Going to San Ramon

I am sound asleep when Jeff turns on the hotel room light. I look at the clock – 9:45 a.m., mumble something rude, pull the covers over my head and try to go back to sleep. I can hear him moving hurriedly around, he’s getting dressed. What the heck? “WHAT are you doing?” “The free breakfast is over at 10; I’m going down to get us some food.” How sweet, I can’t be annoyed by that plan! He goes dashing out of the room, and helpful mate that I am, I stumble to the shower. It is a very pretty morning.

“View” from our room. Notice the Denny’s

Just as I am finishing my shower I hear someone rattling at the door. Jeff can’t get the door open….so I step out onto the bathmat and shuffled my wet, naked body to the door to let him in.

He has eggs, sausage, yogurt, a banana and coffee for himself and for me, coffee, gallo pinto (beans and rice), some corn, a banana, and an English muffin with mango preserves. Nice way to begin the day. Oh, and the coffee was delicious.

My breakfast

After dressing and enjoying our breakfasts, I walk down to the reception desk to ask for a late checkout. We had planned to be at our casita, “Casita Vivace,” in Magallenes outside of San Ramon before noon. Not gonna happen, so Jeff texts the owners and tells them to expect us in the early afternoon instead. We decide it would be smarter to pick up our rental car and come back to the hotel for luggage than to drag our bags with us. Our plan worked really well;  we took the hotel shuttle back to the airport, then took the Alamo shuttle to the rental cars and pretty soon were on our way back to the hotel. I had asked for a 1 p.m. checkout and because traffic is heavy we are cutting it close, but we arrive with 15 minutes to spare. Good timing…except our key has been deactivated. Luckily a housekeeper working nearby let us in and we were off.

First stop? Why, Walmart, of course. We want to pick up a few things that we probably won’t be able to get at the farmer’s market in San Ramon tomorrow: milk, whole wheat bread, juice, beer. Despite knowing exactly where Walmart is, we can’t find it. Hmmm. Thirty minutes of lost driving later, we decide to go back to the hotel and start over. On our way back, we drive right past Walmart! What the heck? But it is on the other side of this divided highway.  We drive almost all the way back to the Holiday Inn before we can make a U-turn.

Luckily we have a grocery list because our brains are busy doing translations and currency conversions (560 colones=$1). Seems like we are in Walmart forever. I have a devil of a time finding small bags of rice and beans but eventually we get out of there and are ready to drive to Magallenes.  It is roughly a 45 minute drive…unless you get lost…leaving the Walmart parking lot…

Okay, now we are on the right road, all is well with the world. As we drive we notice several areas where military looking guys and police are standing around. They seem to be randomly waving people off the road. Wonder what that’s about? About halfway to San Ramon we get to the 9th or 10th such group and WE get waved over. What in the world?? The cop is very nice. He asks for Jeff’s passport and license (he was driving); asks where we’re from, where we’re going, says “Pura Vida” (Good life or happy life) and sends us on our way. Well, we learned something very important that we knew but always ignored, that is:  we need to carry our passports when driving.

We don’t arrive at the casita until almost 4 pm! So much for an early start. Andy and Nancy are the owners of Hacienda Vivace, also the casita we are renting, along with a couple of other properties. The casita is great! Very modern, sleeps 6, (but has only one bathroom). There are wonderful views out of every window and we can see the Pacific Ocean 30 miles away.

After Andy shows us around and leaves, we scout around more on our own. There is a HUGE shower. “Why,” I ask Jeff, “is the shower floor all wet?” “Look up.” Ohhhh, it’s an outdoor shower, and it has been raining! Cool!

Outdoor shower


Everything  you see in this photo that isn’t glass block is open to the outside. Be aware that an outdoor shower may mean you have unexpected guests drop in on you – like this not-so-little guy.

Shower guest

We are pretty tired and luckily have planned ahead for dinner. I packed some “boil in the bag” brown rice and we have two vacuum sealed servings (like you’d get at a camping store) of salmon in Thai lemon-grass sauce. I boil dinner (!) – easy, quick and yummy!

About this time we realize there’s no TV!! We don’t  watch TV very often but now the fact that we don’t have one is an issue. LOL. Happily the Internet connection is excellent so we fire up Jeff’s Ipad and watch yesterday’s Rachel Maddow show.

Now it’s late and time for bed… we hope you will come on the rest of our trip with us…

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