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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

She Travels By Herself to Alajuela

One of my goals here in Costa Rica is to be able to travel around by myself when I want to, after having been indoctrinated along with someone else, like my husband.

So today I went off to Alajuela by myself on board the Atenas-Alajuela bus,  600 colones, or about $1.20 CAD for an hour's trip. I boarded the 0900 bus and got to Alajuela just before 1000.

I was aiming to get to Llobets, a landmark department store in Alajuela. I knew enough to get off the bus and head right, and I did that. I had the directions for Llobets and the street addresses but - of course - there are no street addresses!  Defeated, I stopped and asked a couple of smart looking local policemen/women and they were both so helpful. I brightened up when I realized I could understand quite a bit of what they were saying in Spanish and I found my way to Llobets.

Llobets is three stories high, sells men, womens' and childrens' clothing plus linens, etc. I was hoping to buy shorts, a couple of dresses, some light weight trousers, and maybe a few cotton shirts.  Doom!!!

No shorts! no trousers that fit me! no dresses! no shirts that fit me! I did buy a pair of smart looking sandals, so I don't have to walk around in flip flops when we go to town - they are kind of frowned upon. Also bought a pair of high water pants. That's it - I tried on a pile of clothes and nothing fits. The sizes are not like we are used to in Canada, but then Ticas are smaller built than we are.

But -- I am so pleased that I was able to shop and buy in Llobets - not a word of English is spoken there, or so it seemed to me. I wanted size 8 shoes and asked for ocho (eight) and got them!! This is the best way to learn a foreign language.

Found my way back to the bus station and boarded the Atenas bus just before it was ready to leave.  No seats available ... so stood all the way to Atenas. That's OK, lots of fresh air blowing in the windows. Caught a cab in Atenas to take me home to Vista Atenas. Had a cold shower to cool off. Think I will have to do on line ordering for my clothing. But I had a blast doing this all by myself!!


  1. Love your blog! Thanks for sharing this part of your life with friends & strangers! I'm from the Pacific NW (Oregon) & am starting my travels to places I may retire to. I've hooked up w/a local group with ties to CR, including a homestay exchange. I'll be hosting two Ticas next week. Perhaps in Feb. I'll get to go to CR for a month. More later - just wanted to introduce myself! Gaby

  2. Thanks so much, Gaby! My goal with this blog was to hopefully help others who want to move to Costa Rica in some way and also to keep my friends and family up-to-date on what we are doing all in one fell swoop.

    We love Oregon - it's such a beautiful state. You are smart to make CR contacts now and your Ticas will be a huge source of information and later referrals.

    Keep me posted on your CR plans as they unfold....Diana

  3. Hmmm, I meant to write: "to hopefully help others in some way".

  4. Oh, thanks for the quick response! One of my Ticas is from Liberia, the other from Grecia. I think you are in the central valley? Not sure exactly where you are, I'll haul out the map & look... More later about this group I've found, too. It's an Oregon/Costa Rica exchange program for teens, adults & improvement projects (ala Peace corps/Mercy corps type projects). Lot's of Ticos & gringo expats there are involved.

    So how's life in retirement? Finding enough structure &, in general, things to do? I'm a little concerned about that = having been at my current company for 32+ years! Boy, do I need a LIFE! Gaby

  5. ok, you haven't written in a LONG time, so --- guess I'll have to entice you with a carrot: how about, I SEND you some shorts from Portland w/my homestay who lives in Grecia? I don't think that's very far from Atenas. Sizes preferred? Hope you can see my personal email - if not, let's exchange & see what else I might send you from the NW.

  6. Here I am! Thanks so much for offering to send me shorts via your Grecia homestay lady! How pitiful am I ....

    I have to try clothes on first, especially pants or shorts, because many times the rise is not long enough so I am going to have to decline your very generous offer ... but I got such a kick out of it and thank you. Yes, Grecia is not too far from Atenas - we haven't been there yet but it's on our list.

    I didn't get a personal email from you - or did I? Was it the one that I have now posted re: structure, etc.? I'll see if I can sort this out and answer your questions via email. And thanks again!!

  7. I believe I gave you my email on the previous post; if you can find it, please write. My Ticas are leaving Portland tomorrow to spend the next week in Salem (capital), then a week in Bend (Eastern Oregon, then a week in Hood River (Columbia River Gorge. It's been a hectic week of constant Spanish & requests/questions about a zillion things. But I'll probably be bored when they're gone. Ticas are really, really friendly & laugh a lot. Sweet, sweet people. Gaby