lot. But seeing Ralph, Colette and Eileen brought back memories, as did looking through old school yearbooks. I haven’t been in touch with many from high school since those days, but they had been. It was fun hearing about people from years ago and where they are now. Amazing how far we have all come and the experiences we have had. Hard to believe. I think time and experiences tend to mellow us from those crazy high school days. There seemed to be all these group statuses back then. At least that was my perception. But not anymore.
Anyways … thanks Ralph, Colette and Eileen for the good time and for your support. The nicest people ever.
My 2 weeks at home went by fast. Thanks Mike, Amy, Mia, Ben, Car, Ian and Nick for such an enjoyable time and your hospitality.
My flight back to Costa Rica was Vancouver to Los Angeles to Panama City to San Jose. As I checked into my Air Canada flight to LA there was a problem already. Their screen said I needed to show a ticket onward out of Costa Rica. I explained to them that my motorcycle was in Costa Rica and I would be riding it out of the country. I was just away for 2 weeks to visit my kids. They were good about it and let me through, but warned I could be sent back to Panama by Costa Rican immigration.
As a precaution I booked a hotel in Panama to show immigration that I was planning to leave the country.
In LA I had to walk to a different terminal to catch my Copa Airlines flight to Panama City. LA is my least favorite airport in the world. The walk seemed to take forever as I went through tunnels, and up and down escalators. But I finally made it to the gate.
As they started to board the plane I heard my name called on the intercom. I went to the desk. The clerk said I needed to show a ticket out of Costa Rica before I could board the plane. Once again I explained my circumstances. Unlike Air Canada, they didn’t care. I HAD to show a ticket out of the country or I couldn’t board the plane. A hotel reservation was not good enough. It had to be a ticket proving I was going to be leaving the country! I continued to argue that they never cared about this when I entered the country on my motorbike. The clerk said I was just wasting time and advised me that even a bus ticket out of the country would work.
The pressure was now on. The plane was boarding as I scrambled on line to purchase any bus ticket out of Costa Rica.
I heard them directing people to take my luggage off of the plane!
I found a bus ticket on line! They would send me an invoice and I would have to pay it and then they would send me a ticket via email. That all takes time. I begged them to hurry. The invoice came, however, when I tried to pay it I couldn’t. It wanted a Paypal account, even though I was paying by credit card, and for some reason I couldn’t access my account.
By this time everyone had boarded the plane. The last call was made. It looked like I would miss my flight and be stuck in LA. I let out a huge sigh cuasing everyone to look at me. The clerk came over to me and said, “show me what you have.” I showed her my invoice.
September 10, to Nicaragua, that’s all she needed to see. She didn’t need to see how I paid for it. Of course I hadn’t and never would. So all I needed was an invoice of a ticket leaving the country that I never plan on using to PROVE I was leaving the country. It all made no sense. But at that point I didn’t care. I rushed onto the plane.
In Panama City no one asked me the same question.
In Costa Rica as approached customs I felt like I was a criminal and could be sent to jail ha ha. I got up to the booth and the agent only wanted to know how long I would be there. That was it. He gave me 90 days and I was off!
The whole thing was stupid. The world is not made for long term motorcycle travellers. It is only made for vacationers or immigrants.
Now the big question was whether or not my luggage would arrive since I heard them taking it off. It did! When I saw it I was so relieved. I made it back.