Monday, 17 November 2008

Adventures in a 4X4

We got up early for the drive from Monterverde to the Pacific. The mountain retreat of Santa Elena / Monterverde had been a welcome time to relax and chill out, but I won’t miss the overwhelming dampness that seems to come from living in a cloud forest (at our B&B at least) and my backpack needed to dry out.

We started off on the bumpy track down from Monteverde to Las Juntas, passing on our way a group of four elderly tourists who we have seen off and on since Arenal. After briefly joining the InerAmericana we headed west towards the coast where we promptly got stopped by the Police for doing 85kph in a 40kph zone.

Thankfully the Policemen were jovial enough. There were no stiff reprimands or menacing threats. Can I see your passport and driving licence please? Where are you going? There are two more 40kph zones on that route, be careful! Oh, and can I have 26,000 Colones please? You only have 10,000 notes? I have no change; 20,000 Colones will do. Receipts, no we don’t bother with those. Enjoy your lunch, I know I will mine!

Ok, so I made the last two sentences up. We weren’t silly enough to actually ask for a receipt, but none was offered and the way he so readily accepted a lower amount made me think………

We continued on event free to the sleepy little backpacker town of Playa Samara were we had lunch on the beach. The food, just like the town itself, was a little uninspiring.

After lunch we headed north up the coast road towards Nosara. Not far out of town we came across our first river crossing in Costa Rica. There was a delivery truck stuck in the middle of the river and two JCBs pulling him out. Not a confidence inducing start. The truck was pulled out and we then watched an even bigger lorry and motorbike make it across the river successfully.

I was studying the maps for alternate routes. Meanwhile Olivier had struck up a conversation with one of the JCB drivers who assured us we’d be fine in our 4X4 and offered to stay and watch us cross, towing us out if needs be. Egged on by Anne and having noted the route of the two successful vehicles we decided to go for it.

Anne took a video of our crossing which is re-assuringly dull. Ray Mears would be proud.

Pretty wide, eh?

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