I really enjoy riding on a Costa Rican bus. So far, we've only done the Atenas-San José route and the Atenas-Palmares-San Ramon route.
Today, we had occasion to travel into San Jose but our business there delayed us from catching the 11:00 am bus Atenas bus at the Coca Cola bus station. The next bus to Atenas was at noon. Some time ago, my husband discovered he could get on the bus to Orotina and get off at Atenas, as Atenas is on one of the roads to Orotina.
It seems the Orotina bus runs on the half hour and, sure enough, there it was ready to go at 11:30 am. Also there was our "water bottle guy". I must get his name ... he shows up at the Coca Cola station with bags of bottled water, pop, juice, snacks and does a good trade. He knows all the bus drivers, their routes and the times they are supposed to arrive and leave. He appears to be trilingual (and maybe more) - we know he speaks English, French and Spanish. The first time we met him, he seemed to sense we were Canadians and started speaking French, a language we do not know.
He was a bit surprised to see us getting on a different bus but rose to the occasion and escorted us into the bus (which was crowded with only two seats left), "Lady, follow me", and I got a seat. Then he admonished a passenger to remove his computer case from the last vacant seat, and Lance sat down. We also got our two nice cold bottles of water and a high five. I can't imagine what the Ticos think of this but I think it raises our status somewhat from "turisto" to "maybe they actually live here".
By the way, the Orotina bus is 15 minutes faster than the Atenas bus, including a stop in Alajuela.
When lining up to get on a bus, be aware of what your position in line is. You may see people sitting on benches and not in the actual line. They are ahead of you. So be polite and kind of hang back. When the bus is ready to board, everyone knows exactly where they are in the lineup. Also, the elderly will automatically be put ahead of everyone else.
Another thing I noticed today on the Orotina bus was how both men and women gave up their seats for the elderly or those with a handicap.
One last thing: Costa Rican buses allow folks to board who are trying to raise money for various charities. They may be selling refrigerator magnets, music CD's, cards ... I've noticed the Ticos always give a few coins and so should we. The people trying to raise money work very hard. Today we contributed and got two cool cards which I am going to send to my mother, who is in a care home in Ottawa, Canada. She may no longer understand who they are from but she might enjoy the bright colours.
|The Two Cards|