A Quiet Day in Playa Del Coco

Rain for most of the night. Heavy rain for the morning and by 11 the sky had broke to let some sun shine through. Gutters alongside the sides of the streets were flooded and the rental cars almost squeaky clean. We had a simple breakfast in, with our non-coagulated milk, and waited out the downpour. Once it was done though, we were out for a walk into town.

Playa del Coco is not all that exciting. A one strip town with a few seafood restaurants, a couple of sports bars, a few more beach restaurants also with TVs showing NFL and MLB playoffs. This is our third night here and we are starting to see patterns emerge. Retirees from parts much further north of here all seem to flock here for the winter. That flood of gringos is starting now and will get really rocking in a few more weeks. Canasta, softball, and bingo are just a sampling of the activities these like minded travelling retirees set up and attend many times a week. Some of those gringos will support those restauranteurs, some will get their tall boy beers from the grocery store and just hang out along the waterfront instead of paying the marginal price increase for sitting at a table.

The vendors here dont seem to be pushy. After a day or two, they start recognizing you as the No Gracias guy and they shy away. A nod and a smile. We spent a little time wandering through a couple shops today. Huge spaces with piles and piles of inventory. That inventory though was a lot of what we have seen everywhere though, only now with Costa Rica engraved or stitched in instead of Nicaragua or Guatemala. Pottery, beautiful hand carved wooden bowls, beaded bags, wire sculpture, leather goods. Lots of variety, but also a lot of the same. It is amazing to think how many dollars would have been spent to fill these stores with this stuff, and not see the product move out the door.

After browsing, we found a little cafe tucked out of the way for lunch. Melanie has found her ideal Costa Rican dish called a Casado. A little grilled chicken along with a dish of rice, beans, pico de gallo, and grilled plantains. This is something she could live off of. I countered her meal with a breakfast wrap (just in case hers was not good enough) and we added a couple smoothies. The price of each smoothie though is more than the all day happy hour pina colada just a few doors down, and that drink has a shot or two of rum in it. We might need to rethink our lunch choices.

Bellies full, we wandered back for a dip in the pool. On our way back we encountered a couple iguanas soaking up some sun. The larger bright green one scampered through the brush quickly and moved his 4 foot long body up a tree for fear we might pose a threat. His grey and black striped buddy on the ground didnt seem to be too scared of us. He was probably only about 3 feet long, but also pretty certain we weren’t interested in putting him in an aquarium to show off to friends under a fluorescent light. He hung out for a moment for pictures before moving into the shade. Maybe a little camera shy.

Our dip in the pool was busy. Sunday is a popular pool day. Maybe just a day to hang out and enjoy the amenities. A Polish-Canadian lady was cooling off in the pool and we got talking with her. She has a unit in the complex, but apparently we are staying in it. She was planning on being away until January, but came down for some last minute dental work. A direct flight from Toronto puts her in Liberia in just over 5 hours travel time, and with a good bus connection…6 hours to her door. With us being in her unit though, she got stuck with the unit we booked through Airbnb. She is paying a property manager to deal with the place while she is away, so thems the breaks if you are a last minute traveler.

The sky was clear enough for a sunset tonight, and considering we haven’t seen one here yet, we had to make our way down to the beach to see what we might have been missing. Well, the sun sets behind a hill instead of over the water…A minor surprise, but the colours of the sky look great and the beach is still full of people promenading their way back and forth in the fading daylight. We joined in and went in search of that happy hour pina colada, with maybe some food this time.

We found the lady from Port Hardy at the bar. 20 years down here and she has seen a lot of change to the town. She enjoys it here. She still doesn’t speak spanish and she gave up her truck for a golf cart a few years ago. Simple and easy to maintain. She continues to get by, and makes the occasional trip back up to Port Hardy to visit her dad, 89 and still living alone in the big 4 bedroom house she grew up in. She paid up her bill and we said our goodbyes. We will see her again on Tuesday for some Karaoke.

We finished up as well and headed down the street in search of chicken on a stick plus a cab. The lady we passed a couple times today we now stopped at. A single skewer, lovingly charred over a simple bed of charcoal, basted with a secret blend of olive oil infused with many different goodies all for 1000 colones (about 2.25). Meat on a stick should be cheaper than that, but this is now Costa Rica and convenience comes at a price. The stick was tasty, especially in the dark lonely street. Her raspy voice sharing details on how she was out until 4:30AM this morning selling to the drunk kids partying late last night. Then up again at 7AM to prepare more meat for the day. She does a nice job of her skewers.

So now we are in for the night. Not a whole lot to report today. Rain expected again tomorrow, so we will just have to see when and how much before determining what to do.